Gary Player: my thoughts on The Open

In this video shot at the Mercedes-Benz Patron's Day at Royal Troon in June we get Gary Player's Open thoughts plus his views on Tiger Woods & Jordan Spieth

In this video shot at the Mercedes-Benz Patron's Day at Royal Troon in June we get Gary Player's Open thoughts plus his views on Tiger Woods & Jordan Spieth

A few weeks before The Open Championship at Royal Troon in mid-July, Golf Monthly got to visit the host venue, courtesy of Mercedes-Benz - Official Patron of The Open Championship, play the course and spend some time with the now 80-year-old Gary Player, a three-time champion in golf's oldest Major.

Player's victories came in 1959 at Muirfield, in 1968 at Carnoustie and finally in 1974 at Royal Lytham & St Annes, a year in which he had also already won the Masters. Over the course of the morning Gary Player shared his thoughts on The Open Championship with us, reflecting on his first win and the history and prestige of this great event.

Gary Player opens up on all things golf at the Royal Troon Mercedes-Benz Patron's Day

Gary Player opens up on all things golf at the Royal Troon Mercedes-Benz Patron's Day

He was in irrepressible form, talking us through his concerns for the game going forwards because of modern driving distances, which one day fairly soon might mean players potentially being able to drive eight of the greens on the Old Course at St Andrews.

In the accompanying video, Player not only talks passionately about The Open Championship, reflecting fondly on the slightly brusque reception he got when he first arrived at Muirfield in 1959 hoping to practise for the event, but also offer up his thoughts on Tiger Woods, lamenting his decision to start tinkering with his swing when he was on top of the world, and on Jordan Spieth who he would love to be given the opportunity to spend half an hour with on the range.

Gary Player was on hand to see everyone off the 1st tee at Royal Troon

Gary Player was on hand to see everyone off the 1st tee at Royal Troon

Later, Player reappeared to see us on our way as we set out to tackle Royal Troon's mighty test, despatching an arrow-straight drive down the middle for our team to use, and then on the par-3 14th into the prevailing back-nine headwind to play the hole with each group passing through, calmly slotting in a 20-footer for birdie to help boost our team score.

Player was on hand to help steer our team through the 14th hole at Royal Troon

Player was on hand to help steer our team through the 14th hole at Royal Troon

 

 

 

Jeremy Ellwood
Jeremy Ellwood

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf


Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response