Both the Hero Challenge in Bermuda and the Nedbank at Sun City had associations with iconic golfers Tiger Woods and Gary Player. Tiger Woods and his foundation were mine host at Bermuda in an invitational shorter numbered tourney won by Bubba Watson. He only entered at the last moment when Jason Day withdrew. Gary Player designed the Sun City course on which the Nedbank was played. Aussie Mark Leishman won this, his first European Tour victory, at a canter by 6 strokes over Henrik Stenson.
Gary Player now aged 80, playing golf at a handicap below that, with an estimated $200m fortune was in the commentary box. When he remarked how privileged he was to meet Jesse Owens at the Melbourne Olympiad of 1956, I was prompted to do some research as my recollection was that he was an ambassador for the apartheid regime.
My googling produced this article by George Mombiot – GOLF
It’s more about his golf course design in Burma but the words from his 1965 autobiography couldn’t be clearer
“I am of the South Africa of Verwoerd and apartheid … “
No doubt he now regrets and withdraws his words, his contribution to contemporary post-apartheid South African society had been extolled by no less a figure than Nelson Mandela, he has won trophies, if one includes the seniors, in 4 decades. And I’m sure he is not the only white sports figure to have played an ambassadorial role in the loathsome regime. Nonetheless I felt uncomfortable and this was not helped by his life philosophy that seems to be drawn from one of those huge self motivational tomes you see in airport book shops. Looking at his website he cites on the home page his 10 Commandments and he shares his credos with the golf viewer with observations like “10 % of your life is what happens, 90% how you react to it …”
It was a bad weekend for punting as Jeremy Chapman only produced 2 top 5 picks, the tall Bristolian Chris Wood on the Nedbank and runner up Patrick Reed in the Hero. Alan Tanner had heard a rumour that Stuart Pearce would get the vacant Fulham job so I trawled around depressing bookmakers in my local town to see what odds I could get – two did not even have him in their list. Another -Stuart Gray – has been appointed and this is temporary with no job title so this creates a problem of definition for any pay-out. I wonder how long the biggest bookmakers (Ladbrokes, Corals and William Hill) will have a significant high street presence. If so they will need to do something to liven up their shops. They do enjoy the advantage of actual footfall unlike the more anonymous internet betting experience as, according to # 10 of Gary Player’s commandments: “There is no substitute for personal contact.”