Gary Player Ruffles Some Azaleas With an Erroneous Take About the Masters
If you could pick only one of golf’s four major championships to win, which one would it be?
Ask PGA Tour pros this hypothetical, and almost all of them would pick the Masters without hesitation. I’m sure you would do the same. Apparently, though, not everyone thinks this way.
Gary Player, who won all four major championships in his illustrious career, recently explained why the Masters isn’t his favorite of the bunch. In fact, he ranked the Masters dead last on his list of favorite majors, claiming the tournament isn’t “steeped in tradition and history” like the Open Championship, U.S. Open, and PGA Championship.
Talk about a hot take.
Gary Player is one of the most important figures in Masters history
There are few players in the history of golf who mean more to the Masters than Gary Player.
Player won the Masters three times in his career (1961, 1974, 1978). Jack Nicklaus (six), Tiger Woods (five), and Arnold Palmer (four) are the only three golfers who have won more green jackets than the South African legend.
Not only that, but Player has also served as an honorary starter at Augusta National Golf Club since 2012. The trio of Nicklaus, Palmer, and Player struck the first tee shots of the tournament from 2012 until Palmer’s death in 2016. Nicklaus and Player have continued the tradition since.
The Masters wouldn’t be the Masters today without Player’s presence, but he doesn’t share the same affinity for Augusta National.
Gary Player claims the Masters is the worst of the four major championships
If anyone could appreciate how special the Masters and Augusta National in the history of golf, you would think it’d be Player. The golf legend is one of just seven players to ever win three or more green jackets, and he’s a staple of the only honorary starter ceremony in major championship golf.
But Player doesn’t believe the Masters stacks up to the other three majors.
“Never mind the Masters,” Player said in a recent interview with the UK Daily Mail. “The Open is by far the greatest tournament on the planet.”
Ok — that’s unexpected, but I wouldn’t call it an outlandish take. His next one surely is, though.
“I rate the Open (Championship) at one, the U.S. Open two, PGA (Championship) three, and Augusta four,” he continued. “Four marvelous tournaments.”
His take only grows more confusing with his attempt at an explanation.
“It’s the youngest of the majors,” he said. “The others are steeped in tradition and history and they still have to catch up. Nothing comes to the top without time.”
Wait, the Masters isn’t steeped in tradition and history? What?
Sure, the Masters is the youngest major of the four, but it’s also the only major that’s been played on the same golf course every year since its inception in 1934. The other three major championships rotate venues, so you could argue the Masters is actually the event most steeped in tradition and history.
Yeah, Player is going to ruffle a few azaleas with this take.