Matchplay Secrets: Gary Player

Today’s matchplay installment features Gary Player, one of the top matchplay competitors of the modern era. Player is a five-time World Match Play champion and two-time President Cup’s captain.

Although the South African beat Jack Nicklaus 6 and 4 and 5 and 4 in World Match Play, he said “my most significant match was against Tony Lema, no question.”

Memorable matchplay victory:
Player came back from seven down after 19 holes to defeat Tony Lema at the first extra hole in the World Match Play semi-finals in 1965.

Said Player: “There was a dentist from Australia walking behind us on the 5th and I heard him say: ‘Let’s go and watch somebody else, this match is over.’ I said to him: ‘Sir, this match is not over yet.’ He wrote to me 15 years later saying, ‘I’ll never forget that.'”

Notable quote:
“My opponents knew I was a bull terrier and I was never going to give up. The only time I have doubts is when I shake hands and I’ve lost.”

Player’s matchplay pointers:
• Have patience but also be aggressive
• Body language is hugely important — let your opponent know you’re going to be trying whether you’re up or down
• Stay cool
• Be immune to gamesmanship
• Never give up

Tomorrow: Jim Gallagher (beat Seve Ballesteros in Ryder Cup singles as rookie)

The Armchair Golfer

(Source: BBC Golf)

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

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