There are times when I get the idea that Gary Player likes to hear himself talk and then are times when I like to hear him talk, as was the case on April 5 when the Black Knight took the podium at Augusta National Golf Club. Player, by the way, won the Masters 50 years ago, a feat that’s been somewhat forgotten in the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Jack Nicklaus’ victory.
Player, like Nicklaus, is a staunch proponent of slowing down the golf ball. In other words, create a rule that limits ball technology.
“You cannot put the tees back in the streets anymore,’’ Player said. “They have got to their limit now so the next thing is you have to slow the ball down because the golf courses are going to be completely outdated which is happening now.’’
This is the part where the PGA of America and its “grow the game’’ partners should cringe.
“Golf is suffering terribly. You see golf courses, just weeds, now closing down,’’ Player said. “You can buy golf courses for a dollar now because it’s the maintenance of the golf course. Because they have seen what is happening: These pros hitting a driver and 6-iron to a par 5 so from Timbuktu to Tokyo to China to here, everyone is lengthening golf courses. And the members hate it; and greens are undulating and the members hate it; and the fees are going up and oil is getting more expensive and we are running out of water and so the whole damn game, people are saying ‘let me out of here.’’’
Player evidently hasn’t heard of the success of Play Golf America. Well, maybe he has and like anybody else with any sense, doesn’t believe it.