Player bids Masters farewell

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Gary Player said an emotional farewell to the Masters after playing in the tournament for a record 52nd successive time.

Gary Player said an emotional farewell to the Masters after playing in the tournament for a record 52nd successive time.

The South African golfing legend in his own lifetime – a three-time winner at Augusta – exited the Masters with five straight bogeys and a round of 11-over 83 that left him at the bottom of the 96-man field.

But that was immaterial as the Augusta galleries gave the nine-time major winner a wonderful send-off on his final appearance.

“I’ll never forget that as long as I live,” Player said after holing out on the 18th green for the last time. “It just went on and on and on from all sides.

“But it happened on every single hole. All 36 holes, I got a standing ovation. I wish I had words to say the correct thing but it was a feast. It was something you’ll never, ever forget.

“You’ll go to your grave knowing you had tremendous love showered upon yourself.”

Player won the Green Jacket in 1978, 1974 and 1961 but insists his appetite for competitive golf remains far from over even at the age of 73.

The nine-time senior major champion added: “I’ll probably play about eight or nine tournaments a year, eight, nine, or 10 senior events and designing a lot of golf courses and helping to raise money for young black kids in my country, and in China and in Europe and in America.

“Wherever we can, we are trying to raise money for under-privileged people.

“So I have tons of work to do, corporate days. And my farming, when I’m most happy is when I’m on my farm with my family. I won’t be bored.”

1979 champion Fuzzy Zoeller – the only man to win the Masters on debut – also said goodbye to the tournament after a closing 76 on Friday.

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