Of the many titles and records Gary Player holds, his 13 South African Open victories rank among the most special to the Grand Slam champion.
Itâ€™s therefore fitting that this year the second oldest national Open in golf will for the first time in its history be played at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City from 3-6 December, jointly supported by Nedbank and Sun International.
â€œThe South African Open has always been immensely important to me in my career. I won it 13 times, but many times I couldnâ€™t even play in it. Iâ€™d estimate that there were at least four occasions when I was in the prime of my career that I didnâ€™t play the SA Open. But Iâ€™m extremely grateful to have won our national Open 13 times,â€ Player said of a record that will most likely never be broken.
The Gary Player Country Club will join an illustrious list of South Africaâ€™s finest golf courses to have hosted the South African Open, and this is also a sense of great achievement for Player.
â€œIâ€™m very proud that the Gary Player Country Club has been selected to host the SA Open this year. I can honestly say that never as a young man did I ever think the South African Open would be played on a golf course I had designed.
â€œOur national Open has travelled around the country and throughout its history has always been played on our most iconic golf courses. The fact that the Gary Player Country Club will now become a part of this history is a very special moment for me.â€
One of the most exciting elements around this yearâ€™s South African Open will be the swapping of the nines at the Gary Player Country Club for this yearâ€™s tournament, thus seeing the picturesque par-five ninth hole serve as the finishing hole.
Itâ€™s a change Player is particulary excited about.
â€œThatâ€™s the most exciting thing about this yearâ€™s SA Open for me. Itâ€™s actually how the golf course was originally designed. As it plays now, the 16th, 17th and 18th holes make for a very tough finish. By finishing on the ninth, itâ€™s going to make for an exciting end to the tournament. You can make an eagle there and it changes everything. I think the fans are going to enjoy watching this yearâ€™s finish from their homes,â€ he said.