It began simple enough, with an innocuous question on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. “Good morning, Mr. Player, how are you?” The answer, if it can be called that, was more of a world-class rant from Gary Player, all this delivered, or so it seemed, without his stopping to take a breath.
“I’m standing in the most beautiful State in the world, Washington, Seattle, unbelievably beautiful, and we play this U.S. Open, this great championship, a group of people, the USGA that I have great respect for, but this has been the most unpleasant golf tournament I’ve seen in my life.
I mean, the man who designed this golf course had to have had one leg shorter than the other. It’s hard to believe you see a man miss the green by one yard and the ball ends up 50 yards down in the rough. “An average golfer playing this golf course, I’m telling you, if he’s a 15, 16-handicap, he’s going to shoot 110 and he’s not going to go home a very happy man. We’ve got to make golf where it’s quicker, where it’s more enjoyable, get back to their family. We don’t want a husband and wife to argue because he’s taking too long and neglecting his family life.
“We’re going about it in the wrong way. The golf balls, and this is happening, why they’re building these crazy golf course is because it’s in defence of the ball going too far. We’ve got to cut the ball back for the pro golfer, leave it for the amateur golfer. We’re making golf courses longer and longer. More expenses, more water, more fertiliser, more labour. They’re taking a beautiful golf course, making undulating greens, bunkers in front of the greens, and the folks are resigning from golf in numbers as far as amateurs are concern [that] are down. We don’t want to see that. We love the game. We’ve got to promote it in the right way.” Could this be a message to Thailand golf courses?