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April 2, 2007

Gary Player


BILLY MORRIS: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm Billy Morris, a member of the press committee. We are delighted to have you here, and it is particularly my privilege and my honor today to interview our friend, Gary Player, on his 50th anniversary as a competitor in this golf tournament.
Gary is a three-time Masters Champion as you know; 1961, 1975, 1978. I'm happy to say I was here for all of those years and I remember them well. 1975, he was our first Masters international champion. In addition, he holds three British Open titles. He is a 1975, he is a 1962, and 1972 PGA Champion and only one of five men to win golf's Grand Slam. He won a five Tour event in five straight decades, and he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974. Gary has always been a great friend of the Masters and Augusta National Golf Club. He has been a wonderful friend of golf, one of the many people who has put back more into golf than he's taken out. He has been a wonderful, wonderful ambassador for this sport, and it's our privilege to have him here for the 50th year, this year.
Gary, thank you for coming down to having a chat with the press today. Why don't we start by asking you if you'd like to say something.
I should also make note of the fact that all interviews this year are being shown on live Internet, from up here, so we will be on camera.
With that said, Gary, welcome.
GARY PLAYER: Thank you, Billy, and thank you for the very nice things you had to say, and it's a great privilege for me.
I think the word that comes to mind to be able to be fit enough to play 50 times is you've got to be healthy, and one cannot take that for granted.
I'm very pleased that I've almost been a fitness fanatic and I was telling young Brett Quigley who I played with today, coming along the golf course, I said when I won the first Masters, one famous gentleman, I won't mention his name, he said: "Gary Player can never last, he's doing all this weight training. It's impossible to last and do weights."
Then Yogi Berra said to me, "I wouldn't even let my team have a swim never mind lift any weights."
And the other day, I mentioned this to a few people, I had to go to Abu Dhabi to bid on a golf course and I went into Dubai and they were having the Dubai Desert Classic and there was Tiger coming in the gym as I as leaving and I said, "Good luck, Tiger" (indicating tapping Tiger's arm.) It was like putting your arm on Tarzan. (Laughter).
I turned around, finishing my exercises, and he was playing at one o'clock and he had these two 35-pound dumbbells like they were five pounds (lifting weights), and he was playing.
Now, if you do it excessively like he does, if you warm up with 25-pound dumbbells, it seems a lot for the average person, but it's nothing like he normally does. So he's tuned his body to such a degree and he's such a phenomenal athlete and really deserves all of the success he gets with his work ethic.
But this has been -- it's a very happy occasion for me because I have great respect for this tournament. It's the best-run golf tournament in the world without a question. They do have an advantage in that you play it in the same place every year, and obviously I think memories as you get older, your parents tell you that time goes by quickly and you're inclined to forget about it and regret what they say, but time does go by very quickly.
And I've had so many wonderful, exciting times here that it's a great memory when I'm working on my farm or just sitting with my friends and telling the stories of Augusta, the great drama that has occurred. And this tournament is like a magnet. It just draws drama every time. It's almost incredible. And that's what has made this such a great tournament.
Just to live to 71 isn't bad, never mind be playing at Augusta. A lot of guys, they haven't seen their knees in the last six years, my age; but also to be married for 50 years. So I got married the year I played in Augusta, so those are two very significant things in my life, to have a good wife, you're blessed, it's like a lottery ticket, getting a good wife or a good husband today when you look at the statistics.
So I refer to, because of the battles that Arnold, Jack and I had here year after year after year, either finishing first or second, that we all had great wives. And my advice to a young golf professional, if it's possible, it's a bit of a lottery, but make sure and try your best to pick a good wife. Because if you have a bad wife -- well, it says in the Book of Proverbs: It's better to live on the roof of a house than the inside of a house with a nagging wife. (Laughter)
When I read this, I showed this to my wife immediately and she said, "Yeah, but what about a nagging husband!" (Laughter).
So, you know, I do happen to say my prayers every day, and that's your prerogative to have that choice. But I never forget to say thank you and how thankful I am for the talent that was loaned to me because we've seen it on so many occasions. I think we can look at three players that were the best in the world, and all of a sudden, were actually out in oblivion so to speak they could not do well anymore.
So golf is something. It's a game where great shots end up in sheer disaster and we know that and it's a puzzle, a puzzle without an answer. There's an answer to it. It's like genetics. I've studied the horse business, which is difficult, like golf, for 50 years and I've studied golf for 50 years. And the conclusion is, I know a hell of a lot about nothing.
BILLY MORRIS: Well, I'm not sure that anybody in this room would agree with that, Gary, but we're just honored to have you here. Are there questions from the floor?

Q. 50 years, you've seen this golf course change dramatically. Could you talk with us about the significant changes as you see it, and specifically last year and what you find out there today?
GARY PLAYER: When I first saw the changes on the golf course, I think Augusta has just been phenomenal to make changes as the years have gone by, and Winston Churchill so aptly said, "Change is the price of survival." If you look at the Champion's Locker Room, we never had that. If you look at the mowers, they never used to have these magnificent mowers.
Playing around today with young Brett Quigley and a fellow called Casey (Watabu) won the Public Links Championship, I was telling them what the fairways used to look like. And the fairways are a very significant thing. I think the lawnmower and Byron Nelson always endorsed this. The lawnmower was one of the biggest changes in golf.
And Arnold and Jack and I were playing and the fairways were very long and they said, "You go to Clifford Roberts and ask him if he won't lower the mowers."
I went into his office, and he was a man of very few words, and he said to me, "Gary."
I said, "Mr. Roberts, can't you lower the mowers a little bit? We are hitting these flyers to the greens and they are firm."
He says, "Do you understand poetry?"
I said, "Well, yes, William Wordsworth, do you want me to name a few others? Yes, I think I do."
"The mowers are as low as they can go. Good morning." And that was the end of the story. (Laughter).
And I look at the fairways today and, honestly, the ball just sits up like that, and I was telling these guys at 13, Arnold and I, I had a chance to win the Masters, to win it twice in a row, and Arnold holed that putt at 16, which was three times more spectacular than the chip that Tiger Woods chipped. Because Arnold holed it from the top right, he wasn't even on the green and I had him by two shots and I was 12-foot from the hole. I had him and he had knocked it down that hill. You cannot stop it on the green, and it hit the flag and went in the hole; anyway.
All of the things you've seen, the drama; but, the golf course, when you first see that change, and you're older, one is inclined to look at it from your own eyes instead of saying, listen here, I'm old now. But looking at the golf course carefully over the last few years, they have done a brilliant job. The guys are hitting exactly the same clubs now that they used to hit. And playing with these young guys today it was just really -- it endorsed it. What they were hitting to the greens; that's exactly what we used to to hit into the greens.
Now if we hit a 6, Jack would have hit an 8. But they are hitting today the exact clubs we were hitting to the greens. So they have made a marvelous change, they really have.

Q. If you could just interject from this wonderful sweep of your recollections about the situation with Europe and the fact that they do very, very well in the Ryder Cup, yet it's become a bit of a desert for them in terms of the majors. You're pointing out how Tiger works so relentlessly as you do, and I remember a few years ago you were quite critical of some very talented leading European players because you felt they were not putting enough physical work in. I wonder if any of that is relevant to today's situation where it's so long since Europe had a look-in, really.
GARY PLAYER: Are you talking about the Ryder Cup?

Q. Relating to the fact that they seem to blossom in the Ryder Cup but they do not present a very hard challenge in the majors.
GARY PLAYER: But I think if you look at the stats, and I was presented with some very interesting stats, I think, didn't -- how many Europeans won the tournament? There was so many. There was Bernhard Langer --

Q. But I'm talking about the last ten years really; it seems to have disappeared.
GARY PLAYER: I think golf is that kind of game. It just doesn't allow you to have a meteoric rise, and whoever you may be. Tiger is looking like he's an exception.
When we played against Jack, we were not scared of Jack, we really weren't. If Jack made a mistake, we pounced on him and beat him. But Tiger just seems to, I don't know -- he separates himself from the field. Now that eventually will change as well. Everything changes in golf. But at the moment, he is really -- he's extraordinary.
And I think the Europeans have done extremely well. I've got to look at it in the overall picture. They have done extremely well. If we look at the number of times, what did you say, eight winners, Europeans, that's significant.

Q. But there's been a significant fall-off.
GARY PLAYER: Well, that's bound to happen in golf. I think that's bound to happen.
And, Jerry, did I answer your question that basically the golf course? All other changes, like practice tees; now they have realized, and really, gentlemen, and ladies, I've said this on BBC years ago: It's only a matter of time before players start hitting the ball 400 yards. And the two fellows I was sitting with said to me I was talking absolute nonsense. They are doing it now.
Last year Appleby hit four drives of 400 yards on the Tour. I think Davis Love did one in the U.S. Open in Chicago somewhere. But I was playing the other day, and the hole was 430 yards long and Jason Zuback (ph), he's not on the Tour, I heard this ball fall on the green, I said, "Where did that come from, Marshal?" He looked back, Jason is going like this (waving). And 430 yards, the 10th hole, I hit a driver and a wedge and he hit it 60 yards over the green.
We are in our infancy with golf. This is hard to believe; we are in our infancy. We are going to see guys coming out. Tiger Woods is playing such a significant role in world golf; to have seen two minorities, No. 1 and 2 in the world have been such a massive change, where it was always a white guy who was leading; and it's given a lot of guys in South Africa, young black kids looking at a TV set such encouragement to see these two guys playing so well, gives them a dream to fulfill, I think it's wonderful.
But I tell you, it's something we haven't seen. We have not even scratched the surface. These guys are going into football, basketball, boxing and all of these other contact sports and they say, look at this guy, he's in his 30s, he's making more money now and all of their other friends are finished when they are 30. If you put all sports in a hat and drew an average age, it's 28 plus or minus; and Tiger Woods, he can reach his prime at 40, it's quite conceivable. Nobody knows it, but it's conceivable and this will attract a lot of people.
Now imagine, we've only had one big man play golf in my 60 years that I've been associated with golf and that was George Bayer. But you wait until you get the Michael Jordans and the Shaq O'Neals and these fellas coming out to play golf, and they have got a flair, obviously, of a professional golfer. 400 yards is going to be common. It's going to be just very, very ordinary.
I played with the man who is caddying for me today, he said he knows of a young man right now who hits it almost 400 yards every time he hits it. The USGA are really going to have to review their rule on a 48-inch long driver because it will look like a toothpick in Shaq O'Neal's hands. So they have to change that and there's going to be a lot of changes and that's quite frightening what can happen.
And this driving range here? See, Augusta, they are smart. They always see something ahead, and they have got great vision. This practice, see now, it's dangerous with people walking back there, and a city on the other side of the practice tee, guys are going to knock it over there with a 4-wood and just carry it over there. The guys today just fly it over there.
We haven't started to see -- and this is what's a little bit disturbing for me in golf, as I walk around here, I look where the tees used to be and I look back there and I see what I'm hitting to these greens, of course I'm driving into the hill now and that's understandable.
But I look back and to say, isn't it interesting they have just lengthened this golf course. On a fairly damp day this golf course will play; play, not actual measure, between 7,400, 7,500 yards. I'm already looking back and saying, how much room do they have to go back? Some holes, streets are there, they can't. But hole 11, 40 yards, a hole like No. 7, 40 yards. That's what's going to happen, they are going to go back there. The way we are going now, we're going to play golf courses that are 8,000 yards long in X amount of years' time. It doesn't seem possible, but that's what's going to happen.
I tell you what, this young guy I played with today, Casey, that 7th hole must measure, have we got a card, it must measure 430 yards, it would be my guess; driver and a 9-iron. I mean, they are hitting the ball so far, and these guys are playing today are going to be 50 yards behind the guys that are coming; 50, not 20, not 30; 50.

Q. You've got substantial claims yourself to being perhaps the greatest golfer who ever lived, but who in your personal rankings system, who is No. 1 on your list?
GARY PLAYER: Well, you talk about the best golfer in the world, you've got to take people who have performed in the world. It's like the World Series of baseball. When I first came over here, I said, well, how many teams are playing, but they are not; it's only American teams and they had it as the World Series.
We must not forget if we talk about the world, the two people that have really impressed me, if I say my 1 and 2 are Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. But to compare Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods is like comparing oranges with bananas. Jack Nicklaus never played a green with soft spikes applied. Big, big thing. Vijay Singh played about Phil Mickelson a few years ago, you'll remember that; a few spike marks on the green.
Every green we play with had hundreds of spike marks on the green. That's what we played with. That's what Jack Nicklaus played under. He never used a metal head in his prime. He never went into the factory and said: "My golf ball is climbing too much. Can you adjust this with my clubs. I don't want them to climb so much." This was stuff that Hogan, a scientist, never even thought of.
How do you compare Nicklaus and Tiger Woods? The ball goes at least 55 yards further. If you imagine Jack Nicklaus having hit the ball 55 yards further, what he would have done or players of our time, 55 yards further, every bunker is just uniform with a raking.
But all of that into consideration, I'm going to give Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods a dead tie. It's hard to do when they played in different eras. I try to say if they both played at the same time, I give them a tie. Jack Nicklaus's record is superior at the moment, but if anybody is going to beat it, it's Tiger Woods, but he's got a long way to go. If anybody is going to do it, it's Tiger Woods.

Q. What distinguishes --
GARY PLAYER: I will say one very significant thing in my mind. Jack Nicklaus, if he played, hypothetically, hypothetically, 500 majors, or let's say 300 majors, more realistic in his life, and he could have been effective in 250 -- this is all hypothetical. Tiger Woods, if he plays 300 majors, will be effective 290 because the one man is obsessed by being a real, real athlete.
Now let me tell you, Jack Nicklaus for a time in his life was extremely strong. His legs were just as strong as Tiger's and he hit the ball the exact same distance if you gave him the right club, the same equipment. But Jack Nicklaus's body went on the wane, it deteriorated at a certain age, where Tiger Woods, his body is going to go on for a long time. So that's a very, very significant thing that he's going to be a tremendously strong athlete (flexing) if he has the desire, which I would imagine. But there's so many variables in golf; all of a sudden he decides he doesn't want to do it anymore. Will he? I don't think so.
So that's the only way I can make a comparison. Jack Nicklaus putted as well as Tiger Woods. He drove the ball straighter than Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods is a better wedge player, better flop-shot player, better chipper, a better bunker player. Jack Nicklaus might have been a better 1-iron player and he was a better driver. They both had phenomenal, phenomenal minds. That impresses me the most. They stand out alone, that their minds were both superior to any two players I've seen in my life. I've got to put Hogan in there as well.

Q. So it's the mind that distinguishes them rather than the physical talent?
GARY PLAYER: I would say the mind is something that we haven't given enough credit to. And if you look at Tiger, he's got a focus that enables him to play -- and listen to what I'm saying now because this is a very important thing; to play the right shot, at the right time.
I played with Nicklaus all my life. I very seldom heard him say, "You know, I shouldn't have played that shot." But I hear that all the time. Why did I play that shot; I played the wrong shot at the wrong time.
I've seen it happen at this tournament many, many times. They make one, just one wrong shot at the wrong time, costs you this tournament.

Q. In the last ten, 15 years, we've seen the U.S. Tour get so much wealth that players from Australia and South Africa and most from Europe will eventually want to come over here and take up membership, yet we don't see the boys here reciprocating, going back to either Australia or Europe. Do you see this as a trend and does it concern you?
GARY PLAYER: It does concern me, maybe because I made up my mind, I wanted to travel and try and have the best world record in golf. That was my big ambition. When I first started I said I want to have the best world record in golf, beating guys in their own countries, and I was brainwashed to that degree.
Then I had the great privilege of meeting President Eisenhower and having dinner with him, and I will give it to you exactly verbatim. He said, "America is a global society and we must stay that way." He said, "Gary, we want to see this happen, and we want this to be an integral part of this tournament, this global society. We must continue that. Our investments in America are a great deal applied around the world and we must keep playing and visiting and playing."
And that's what Arnold did and that's what Jack did, that's what Lee Trevino did, that's what Tom Watson did, and what I did and a few others. We traveled around the world, because money wasn't the only thing that matters. Money was not the criteria, and I can sincerely look you in the eyes and say, when I played golf, money wasn't the criteria, because there wasn't any money really. So maybe that was the reason. Maybe they have got a lot of money now, maybe that influences you. So I've got to be fair.
But we went to Australia for 15,000 and traveled in a car to smaller towns and taking your shirt off because it was so hot and getting 25 pounds to play an exhibition. And it made me hungry. That's why the international players are doing so well. That's why the Ryder Cup are beating the Americans all these times, five times, it's just hard to believe; they are hungry. The players are a team; they are hungry. They haven't got courtesy cars meeting them at the airports and six dozen new balls in your locker and massive pension schemes.
I'll give you an amazing stat. Jack Nicklaus gets more money from his pension scheme in his Actor's Guild than he did from the Tour, and here is a man with the best record ever. (Laughter) That's a fact. And yet you can be an ordinary player on the Tour today and play for 20 years and be an ordinary golfer, and you will end up with 15 million maximum as a pension scheme. That's really food for thought.

Q. You've always been a driven man with your golf, your horses, your school, your farm; what's left for you? What else do you want to achieve?
GARY PLAYER: Well, my main ambition to achieve now, as I said to Jerry Potter in an interview the other day, you know, having been a fitness fanatic and I see what's happening in the world today, if you look in the world today, if you look in the United States only, there must be 3,500 people plus or minus that die a day, a day; heart attacks, diabetes, which is an epidemic, strokes, cancer and car accidents.
Now, all of this is related. The obesity factor is the biggest in my opinion, in my humble opinion, the biggest single danger to the world today. I don't think there's a question about it. More people die of obesity than all of the wars of the world together, and if you travel around the world like I do and I have traveled more than any human being has ever lived, no question. I've been traveling for over 55 years. A pilot maximum he will travel is 30, 35, maybe excessively 40.
And wherever I go in the world today I see young kids, young kids getting bigger and bigger, medical bills getting higher and higher. I don't know how countries are going to afford to do it. China doesn't do it. China puts their money into education and into defense. They don't have these medical bills so to speak because they don't eat like the Western world, but rest of the world I go to (does.)
So my great dream now -- I can't play that well anymore. I have managed to play pretty well on the Champions Tour this year and I have broken my age since I've turned 70 or 71 at least 43 times. I broke my age twice in the same tournament. Yes, I want to keep playing well and I can still compete. But my main dream now is to try, because I really have a genuine love for people and I have an enthusiasm for life. And I want to try and make young guys say, "Look at this guy, 71, he can still play, he can still walk around; you look good." Because really, this is a very, very serious thing, and it's being overlooked.
They are reducing exercise, they are eating more crap, the mothers are poisoning their children. It's a very, very serious -- if you look at the amount of money it's going to cost countries, it's staggering. What America spends alone on medicine per se, is almost equivalent to the GDP of China this year.

Q. If you might indulge me with a Presidents Cup question, if Mike Weir and Stephen Ames were to finish on the side of the top picks, how much to consideration would you give them to the team, seeing as it's going to be in Montreal?
GARY PLAYER: Very difficult thing to sit here now and talk about your picks. And particularly, Canadians.
And obviously, my dream, every time I pick up that paper every week, I'm seeing how Mike Weir is doing, having won the Masters and the most significant Canadian golfer, and I'm just hoping he's playing well.
But to be fair to my team and as captain, it's my obligation to pick the best team. And if they are not in the ballpark, I can't just pick them because they are Canadians. I mean, I would be crucified if I did that, and it's not the right thing to do.
But you know, I look at -- when I picked Trevor Immelman, I was criticized -- Australia crucified me. I never have heard the press men say I did the right thing now because I know I did. This guy is one of the ten best players in the world and I just knew how he was playing.
But if I see a person who is lying maybe 13th, and you see his graph going up and the guy at 12 is going down, I put 13 in. That's the best way I can explain.

Q. You touched on your own golf, how you've been playing recently. Just tell us what you've done this week.
GARY PLAYER: I played two practice rounds -- on this course?

Q. Yes.
GARY PLAYER: It's so long for me. I have to hit a wood on probably 14 holes. If I can shoot, if I break 80 at 71, definitely today I would have had about, I suppose, a 76 today which is pretty good.
It's just, I drive into the hills, you know. That's the big toughness for me. I'm always driving into that hill and you can see my pitchmark and the ball is not running. And you can drive to the top of the hill and you get that 30-yard run. Be that as it may, it's a great challenge, and I'm playing quite well. But it's a very, very long -- it's the longest golf course I've had to play in my life because of the hills that I'm driving into. If it was flat, I really think I could shoot 72, yes, sir.

Q. It's probably unfair, but I'll ask it anyway. Have you considered your life expectancy and which would you place a greater emphasis on, longevity or quality of life?
GARY PLAYER: Well, first of all, I exercise like a Trojan, and at 71, when you exercise and watch your diet to the extent that I do -- now everybody has their preference. I mean, my daughter was very heavy and she says, "Dad, I'm happy to be heavy." But now she's going on a diet. Everybody has their choice. For me I want to live a long time. I have 18 grandchildren and probably will end up having about 22, and my greatest joy is doing things with them.
And when you exercise to the extent I do and I'm going to the gym right now after playing, and you watch your diet, yes, you want to live a long time. The human being is built, if you go into the outback of China, and I'm doing a book right now on this, if you go into the outback of, say, Japan and India, people are living to 100, it's very common. People are living to 115, 114, 112. But 100 is quite common and the human being is built to live a long time. It's a lovely challenge for me and I have a zest for life.

Q. Are you thinking that way?
GARY PLAYER: Yes, I'm thinking that I -- yes, I'd like to live to a hundred, I certainly would. Because I have such a zest for life.

Q. We've had a couple of emotional fairways with Jack and Arnold the past few years, looking ahead to next year, if that is your last year, what that might be like for you?
GARY PLAYER: When I say -- and I pray when I say this, when I say this is my last time, it's my last time. I don't want to say it's my last time and then come back. I don't want to do that. That's always been -- I was fortunate at the British Open. I had played in the most British Opens consecutive, what is it, 47? Might have been 46 straight British Opens, that was it, never tried to go and pre-qualify, that was it.
When I say that's my last, please, if I come and tee it up, steal the ball, take the ball off the first tee and run away with it. (Laughter)
Q. Have you given any thought to maybe becoming an Honorary Starter at some point? There is talk about Arnold doing it this year, but would you like to do that sometime?
GARY PLAYER: Yes, but I definitely -- I would definitely like to play next year to have the most Masters and to have the most British Opens. I would like to do that because it goes along with my type of thinking of fitness and diet. Possibly next year could be my last. If I had to say, if you asked me to say when I think will be my last; think, not committing myself, I'm not saying next year will be my last.

Q. You've played in now 50 consecutive, so you've displayed an amazing amount of longevity, but will there be a day when players are in their 50s and 60s, will they be able to compete and be at the top of the leaderboard here at Augusta?
GARY PLAYER: It happened. Raymond Floyd. I say this tongue-in-cheek, but Raymond Floyd had three months to go before he was 50, and he had to par the 17th hole with a 9-iron, if my memory serves me right. I just made a statement about a month before, and one a day man over 50 will win Augusta and people said, "Impossible." I think you can check, Raymond Floyd, he was three months short of 50, and if he makes a par there, he either wins or ties at Augusta. So that will happen. Of course it will happen because today, you see, you had the technology -- you had the technology of the exercise. That was the first thing that came along that went from no weights, no excessive exercise in golf, that was a no-no to that.
Then came the psychiatrists or the psychologists. Then came the equipment. And then came the lawnmower at almost the same time. And then the next big thing is going to be eating.
Now I know a lot of people are saying I'm talking nonsense like when I was talking nonsense with the weights and all these other things, but the next big thing, eating. The better you eat, the more energy you have, the younger you'll feel, the more elasticity you'll have in your muscles, the more suppleness and the more speed. So that's the next big thing in sports, will be eating. It's already just started.

Q. When you won here the first time, can you tell us what point in your career you were at that time. How far along were you and how much confidence did winning here give you and how much did it help you?
GARY PLAYER: Well, when I came here the very first time was in '57 -- you said the first time that I had won? No, I had already won the British Open already and I had won the Australian Open and I had won the biggest tournament in the world in Australia prize money-wise and I had won the South African Open and I won the Dunlop tournament and beat Bobby Jones' record, and I had won a lot of tournaments by the time I had won my first Masters.

Q. A minute ago when you said you exercise like a Trojan, I wonder if you could give us an example. Not now, but what your regime is like.
GARY PLAYER: I go into the gym and I do 1,000 crunches and I put an 80-pound weight (indicating on chest, sit-ups) and I do some with an 80-pound weight.
I have to watch that my enthusiasm doesn't run away with me, but at 71 I want you to see that -- (standing up and slapping stomach loudly).
I do those -- I don't like to get into this too much. (Laughter) I push well over 300 pounds' leg press, I do all the curls. I do every exercise from the top down, I do every single exercise with weights.
BILLY MORRIS: A one-hour program?
GARY PLAYER: Usually an hour and a half.
BILLY MORRIS: Seven days a week?
GARY PLAYER: I do it five days a week, because I'm traveling so much it's hard to get it in all the time.

Q. Do you do anything on the plane?
GARY PLAYER: No, I'm a champion sleeper. The other day I went Johannesburg, Singapore, Japan, Hawaii, Houston, New York, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, West Palm Beach and I slept on the plane. It's a 14-hour flight back on the plane from Dubai and the hostess said, "Wake up, you have 40 minutes to go. The lady behind you is convinced you're dead, would you put up your hand." (Laughter) I put up my hand and turned around and said, "I'm very much alive, ma'am."
She said, "Oh, I couldn't sleep a wink, I've been wanting to hit you the whole way." (Laughter)
Q. What is your earliest memory of the Masters, and I wonder if you can just talk a little about the influence that Bobby Locke had on your career?
GARY PLAYER: Bobby Locke was the best putter the world has seen. I have never seen anybody who could putt like Bobby Locke, so that put great emphasis on the importance of the short game. I think Tiger Woods really is relating to the world, if people will watch with intelligence and not be over-awed by his strength and how far he hit the ball, why he's winning, because he's so phenomenal on these flop shots and chip shots and his short game. That's why Tiger Woods is winning, he has the best overall short game.
Bobby Locke had this great influence on me and my great memory is when my father wrote to Clifford Roberts and said, "My son has won these tournaments, does he qualify for an invitation."
He wrote back, he said, "Send him over."

Q. You played during the reigns of every chairman here, have you noticed a change in the tone and personality of the tournament with each change of the chairman, and projecting a little bit, what do you think Billy Payne will bring to the tournament and club as the current Chairman?
GARY PLAYER: I think that Billy Payne has been, however they select, has been a wonderful selection. Didn't he do a lot in the Atlanta Olympics? I mean, that was very impressive and he's had the experience.
I think every chairman that comes here, he's watched very carefully what's transpired over the years from other chairman to see that he picks the good things that they did and makes sure he does the good things and the bad things, if you can say that, because most things have been good.
So I think they made a great selection and I think that every chairman has been here is one way or another has contributed to this golf tournament in some small way.
I was driving with the driver yesterday, Lawrence, the African-American gentleman that I've known, this is his 41st Masters and he always meets me at the airport; and I'm always interested in his philosophy because he's in teaching and I have schools that I sponsored and so we have a lot some common.
He was telling me, he said, do you know that Jack Stephens -- I asked him like you asked me, and his reply was Jack Stephens in his opinion. He wasn't here when Clifford Roberts was here, but the majority he has been. He said Jack Stephens changed their 401Ks, raised salaries, took money out of his own pocket and did things that were tremendous. Each chairman I think has played a significant role.

Q. You mentioned your playing partners today. What advice did you give them about the course?
GARY PLAYER: Well, I was telling them, you know, we had to practice putts and where they must not be from 14, don't be short of the green. A lot of things that have happened over the years that helps them to score better and to play for pars sometimes and forget about the birdies, and you know, basically where to try and hit the ball on the greens. They were very receptive. You know, you don't want to be an old poop and start saying, do this and do that to young guys, but they were very receptive.

Q. I believe you missed one Masters since you started, I think 73; what happened that year?
GARY PLAYER: I had to have a -- it's a tube that goes -- it's called a ureter, it goes from your kidney to your bladder, and I had a reconstructed ureter.

Q. How much time did you miss?
GARY PLAYER: About five months of golf.

Q. I'm curious, why was Jack Nicklaus in the Actor's Guild?
GARY PLAYER: We did many television shows in our career, Big Three, Challenge Golf, a whole lot of different matches, and they are classified; you were classified or you were known as part of the Actor's Guild.

Q. So you have an Actor's Guild pension, too?

Q. Can you talk about your favorite memories and what was most disappointing?
GARY PLAYER: My most disappointing was in 1962. And I was two shots -- I had an opportunity to be the first man to win the tournament twice in a row.
And we were playing 16, which is our third last hole of the tournament. And I was playing with Palmer and I hit my tee shot 12-foot from the hole. And Palmer missed the green to the right at 16 on the fringe. And every time I go to that hole, I show the young guys, and I put a peg there where the flag was, and I put a peg where he was and I say now, putt to this peg, and they either putt it in the trap or putt it in the water and obviously you never putt anywhere in the hole.
I said, I was sitting there and I did the unforgivable, I said to my caddie, "We've won the Masters." Because I know he can't get down in two from there, and I'm 12-foot from the hole and I've got him by two with two holes and it came down there, and he hit the flag and went right in the cup. And that, let me tell you, is three times as tough as Tiger Wood's chip. At least Tiger was coming up the hill a bit and then coming sideways.
But coming down there, he had to put the ball to the right hand, just off the fringe; it curves around like this, 15-foot. And then he hooked the ball into 17, and hit Eisenhower's Tree and the bought rattled down and came down. He hit 5-iron and I hit 9-iron and he put it about 25 feet and he holed that.
So now we tie and we go into sudden death -- it was an 18-hole playoff in those days, and I shoot 33 the front side and I've got him by three. We come to 13, and the fairways in those days were not like today. And we were lying next to each other and I decided to lay up because the lie wasn't good enough and he went for it and got an eagle and came back at 31 to beat me. Every time he get on the 16th green, it's like lightning. (Laughter).
But that's what happens with this game of golf at Augusta. Every year is phenomenal drama.
BILLY MORRIS: Other questions? Gary has been very generous with us with his time today. Gary, thank you so much for this wonderful interview and for what you've meant to the Masters and we all wish you the best of luck.
GARY PLAYER: Let me just in conclusion just say subpoenaing that I don't take for granted, Billy, and that is the media. You know, very few young guys, I wonder if they are aware, that no sporting event becomes important and successful without the media. They have made this golf tournament. Thank you.

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