Johannesburg - Gary Player has been named captain of South Africa’s first Olympic
golf team that will compete at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
a winner of more than 165 tournaments worldwide, is the only person to complete
the career Grand Slam on both the regular and senior tours amidst his 18 Major
Championships. And 63 years as a professional golfer has given Player extensive
experience in team competition.
the International Team for the Presidents Cup on three occasions, and also made
several appearances for South Africa in the World Cup of Golf.
said he was honoured to be selected as captain for South Africa on such a
momentous occasion for golf.
delighted to accept the captaincy and look forward to leading our top
professionals on the fairways of the Rio Olympics next year. This is such a big
moment for our country and for the game of golf as a whole, and I am proud to
be a part of this. Golf and the Olympic movement share the same core values, so
this is a very big opportunity to grow the game around the world. Our goal is
to earn South Africa its first Olympic gold medal in a sport that has always
done this country proud.”
Olympic captaincy was made official by the South African Golf Association
(SAGA), the governing body for golf in the country.
is our greatest golfer and one of this country’s greatest ambassadors,” said
Gerhard Conradie, President of the SAGA. “His career on the golf course and his
philanthropic efforts off it embody everything of the Olympic spirit, and we
are proud that he has accepted to lead South Africa’s first Olympic golf team
announcement was made at Soweto Country Club on Saturday, where Player’s
remarkable career and contribution to South African golf was recognised with a
golf day in his honour by the Sunshine Tour and the City of Johannesburg.
Nathan, the Executive Director of the Sunshine Tour, applauded the decision to
appoint Player as captain of the Olympic golf team.
Sunshine Tour professionals have tremendous respect for Gary, and his
experience and leadership ability will be invaluable to the South African
players who qualify. We all saw the effect Gary has on a team when he led the
International Team to the only ever tie in the Presidents Cup in South Africa
in 2003, which remains one of the most memorable moments in golf.
golf’s undisputed global ambassador, it is very fitting that the game’s return
to the Olympic fold for the first time in more than a century should feature a
man recognised worldwide for his contribution to the game, and we are proud to
have him lead our South African team.”
has only appeared twice at the Olympic Games, in 1900 and 1904, and with only
the United States, Canada and Great Britain competing.
and 2020, golf will be globally represented at the Olympic Games for the first