Cape Town - South Africa's greatest ever sportsman, Gary Player, was the star attraction at the recent BMW Golf Cup
International National Final held at the magnificent Pezula Championship Golf Course in Knysna.
Player enthralled invited guests and players with shot-making that belied his 83 years of age, hitting high fades and soft draws on command, while also showcasing his famed wizardry from out the bunkers.
Player reminded all assembled that he's the only player to have captured the Grand Slam on both the regular and senior tours, in triumphing in nine Majors on each tour during the height of his career.
While cutting back on his on-course exploits of late, Player, in the guise of his Gary Player Design company, has been involved in a staggering 400-plus projects in 36 countries on five continents to date.
The 'Black Knight' as he is fondly known, spoke openly about his greatest achievement as a golf-course designer - The Links at Fancourt - and freely admitted it's the one course he struggles to break his age!
In fact, not content to simply break his age, Player is attempting to become the first player to do so by golf's magical '18' number, meaning he's looking to sign for a gross 65!
Player, part of golf's 'Big 3' alongside Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, gave credit to his wife of 62 years (and counting!) Vivienne for a large degree of his success, going as far as to say the spouses of Nicklaus, Palmer and his own were in fact the real, 'Big 3'.
A fiercer competitor one would go far to find, Player spoke of how, during his career, he wanted nothing more than to "beat you in your own country".
Without question the world's most travelled athlete, Player, a 13-time SA Open winner, also racked up seven Australian Open titles and was also victorious in at the time 'remote' countries like Chile, Egypt, Brazil and Japan - to name just a foursome.
Off-course, two of Player's highlights to date have been his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974 and his captaincy of the International Team at the 2003 Presidents Cup at The Links which famously ended in a tie.
Player has credited a lot of his success to his dedication to the concept of diet, health, practice and golf fitness and was often the first person in the Pezula Hotel gym - and the last to leave - putting many, including this golf scribe, to shame.
While Player's appearance at Pezula was the unforgettable highlight for many, those who had qualified across the country to earn the right to duke it out at the BMW Golf Cup
International National Final battled Pezula's famed windy conditions.
Play was contested in a friendly, yet competitive fashion using the single stableford format.
When all was said and done, the winner of the Men's A Division (handicaps 12 and lower) was Londa Mngadi with 35 points, while in the Men's B Division (handicaps 13-24) Ravindra Surujbelly with 46 points emerged victorious.
Janine van der
Merwe, with 35 points, was the winner in the Ladies Division (all handicaps).
Besides BMW goodie bags and gifts from other equally generous sponsors, Mont Blanc among others, was a trip to the BMW Golf Cup
International World Final in Cabo del Sol, Mexico.
All in all, a tremendous few days in a picturesque part of the world.
Bring on next year's event!