Friday 22 March 2019

The game desperately needs Tiger to win Majors again - Player

Gary Player. Photo: AP
Gary Player. Photo: AP newsdesk

Gary Player believes golf would be the big winner if Tiger Woods triumphed in the Open at Carnoustie this week.

Fourteen-time Major winner Woods is playing in the tournament for the first time in three years after recovering from a succession of back surgeries.

Woods, 42, transformed golf's commercial appeal by dominating the sport in his early career and Player would like to see American return to his best.

The 82-year-old said: "My big wish would be that he would win because Tiger Woods is responsible for these guys playing for a million every week.

"I think Tiger captures the young people, which we need in this game desperately at the moment. If he can bring this, it enhances the game and brings more young people into the game.

"He brings more people, the sponsors are delighted, the public are delighted and the media are delighted because you are still in awe of him.

"I think Tiger Woods will win another tournament and I hope he will win another Major because we desperately need him to do that for the sake of the game. I sincerely hope he plays well."

Player, however, feels there is downside to attracting more sponsors because some players are earning figures far exceeding their achievements.

Careful The nine-time Major winner said: "We wanted a man to play in our charity event at Wentworth one year - he wanted $500,000 for the one day.

"We've got to be very careful that we don't kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Managers have got to be realistic and realise that every golfer playing has a debt to society.

"Tiger Woods was paid millions of dollars. He deserved it because he was in a league of his own and he went there, brought the people in. But when you see an ordinary player who's never won a Major asking for $500,000 or more, it's a very sad day."

Despite his wish for Woods to win, the South African accepts this week's tournament is wide open.

He said: "The way the golf course is set at the moment, as the conditions are, anybody who plays in this tournament could win."

However, Player picked out Rickie Fowler as a man to watch this week as the American hopes to end his wait to break his Major duck.

"If you get a feeling about somebody winning, my feeling is for Rickie," said Player. "He's been very close at Majors.

"He played so well last week and he's in a good frame of mind. He's a marvellous putter and he hits the ball pretty straight."

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