Articles, Golf History, Kiawah Island Packages, Tournaments

Gary Player Exhibit Celebrates 50th Anniversary of His First PGA Championship Victory in 1962

Special Display at The Ocean Course Pays Tribute to His Victory at Aronimink

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – As golf’s top players tee off at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island
Golf Resort for the final Major Championship of the season, nine-time Major Champion and golf icon
Gary Player is being celebrated with a special exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of his first
PGA Championship victory at Aronimink Golf Club. In 1962, Player became the first South African golfer
to lift the Wanamaker Trophy with a one-shot victory, after holding off a strong contingent of competitors,
including Bob Goalby and Jack Nicklaus. Ten years later in 1972, Player would earn his second and final
PGA Championship victory at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

The PGA of America’s display recognizing Player’s Golden Anniversary triumph can be seen throughout the week of the 94th PGA Championship, Aug. 6-12, at The Ocean Course. The exhibit will feature:

  • A replica of the “Grand Slam” Black Knight Blade Putter used by Player during competitions in the 1960s and 1970s to win his career Grand Slam and more than 100 tournaments worldwide
  • The iconic shoes of the “Black Knight.” Throughout his career, Player was recognized for his penchant of wearing black and two-tone, classic brogue golf shoes
  • A 14-karat gold PGA of America tie bar given to Player
  • Gary Player Signature golf balls that he used during competitions in the 1960s
  • An iconic photo of Player and PGA President Lou Strong, as Player blows a kiss to the Wanamaker Trophy
  • An Official Program from the 1962 PGA Championship

“We are delighted to celebrate during the 2012 PGA Championship the Golden Anniversary of Gary Player’s first PGA Championship victory and the 40th Anniversary of his second,” said PGA President
Allen Wronowski. “Throughout his long and distinguished career, Gary has been a tremendous champion, a wonderful gentleman and a great ambassador for our game. His victories in 1962 and 1972 will be fondly recalled and remembered throughout the week at Kiawah Island.”

“To know that it has been 50 years since I won my first PGA Championship is incredible,” said Player.
“I have wonderful memories of my time at the PGA Championships, and winning my third Major Championship at Aronimink was a special moment.”

At the time that Player entered into the 1962 PGA Championship, he was without a recent victory on tour, and the dominating Arnold Palmer was coming off Masters and Open Championship triumphs. Once Player stepped onto the grounds of Aronimink, however, he was immediately relaxed and invigorated.

“I played well in the practice rounds and my confidence came surging back,” said Player. “I was putting like Houdini and was able to keep the ball in play, which was the most important factor throughout the week, because the rough was high.”

On Championship Sunday, Player held off the surging American, Bob Goalby, who came from four strokes behind to come within one stroke of Player’s lead.

“Bob Goalby and I battled during the final round on Sunday. I knew that Goalby was a wonderful competitor, and I had to keep focused on playing well,” recalled Player. “I will never forget the shot I hit on the 18th hole during the final round. I hit my drive to the right in the trees, and for my second shot, I took a 3-wood and aimed it 100 yards to the left of the green.  I hit a massive slice around the corner onto the green to set up for a par.”

Player finished the Championship at 2-under-par 278. The victory allowed Player to achieve four of his five goals in golf – win The Open Championship, Masters, PGA Championship and top the PGA Tour money list. Player left Aronimink with newfound confidence, vision and just the U.S. Open Championship left to conquer the career Grand Slam, which he accomplished in 1965, at age 29.

As one of only five golfers to win all four major Championships, Player also added three Senior PGA Championships triumphs to his resume in 1986, 1988 and 1990. In 1974, Player was named an Honorary PGA Member to recognize his career achievements.

“I hold The PGA in high esteem, because they have done so much for golf over the years and make me proud to be a professional, an Honorary PGA member, and former champion,” said Player. “We have The PGA to thank for much of the popularization of the game at the amateur level, especially in regard to the game with juniors, seniors, ladies, and charitable giving through golf.”

About The PGA of America

Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public’s interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.

About Gary Player

Gary Player, often referred to as the Black Knight, symbolizes all that world class golf is or was ever intended to be. A champion in every sense of the word, he has won 165 professional tournaments worldwide and through the philanthropic efforts of his foundation generated over $50 million dollars for the education of underprivileged children. Player, a master of the game, and a world leader in golf course design is credited with shaping more than 325 courses worldwide.

When Gary Player won the US Open in 1965 at age 29, he became only the third golfer to win the Grand Slam, following Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen. Since then, only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have added their names to this elite group. Player has, to date, won nine major championships on the regular PGA Tour and nine on the Senior or Champions Tour. He is a three time President’s Cup Captain and in 2000 received South Africa’s Sportsman of the Century Award.

In addition to his 40 years of golf course design, Player currently serves as the Global Ambassador to the World Golf Hall of Fame and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from St. Andrews University. His legendary career and humanitarian endeavors have been acknowledged by numerous awards, including the 2012 PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2006 PGA Tour Payne Stewart Award, and the 2003 Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Player has circled the globe in pursuit of sporting events, and after journeying over 15 million miles, or 25 million kilometers, he is widely recognized as The World’s Most Traveled Athlete™. When not traveling to or from sporting events, Player divides his time between the South African stud farm where he has bred over 2000 winning thoroughbred race horses and his residence on Jupiter Island in Hobe Sound, Florida.

For further information on Gary Player, The Player Foundation, Gary Player Design, Player Real Estate or Black Knight International, visit or contact Debbie Longenecker at  or (864) 477-2720.

Media Contacts:

PGA of America        Kelly Elbin          561/624-8445
Gary Player Group  Grace Lipscomb   864/477-2720