Ask a golf fan, “who are the big 3,” and they’ll say “Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player.” But the way Gary Player’s acted since retirement, you’d think no one knows who the hell he is. Whether it’s pimping the fit life on Twitter harder than Jillian Michaels or lacing his interactions with major champions with humblebrags.
Gary’s antics are a clinic on snatching relevancy by any means necessary.
Most recently, Mr. Player’s cause du jour has been as self anointed adjudicator of US Open venues. Two years ago during an interview with Golf Channel, Player chose to use “Good morning Mr. Player, how are you?” as a springboard into a six minute rant that this was, “the most unpleasant golf tournament I’ve ever been to in my life.” Player’s speech was full of declarations, insistences, and most notably, personal insults to course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Two years would pass before we’d get to hear RTJ Jr.’s side of the story. Last week, in typical Golf Digest fashion of seeing the next Watergate in every potential story, they interviewed Mr. Jones Jr. on how the feud had been progressing.
To his credit, Jones did well to downplay the escalation, though he made it clear he felt exactly as one might expect should the US Open course they designed get ripped apart on national television without provocation. But, he took it one step too far when he said, “I think Gary Player, as we all know him, is kind of a showboater.”
Whoops. Now, is calling someone a showboater an insult? Not necessarily. Gronk’s a showboater, but no one thinks of him as a bad guy, or of that as an insult, least of all Gronk. But the guy who went on an unsolicited six minute rant about the status of a tournament venue? He might not take it so well.
Posted yesterday from his Twitter account is Player’s clapback to Golf Digest’s and Jones Jr.’s egregious indignity to his honor. Fraught with all the ingredients an A+ example of pettiness needs, Gary goes all in and reminds RTJ that he has already once tried to “bury the hatchet,” which Mr. Jones Jr. might remember if he weren’t suffering from amnesia or senility (Gary’s words not mine). He also references his career Grand Slam victory and the time he’s spent with Nelson Mandela because, you know, relevancy.
My very best to the all the players, fans and the USGA as the golf world comes to Erin Hills for the year’s 2nd Major. pic.twitter.com/VL3CKGHyOo
— Gary Player (@garyplayer) June 12, 2017
Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think Gary buried the hatchet here so much as he ripped it out of the ground and hurled it right at RTJ Jr.’s head. Unfortunately Jones Jr. doesn’t believe social media is the best platform for resolving disputes, so it’s unlikely we see a response from him, but I doubt we have to wait long before another unsuspecting soul dares cross The Black Knight and he has to ride again..
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