Player under spotlight for sporting Saudi Golf logo at Masters Opening Ceremony

Bernie McGuire
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Gary Player (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

The Player family found themselves under scrutiny for a second Masters running after Gary Player joined the 2022 Masters opening ceremony sporting a ‘Saudi Golf’ logo on the left collar of his shirt.

Of course, the Grand Slam-winning South African can wear what he likes but after the brazen antics of his son, Wayne in openly ‘promoting’ Oncore golf balls a year ago, it seemed the family wanted more publicity.

The now 86-year-old Player, who captured three Augusta National green jackets over a 17-year span from 1961 to 1978, naturally was unaware of the ever-increasing attention he was drawing on social media.

What people may find bizarre, it was the PGA Tour that tweeted the picture of Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley, and Player. And the photograph posted on @PGATour was taken at an angle clearly so that you could read the logo on Player’s collar.

Some of the comments on Twitter to the logo include:

Bertiebollox · Replying to @PGATOUR – Gary not content with the 2021 1st tee faux pas, so, he wears a “Saudi Golf” logo on his turtle neck sweater for this years opening drive.

Craig Cassells @CraigCassells01 Replying to @PGATOUR – @jacknicklaus and @garyplayer And a certain player is promoting Saudi Golf

Leon Clark @EGTFPro Replying to @PGATOUR – @jacknicklaus and @garyplayer What’s this Golf Saudi on Mr Players neck? This looks interesting

@fergzlfc – After last years fiasco with his son player shouldn’t be anywhere near that first tee

Dave McCann @DaveMcCann20 Replying to @PGATOUR – @jacknicklaus and @garyplayer Gary didn’t bring his son this year?

@bertiebollox3 – He was banned from the grounds of Augusta last year after his advertising episode. I’m amazed Gary is still allowed in, never mind being kept an “honorary starter”

Player also had the Saudi Golf logo on his golf bag, too. He had teamed up as an ambassador with Saudi Golf exactly a year ago, and with an official statement released just ahead of the opening ceremony, and with a statement at the time saying: “I have long admired the vision of Golf Saudi, but more importantly the work that is being done on the ground to provide access to the sport for all levels”.

Now that’s not to say such sponsorship is not allowed but in the present times, when fellow former Masters winner Phil Mickelson is taking an enforced sabbatical over his Saudi golf-related comments, it kind of begs the question if Player’s wearing of the Saudi Golf logo is purely coincidental or not. We know Saudi Golf is backing the breakaway golf league that has divided the golf community, and also brought headlines to the ancient game not seen before.

Sadly, the attending media who were in the media centre afterward to speak to the three golfing legends either failed to spot the Saudi Golf logo or chose to avoid any controversy.

Of course, Wayne Player has been banned from attending any further Masters after his blatant actions last year, and in a small way spoiling the appearance of Lee Elder on the tee, and in a move to celebrate Elder being the first black golfer in 1975 to contest the Masters.

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