Forever Young: Celebrating Gary Player’s Grand Slam 50th Anniversary

Ask Gary Player about winning the 1965 U.S. Open Championship and his memories are so clear that it hardly seems like five decades have gone by since the historic event. And while it might seem just like yesterday, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Knight’s U.S. Open feat that catapulted him to the monumental achievement of a career Grand Slam.

Player, who went on to become the most decorated and successful international golfer of all time, was then just the third individual to clinch golf’s most coveted title. Since Player completed the career Grand Slam, the only other golfers to join him, Ben Hogan, and Gene Sarazen, have been Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, proving the sheer difficulty of winning each of golf’s four major championships.

“The Grand Slam is certainly one of my greatest achievements because it showed that all my hard work had paid off,” says Player. “With that 1965 victory, I became the first non-American to win the U.S. Open in 45 years and became only the third – and youngest, at 29 – to win the career Grand Slam. That was an enormous achievement.”

By 1965, Player already had achieved unparalleled success for an international golfer. He became the youngest Open championship victor at age 23 with a win at Muirfield in 1959. Just two years later he was the first international winner of The Masters.

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