Gary Player: Giving back can be so rewarding

The Gary Player Invitational, which was launched 20 years ago, supports underprivileged children and communities around the world and has raised more than $64 million for The Player Foundation.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the game of golf is the enthusiasm golfers have for raising funds for worthy causes. I am honoured again to be hosting our Gary Player Invitational at Wentworth Club on Monday, July 22, the day after the conclusion of The Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

We will have the company of some of golf’s most recognised names and faces competing at the Edinburgh Course I designed, as 72 professional golfers and business leaders, including eight Ryder Cup stars, six Major winners and 22 PGA Tour, European Tour, and Ladies European Tour professionals supporting the ‘Golf and Giving’ charitable event.

Our Gary Player Invitational, which we launched in 1999, supports underprivileged children and communities globally, and the series has helped The Player Foundation raise more than $64 million, benefitting hundreds of organisations and charities, impacting countless lives worldwide, and our goal is to raise the total to $100 million by 2025.

The American contingent is made up of the 2014 Ryder Cup Captain and eight-time Major winner Tom Watson, and his world-renowned compatriots, Mark O’Meara, Fred Couples and Tom Lehman with Ian Woosnam, Thomas Bjorn, Sam Torrance and Colin Montgomerie headlining the European side.

They will be joined by my fellow South African Richard Sterne, a six-time winner on the European Tour; 2017 Turkish Airlines Challenge victor, England’s Ryan Evans; Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, a winner of five European Tour titles; Spain’s Alvaro Quiros, a seven-time European Tour winner; and Lee Slattery, whose most recent title came at the M2M Russian Open in 2015. Among the Ladies European Tour professionals confirmed are 2018 Rookie of the Year, Julia Engstrom; 2014 Ladies Slovak Open winner, Camilla Lennarth; 2013 LET Q School winner Caroline Marten; Germany’s Olivia Cowan, currently 10th on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit and recent LET winner, Annabel Dimmock. 

Also joining the female line-up are Ladies European Tour professionals Lauren Taylor, Joanna Klatten, Sarah Kemp, Amy Boulden, Inci Mehmet and Sophie Lamb.  

The Gary Player Invitational at Wentworth marks the only European stop on the series’ global calendar with annual events also being staged in Abu Dhabi, New York, Hong Kong and in South Africa at Sun City.

Each team will consist of two amateur guests competing alongside one female professional and one male professional, combining golf lovers from the worlds of sport, business and society for a glamorous and fun-filled occasion. The event will also see a number of representatives from tournament sponsors teeing it up on the Edinburgh Course, including those from presenting sponsor Berenberg, Rolex, SAP and LaVazza.

Some of the strongest memories I have from throughout my career in golf have occurred in the United Kingdom, so I am thrilled to be returning to Wentworth, a venue of which I am most fond and familiar with.

Our goal is to help improve the lives of as many people globally as we possibly can, and it makes me proud to announce another stellar field, including some of the biggest stars in golf. It’s going to be another occasion to remember.

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