Gary Player: Justin Rose – No.1 as a player and as a person

There’s one way to make tournament golf more popular and that is to get rid of the reference booklets some pros take an eternity to gaze at and simply speed up the game.

couldn’t be more pleased at seeing Justin Rose become World No.1 at the BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club, PA. It was a well-deserved achievement and it means he joins an elite trio of Englishmen who have taken the top spot in the World Ranking – Sir Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. I regard Justin as not only No.1 in the world as a player but also No.1 in the world as a gentleman.

He had the opportunity to win the tournament but failed to make to make crucial putts in regulation and in the resulting play-off. But these things happen in golf and Justin took his disappointment in his stride, as he always does.

He’s a real sportsman and he’s earned himself a reputation for playing golf in the true spirit of the game. When Sergio Garcia won the Masters Tournament last year, Justin unluckily lost out by a final shot, but he had the good grace to congratulate Sergio with a genuine smile and a heartfelt hug.

 Justin is a credit to the game and I hope he has a long run as World No.1.


At Ryder Cup time, golf always comes under the microscope with well-meaning bodies and individuals suggesting a variety of changes they believe should be implemented. They often quote the success of cricket’s 20-20 cricket, but golf doesn’t translate to a different format so easily.

You can play 9-hole golf, 12-hole golf or any permutation of shorter rounds and I have recently opened a 12-hole golf course for amateurs. But the way to make golf more popular is simply amend the rules and speed up the game. Get rid of the reference booklets some players take an eternity to gaze at and say goodbye to five-hour rounds.

Alternatively, the pros should be allowed to use rangefinders to speed up proceedings. There’s nothing wrong with the game, it’s just the speed at which it is played. It’s ironic that the players on the Senior Tours play at a much faster rate than their colleagues on the regular tours.

Inevitably, night golf is becoming more popular, particularly in places like the Middle East and the Far East. When the sun goes down and the atmosphere becomes cooler it’s an ideal time to play – and it’s also ideal for those people who like to play golf after a hard day’s work. However, to floodlight a golf course is expensive and golf has got to find a means of making the game more affordable.

GLOBAL GOLF icons, Major champions, stars of the modern game and some of the sport’s hottest young talents joined me at Wentworth to raise almost $205,000 for good causes at the London edition of our world-leading Invitational Series. In a quest to raise $100 million for underprivileged education for children and communities. Berenberg, Rolex, SAP, Lavazza and other fantastic companies continue to help me make an impact around the world by uniting some of the biggest names in golf at our Gary Player Invitational events.

 Played on the Gary Player-designed Edinburgh Course at Wentworth we were joined by Berenberg Golf Ambassadors, Tom Watson, Martin Kaymer, Branden Grace, Fred Couples, Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara and Georgia Hall. 

 This year’s London event was very special for me, especially as it directly followed The Open at Carnoustie, where I had visited earlier in the tournament week, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my Open victory in 1968.

 Our next Gary Player Invitational event is coming up after the Ryder Cup, in New York. We have another fantastic field and aim to raise even more money towards our ultimate goal of reaching $100 million.

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