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Gary Player received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from US President Donald Trump this week.
The son of golfing great Gary Player has made an impassioned plea to his father to return one of Donald Trump’s Presidential Medals of Freedom awarded last week.
Nine-time major winner Gary Player, together with former women’s world No.1 Annika Sorenstam, were honoured by the controversial US President in one of his final acts in office.
Marc Player has since lashed out at his 85-year-old father on social media for accepting the award from the controversial politician, a day after a mob of supporters stormed the US Capitol in protest against the confirmation of Joe Biden’s election victory.
“I really wish my father would have simply & politely declined this “award” at this time, from this man. Tone deaf. In Denial, Wrong!” Marc Player said on Twitter.
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“This is what I wished my father @garyplayer would have done and what I strongly urge him still to do. It’s not too late to simply return it with gratitude & retain some honour, dignity and self respect.”
Player, a three-time winner of the Masters, has won 24 times on the PGA Tour.
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Gary Player, right, talks with fellow golfing legend Jack Nicklaus after the Payne’s Valley Cup last year.
He is considered a legend in the game around the world but is a polarising figure back in his native South Africa, where he rubbed shoulders with politicians during the apartheid era and was deemed to have ignored calls for reform.
In 1965, South African Indian golfer Sewsunker “Papwa” Sewgolum won the Natal Open at the Durban Country Club, beating the likes of Player.
But Sewgolum, a three-time winner of the Dutch Open in 1959, 1960 and 1964, was forced to receive his trophy in the rain as he was not allowed in the clubhouse because of the colour of his skin.
While the incident created a mini-storm, Player went on to win several international titles, including the Masters in 1974 and 1978, much to the disappointment of Black South Africans.