Gary Player doubles down on Augusta criticism ahead of 2023 Masters: "It's sad!"

Gary Player has lamented his club status at Augusta National ahead of the 2023 Masters, questioning how welcome 'past champions' truly are.

Ben Smith's picture
Sat, 1 Apr 2023
Gary Player doubles down on Augusta criticism ahead of 2023 Masters: "It's sad!"

Gary Player turned heads before the forthcoming 2023 Masters when he ranked it dead last out of all the majors. 

It should be noted that legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus shares the same opinion. 

But Player has now added to his comments in an interview with Golf. He made it clear he loves Augusta National. But he's gone in hard. Again. 

He worries just how welcome the past champions truly are. 

Related: World No. 45 withdraws from 2023 Masters

The golfer stated to the publication that if he wants to arrange a practice round, he can't just call the club shop and make those arrangements. 

Player, an honorary member of Augusta National, told the publication:

"A lot of people assume that I have those privileges, but they're wrong. It makes you wonder, how welcome are we really as past Masters champions?"

The 87-year-old slipped on the Green Jacket three times between 1961 and 1978. 

He will join Nicklaus and Tom Watson once again to hit the ceremonial first tee shot at the 87th Masters this week. 

There were doubts Watson would be physically well enough after having shoulder surgery but he has confirmed he's on the mend now. 

Player made it clear to Golf that he wants no sympathy for having these opinions. 

He just wants it known that without the players, Augusta would 'just be another course'. 

Player said that when Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson et al slip on their jackets it's the 'greatest PR in the world for the club'. 

It will be interesting to see how well Player's comments go down at Augusta National. 

What did Gary Player say about the majors?

He told the DailyMail:

"Never mind the Masters, the Open is by far the greatest tournament on the planet. I rate the Open at one, the U.S. Open two, PGA three and Augusta four; Four marvelous tournaments." 
"[The Masters is] the youngest of the majors. The others are steeped in tradition and history and they still have to catch up. Nothing comes to the top without time." 

No doubt this topic will be on the agenda when chairman Fred Ridley hosts his annual press conference. 

The 2023 Masters takes place over 6-9 April. 

Take me to more news!