This week, the DP World Tour is at Gary Player Country Club for the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa.
One of the greatest PGA Tour golfers of all time and South African staple, Gary Player, was there for the first round and joined the television broadcast for a while.
He loved that Augusta National finally extended membership to one of the greatest LPGA players ever.
“To see Annika Sorenstam made a member of Augusta, they never allowed women, and now to see a woman be a member, I think it’s fantastic,” Player said. “She’s the best lady golfer in the world, or was — wonderful to see, isn’t it?”
Augusta National has tried to grow its women’s game in recent years. The club started the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019.
His reaction then prompted one of the broadcasters to mention how that event and how equally great that is. That’s when the 88-year-old Player put his foot in his mouth.
“I don’t agree with you on that,” Player said, leaving an eery awkward silence in the booth and on live television.
Maybe Player doesn’t realize, but Sorenstam is not the first woman allowed down Magnolia Lane as a member. She is the seventh confirmed lady, joining the likes of Condoleezza Rice, Darla Moore and others to have their own green jackets.
However, the 72-time LPGA winner is the first professional women’s golfer allowed into the boy’s club and could really ruffle some traditional feathers.
Player didn’t particularly show excitement that Sorenstam is a member, but his tone changed drastically regarding the amateur event.
The 9-time major champion has openly said he is “not particularly crazy” about mixed events between men and women.
One must wonder, was this just an accidental slip from an old man, or was Player trying to say women don’t belong on this same prestigious course as men?
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.