Gary Player won the US Open golf tournament and became the fourth winner to earn all four top-pro golf titles. Player, from South Africa, was the first non-American to achieve this feat.
Player was born in Johannesburg in 1935. While countryman Bobby Locke preceded him to the PGA Tour, South African Player was the first international star to build a long-term presence on the PGA Tour, while also playing around the world. Along the way, Player won tournaments in 27 consecutive years, and 163 tournaments total worldwide, he is regarded as one of the greatest players in golf history.
His first major championship win came at the 1959 British Open, and he was the first non-American to win the Masters when he did so in 1961. The PGA Championship followed in 1962, and when Player won the U.S. Open in 1965 he became, at the time, only the third winner of the career grand slam and the fourth winner to earn all four top-pro golf titles.
Off the course, Player worked behind-the-scenes to improve the racial situation in South Africa, which for most of his life existed under the shroud of apartheid. He founded The Player Foundation to promote education among his country's underprivileged, and the foundation built the Blair Atholl Schools in Johannesburg, which has educational facilities for more than 500 students.
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