We often criticize sports figures because we feel they earn too much. Although this is true and some sports stars live extremely lavish lifestyles, there are many things that happen behind the scenes we do not realize. Many sport stars donate a lot of money to various charities or help to fund scholarship programs. Many stars such as Lebron James do a lot of work each year to help inner city kids who live in poverty. Historically there have been many well-paid sports stars who donate a lot of money. One of the sports figures that has done a lot of good things with his money is professional golfer Gary Player.
Gary Player is a golfer originally from South Africa, although he now has a home in Jupiter Florida also. Today Gary Player is a name recognized around the world for his golfing career, but in 1965 he was struggling to become a reputable player.
In 1965 Gary Player wanted to win the National Open Golf Championship. Gary Player wanted to win it so bad that he made a promise Joe Dey in 1962 who was the executive director of the U.S. Golf Association. Gary Player told Joe Dey that “…I promised that if God ever gave me the privilege of winning I would donate the purse to a good cause”.
Today Gary Player is a wealthy player, but back in 1965 he was far from wealthy. He was just another young player with talent that was hoping he could be a successful golfer. In 1965 when he finally won the National Golf Championship he stayed true to his promise.
Immediately after being awarded the win he donated $25,000 to the U.S. Golf Association and he also suggested they donate $5,000 to the Cancer Fund. He also suggested that the other $20,000 be donated to the Junior Gold development as a way of saying thanks for everything that golf had done for him. In addition Gary Player also paid his caddy $2,000 which was the largest amount ever paid to a golf caddy for a single tournament up to this point.
Today Gary Player is considered one of the best golfers of all time. Gary Player still contributes much money financially, but he was also ground breaking in other ways. During apartheid Gary Player invited golfer Lee Elder and tennis great Arthur Ashe to play golf with him in South Africa. This caused the South African leadership to brand him a traitor because Lee elder and Arthur Ashe were both black.
Although Gary Player had made some harsh statements regarding blacks when he was younger, his attitude has change drastically over the years. Gary Player has raised over 100 million dollars to help support poor and under privileged blacks in South Africa.