Gary Player Thinks Golf Needs a Black Champion

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Gary Player won nine major championship titles between 1959 and 1978.
Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

The ever-outspoken Gary Player thinks golf needs more diversity.

According to a report from NewsTalk 106-108FM in Dublin, Player sounded off to Omnisport, saying, “We need Tiger Woods. Why? He’s a man of color. We need a black champion.”

His words come largely in response to two things: the noted decrease in popularity of golf and the noted fall of Tiger Woods, the most successful African-American in golf history.

Woods has won 14 majors in his career (the last coming in 2008) and spiked the worldwide popularity of the sport. This year, Woods has fallen to his current rank of 258 in the Official World Golf Ranking after missing the cut at the British Open in St. Andrews last weekend.

Nonetheless, Woods remains the last African-American man to win a major.

“Go to Africa, where we’ve got all these young black kids used to seeing a white guy as the champion,” said Player, a South African golfer himself. “Now they’re getting inspired; they’re sitting in front of their TV sets. It inspires them; it gets them interested in golf.”

Player also added that “Asia wants to see a man of color” win. The last Asian man to win a major was nearly six years ago, when Y.E. Yang took the 2009 PGA Championship.

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