Gary Player welcomes stars in honour of a promise and a purpose

golf17 November 2023 10:40
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Sun City course @ Gallo images

As Gary Player sits at Sun City preparing to welcome sporting greats, celebrities and business leaders to the annual Gary & Vivienne Player Invitational this weekend, he thinks about the one person who helped him to see the difference between leaving behind a great golf career, or leaving behind a legacy.

“Vivienne was the rock in my life. She opened my eyes to more than just golf. She had such an intense love for children that it was her idea to start a school on our farm for the local community, and which grew into becoming the Blair Atholl Pre-Primary School of today,” says Player of his late wife. It has been just over two years since Vivienne passed away from pancreatic cancer.

“In her last words to me, Vivienne asked me to promise to keep our Gary and Vivienne Player Foundation going and to ensure the children of the Blair Atholl Pre-Primary School continue to be taken care of.”

This weekend at Sun City, South Africa’s greatest sportsman will continue a promise he made to his wife in her final moments – with some help from his friends.

A selection of South African sporting greats and celebrities as well as business leaders and business giants such as Rolex, Sun International, BMW, Amrod, Citadel and Tabono will gather for the Gary & Vivienne Player Invitational at The Lost City Golf Course from 18-19 November to use golf to raise funds for the Blair Atholl Pre-Primary School.

“From the day we opened the doors to the school on our farm in 1990, Vivienne absolutely loved these children like our own. She wanted to see all children thrive no matter their backgrounds or circumstances. Vivienne taught me unconditional love. She was a woman driven by love for people, which I share, and a desire for everybody to have their place in the sun. There is such a love around this tournament because her spirit is still so much a part of everything we do at the Gary and Vivienne Player Foundation, and she will always be our guide in this sense.”

This weekend at Sun City, a promise will be kept.

A promise made to a woman who, while her husband became a legend, she helped to launch a legacy.

2023 Gary & Vivienne Player Invitational Celebrity Participants:

Shaun Bartlett; Kenny Dalglish; Patrick Lambie; David Kau; Matthew Booth; Maps Maponyane;

Sally Little; Aaron Mokoena; Brian Baloyi; Stefan Terblanche; Jaco van der Westhuizen;

Adriaan Strauss; Reuben Riffel; Rolene Strauss; Butch James; Rosko Specman; Rob Kempson; Ryan Kankowski; Keegan Daniel; Robbie Frylinck; Jacques Rudolph; Herschelle Gibbs; Paul Adams;

Jaco Kriel; Waylon Murray; Rory Kleinveldt; Joey Rasdien; Felicity Shiba; Gary Player; Naas Botha.