Gary Player struggling to figure out how the internet works

Months after defending Phil Mickelson and sporting Saudi swag at the Masters, South African golfer rips Cam Smith, LIV Tour

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Gary Player on his way to make a contradicting statement
Gary Player on his way to make a contradicting statement
Photo: Getty Images

The thing about the internet is it’s permanent. Scrub all you want, but no amount of skin grafts or laser removal is getting rid of that Kottonmouth Kings tattoo. While you can have an expert ink over it in hopes that no one notices, your asshole friends definitely have documented evidence of its existence that will never be deleted from their phones. It’s on the cloud, homie.

So it’s patently absurd for Gary Player to get a ringing round of applause for calling out Cam Smith’s LIV Tour defection when he vigorously defended Phil Mickelson and his comments about the Saudi League at the Masters.

First, here are his comments on Smith.

“Here’s a young man I really thought was going to be a superstar. Now, what sort of future does [Smith] have? Will he be able to realize this great dream of being a champion? I don’t know. I don’t blame [Henrik] Stenson for going. He had no money, so he had to go. But this is a potential superstar. I think his advisers have given him the wrong advice.”


This came during an interview in which he riddled the LIV Tour with shots, questioning its format, saying he “wouldn’t take a billion dollars for my nine majors on both tours,” that “it’s a tour for people who don’t have confidence in their future,” and that the new league “declared war on the PGA Tour.”

Well, Gary, where the fuck was your foresight when you wore a Golf Saudi turtleneck during the ceremonial first drive at the Masters? He’s on record saying Mickelson was unjustly “crucified” for his comments about the Saudis.

“I think it’s pitiful. It’s amazing. From the epitome of perfection, [Mickelson is] down there being crucified. It’s not right,” the 86-year-old said.

“The greatest PR man on the golf tour in the last five or X amount of years has been Phil Mickelson. He has been the ideal man for a sponsor, for professional golf, for the public, the way he’s handled the public, with dignity and with love. And he said he’s sorry. I’ve told him, ‘Hold your head up high. You’ve made a mistake. Everybody makes a mistake.’ He should go on with his life.”


If that’s not an endorsement of Mickelson leading a parade of lemmings off a cliff, I don’t know what is. This isn’t a defense of Smith, either. What Player said this week about the Saudi Tour is accurate. It just loses all meaning after he round-aboutly gave the OK for guys to jump ship.

He can bitch all he wants about Smith’s advisers, but they’re probably basing a lot of what they do off of the fact that the big-name golfers are pretty fucking good at what they do. When the “greatest PR man on the golf tour” has his controversial statement played down by a living legend, Greg Norman is pimping the LIV Tour like it’s the next evolution of sliced bread, and a lot of Smith’s peers are making the switch, what the hell did Player expect to happen?


If the senile South African golfer thought he was merely presenting an option for washed-up “broke” players to recoup some of the money the PGA hoarded, then he should’ve led with that. He didn’t though, and the reckless enthusiasm of Player and others is what got golf here in the first place.

So I don’t want to see or hear any headline about Player’s takedown of the LIV Tour. We have the receipts, and circled with a big yellow highlighter is the purchase of that dumbass Saudi Golf turtleneck — which, according to recent emails from the PGA officials, is now frowned upon at its sanctioned events.


Thanks for the bit of self-righteousness, but it’s laughably late.