Golf legend Gary Player. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP

Golf legend Gary Player. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP

Gary Player, and son Marc, open up on family feud

There is no sign of a resolution between South African golfing legend Gary Player and his son Marc after the latest dispute.

Golf legend Gary Player. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP

Golf legend Gary Player. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP

South African golfing legend Gary Player released a statement earlier this month saying he had taken action to recover trophies and memorabilia that had been put up for auction by his son and former manager Marc Player.

Gary, who is a nine-time major winner and South Africa’s greatest ever sportsman, claimed in a social media post that Marc had placed several items from his career up for auction without his authorisation.


“I would like to draw the public’s attention to the fact that several trophies and other pieces of memorabilia that form part of my legacy have been put up for auction by my son and ex-manager, Marc,” Player’s statement read. “These items belong to me and I have taken action to recover them. I have placed no items for sale – whether by auction or otherwise.”

However, Player’s son hit back through his lawyer Darren Heitner to say the accusations smack of a “continued petty effort by Gary’s advisors to besmirch Marc’s name and reputation wherever possible”.

In an interview with Sport24, both Gary and Marc have now provided their version of events, with the father and son clearly remaining firmly estranged.

“All families have a brother or sister … they all have family problems. I never thought I’d have that because I adored my son,” Gary Player commented. “I gave him [Marc] too much. Now, he’s taking my trophies and selling them. I had to get a lawyer to stop him because they’re mine. I earned them. I won the trophies, not him. Be that as it may, it’s not that serious. It’s a piece of silver. In 10 years’ time, nobody will know about it.”

“I gave him [Marc] my business to run and it made a lot of money,” he added. “You don’t want to be critical, and I’ve said I don’t want to say bad things about my son. But he took advantage and so we’ve separated. So be it.

“Of course, I’m saddened because I adored him as a young boy. My wife adored him. When my wife [Vivienne] was dying, he could have been sweeter and kinder to her. But you’ve got to let things be; let it go.”


In response to Sport24 when informed about the comments made by his father, Marc refused to take a step back.

“My father has always preached about his Christian faith and how love, forgiveness and communication are essential – that blood was thicker than water. How sad that in his old age, he has turned out to be such a bitter hypocrite…

“He never ‘gave’ me his business to run as I had already founded and 100%-owned Black Knight International and subsequently formed the Gary Player Group,” he added.

“We had an amazing 30-plus-year run of success and together built a very successful golf course design company, philanthropic events like the Gary Player Invitational, the Gary Player Foundation, endorsements and licensing. We both made many millions of dollars all around the world and he had no risk, no employees and was able to completely focus on doing what he does best, playing [the] Senior tour golf.

“What a pity he is so ungrateful for all my efforts in developing the logo, building the brand off the golf course, protecting him and keeping him relevant at the end of his career, which nobody else in our family cared to do. Now they are like vultures or hyenas around a carcass.”

Player and his son have been at loggerheads for years.

In 2020, Gary Player, who will turn 87 on 1 November this year, received a $5 million settlement fee after entering into an arbitration dispute with the Gary Player Group over ownership and naming rights. 


The Gary Player Group company was operated by Marc Player.

Meanwhile, another of Player’s sons, Wayne, was banned for life from the Masters after a tacky ambush marketing stunt ahead of the 2021 tournament.

As reported by The South African website at the time, Wayne, who was serving as his father’s “caddy” for the ceremonial opening tee shots, stood holding a sleeve of golf balls in such a way as to give the logo maximum visibility and exposure.