Best Still to Come from McIlroy, Says Laureus Legend Gary Player


‘Rory McIlory may have had more talent than Tiger Woods at the start of their careers’ says South African golf superstar Player

Gary Player celebrating 50th anniversary of Open win at Carnoustie in 1968

Ahead of Mandela Day, Player salutes one of the greatest men he has met

CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND – Golf legend and Laureus Academy Member Gary Player believes Rory McIlroy can win the Open Championship this week, even though he has not won a Major Championship since 2014.

In an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with @LaureusSport, in which he relives winning the 1968 Open Championship at Carnoustie, exactly 50 years ago, Player said: “I do believe there’s still the best to come from Rory. This is nonsense about him never coming back to where he was.

“If he putts well, I would favour him. He’s a young man. An unbelievable talent. Maybe even more talent than Tiger Woods had at the start of their careers.”

In the interview, Player also talks emotionally ahead of Mandela Day (July 18) – the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, the first Patron of Laureus Sport for Good. Player said: “I went to see the prison cell that he lived in for 20 years, ten foot by five or six foot. And can you imagine, he comes out with no revenge or hatred, humble, full of love. That's how you judge a leader.”

Among Gary Player’s other comments in the interview, which is available for media use:

• On Tiger Woods: “It’s very difficult to have had the difficulties that he's encountered over the years not to have your nerves scarred to a certain degree.”

• On Carnoustie: “A lovely, tough monster of a golf course. If the wind blows a score of 300 could win. This is unheard of in today’s golf.”

• On 1968: “When you win The Open you've won the ultimate. When you hold that trophy, think about the history attached to it, there’s no other championship that comes close.”

• On Laureus: “Nelson Mandela told us at the Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000 that sport can change the world….that was a remarkable speech.”

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