Gary Participant returns to Aronimink nonetheless trying to play


NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. (AP) — Jack Nicklaus requested his previous buddy Gary Participant throughout a current cellphone name simply what number of rounds of golf he nonetheless performed every week.

The Black Knight of golf, Participant, who turns 85 on Nov. 1, mentioned he scheduled a tee time day by day he may — together with a current spherical with Charles Barkley — and would play seven days every week if not for his spouse battling pancreatic most cancers.

Nicklaus lamented, “I’ve performed 5 occasions within the final two months.”

“Now when you take a look at my form in comparison with him …,” Participant mentioned, laughing as his sentence trailed off and he flexed, trying extra like Jack LaLanne than any previous octogenarian sure for the retirement dwelling.

Participant was simply pleased he had a buddy his age to speak to about golf.

“I’m 85 and all my associates are lifeless,” he mentioned.

Participant was again Saturday at Aronimink Golf Membership, dwelling of this weekend’s Ladies’s PGA Championship, and the location of his 1962 PGA Championship victory. The South African golfer is the one non-American to win all 4 main championships, taking dwelling three British Opens, three Masters, two PGAs and one U.S. Open. He gained 24 PGA Tour titles total. He then gained 19 occasions on the Senior Tour, together with two U.S. Senior Opens and 4 different majors.

Aronimink, which initially was designed by Donald Ross and has hosted a number of prestigious championships, is the place Participant gained his first PGA Championship, by one shot over Bob Goalby. It’s a course he nonetheless performs when he can — at all times grateful for the chance.

“I had a putt right here the opposite day, the precise putt I had after I gained, after I beat Bob Goalby, my buddy,” Participant mentioned. “I had the precise putt and I mentioned, ‘How fortunate am I.’”

Participant gained $13,000 for his win at Aronimink. The ladies this weekend are competing for his or her share of a $4.3 million purse, with the winner incomes $645,000.

“Ladies’s golf has bought a fantastic future, nevertheless it will depend on the management, and girls’s golf has very, excellent management,” he mentioned.

Participant and his spouse keep have stayed with their daughter by the COVID-19 pandemic in Schwenksville and can return to their South Florida dwelling on the finish of the month. His spouse, Vivienne, has struggled with most cancers and Participant has tried to benefit from their time collectively.

“I’ve been with my spouse for 70 years. Whew. It’s a powerful factor to dwell with,” he mentioned. “However we’ve all bought our cross to bear someplace.”

However whereas he’s in Pennsylvania, Participant has loved as many programs as he can within the space, even taking part in in a gaggle with Barkley earlier this month at Commonwealth Nationwide Golf Membership in Horsham.

Participant quipped he informed Barkley, “you had been my measurement whenever you had been 5.”

“Everyone was telling me what a foul golfer he was,” Participant mentioned. “He performed unbelievable.”

Participant additionally holds U.S Open champion Bryson DeChambeau in excessive regard, at the same time as his long-bomb method to the golf has been criticized by a few of his friends. DeChambeau swings for the fences and modifications in tools and athleticism have made it simpler to morph right into a long-drive specialist. Participant known as for modifications — notably from golf ball and tools producers — however refused to criticize DeChambeau for constructing his physique and swing into considered one of a champion.

“After I was speaking about weight coaching after I began in 1944, all of them mentioned I used to be mad, you possibly can’t play golf with weights,” Participant mentioned. “Thank goodness Tiger Woods got here alongside to boost it, and now Bryson DeChambeau has come alongside, one other degree.”


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