Will We Ever See A Greater Golf Name Than Gary Player?

The Masters has officially kicked off tournament season and, as such, I’ve got golf on the brain. So, when I woke up this morning, I had the realization that the world may never be graced with a better named golfer than Gary Player.

In fact, we may never come close.

Consider the name. First we have Gary, perfectly bland. A name with no frills for a game with no frills. Golf isn’t a flashy game; it’s a game that emphasizes fundamentals. Gary is a name that screams fundamentals, but with so much more nuance and class than a “Bob” or a “Dan.”

The grace. The form. The fundamentals.

Second, we examine the surname: Player. What is one who plays golf but a player? Sure a ‘golfer’ is one who golfs, but where in that exacting and limiting term do we find any of the beauty of the game itself? Nowhere. But in the name Player, we understand limitless possibility. I daresay that saying when one plays golf, a certain respect is conveyed.

And now we take them together: Gary Player. Ga-ry Play-er. Four lovely syllables balanced perfectly between two words. Wonderful symmetry that mirrors the balance of the front and back nine. A phonic yin and yang.

Gary Player. Soft yet reverent clapping can almost be heard in the space around the sound.

Finally, let us entertain the possibility of a better golf name. What would it look like? How does can one improve upon perfection? Peter Swing? Too swift. Rob Eagle? Too avian. Chip Shotte? Too punny.

What are these other garbage names?

No, it can only be Gary Player. Alone atop the mountain of golf names. A paragon of naming synergy.


Well, on second thought, if there were a golfer who had a name that combined the ferocity of competition with something that tapped into the spirit of the natural beauty of a golf course. Like Puma Fields… or Cougar Meadows…

Honestly, any combination of a big cat and area of land with natural vegetation would do the trick.

Of course, there’s no name like that in golf. Ah, but a boy can dream can’t he?