Player hopes Tiger regains greatness as golf needs ‘black champion’

Hall of Famer Gary Player is hoping Tiger Woods can recapture his greatness because golf needs a “black champion.”

The 79-year-old South African, winner of nine majors, said it is “sad” to see Woods’ decline and the sport could use the 39-year-old American back at the top to spread the game globally.

Woods, winner of 14 major titles, has dropped to 258th in the official world golf ranking on the heels of another missed cut, this time at the Open Championship at St. Andrews last week.

“We need Tiger Woods. Why? He’s a man of color. We need a black champion,” Player told Omnisport, a Europe-based sports news service, this week at the Berenberg Gary Player Invitational in Virginia Water, England. “Go to Africa, where we’ve got all these young black kids used to seeing a white guy as the champion. Now they’re getting inspired; they’re sitting in front of their TV sets. It inspires them; it gets them interested in golf.

“Asia wants to see a man of color. So there are many reasons besides being so charismatic. I don’t know if anybody in the world today can play like Tiger Woods did.”

Woods has not won a major championship since 2008 in his chase of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.

Player has criticized Woods’ decision to change his swing before, and he reiterated that point, saying the former world No. 1 could benefit from some instruction by someone who once played at a top level.

“He won the U.S. Open by 15 shots and was having a lesson the next week,” Player told Omnisport. “He’s had lessons from four people or five people who really are not that good at playing.

“You’ve got to go for a lesson with someone who has been in the arena. If I want to know about business, I’ll go to a businessman, I’ll come to you for good interviews; everyone has got their skills. But Tiger Woods, he needs it overall — mentally, physically and theoretically — so he can get back to normality.”

Source: MSN Sports

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