But if others smarted, Player could understandably enjoy his role as superbee. All year long Gary Player has been, if you will excuse the phrase, a little pain in the neck to U.S. golfers. He would spend weeks muddling around his Johannesburg, South Africa home saying how much he liked it there and how he wanted to be a farmer and how he hated to leave Vivienne and his five kids to go off and play golf somewhere. Finally he would lift a last few weights and down a last bowl of health mush and come to the U.S., where he would win things like the U.S. Open and the U.S. World Series of Golf and most likely the U.S. George Washington Bridge, if somebody would just put it up as a prize. All told, playing in only 13 U.S. tournaments and two quasi tournaments, he won $140,000.
Now he had teamed up with Henning to make off with the Canada Cup—a unique prize of international golf, one founded by U.S. enthusiasts and won by U.S. golfers the last five times in a row. In addition, he had taken the individual trophy, which people like Nicklaus and Hogan and Snead had called their own. And he did it in spite of having his own pain in the neck.
If the one-thousand-dollar prize money for the low individual score plus his half share of the $2,000 team money was hardly enough to cause a ripple in his bankroll, Player was still much elated over the victory. After the ceremonies were over he said, "Believe me, it is something to sit there and realize you have helped to raise your country's flag and to hear your national anthem played. It puts goose bumps right here.
"There's another thing, too, about a tournament like this," Gary went on, moved by all the pomp. "It brings golf to so many countries that never had much feeling for it. You sense that you have done something for your game. Just think what these matches did for golf in France in 1963, and then look at all the people who were out here. You just watch if golf doesn't start booming in Spain." Why not? It has obviously boomed in South Africa.