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Golf Legend Gary Player Suing Son, Grandson over Memorabilia Dispute

Adam WellsDecember 23, 2022

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 16: Gary Player of South Africa  plays his second shot on the 18th hole during the Friday pro-am as a preview for the 2022 PNC Championship at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club on December 16, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

Golf legend Gary Player has accused his son and grandson of selling or attempting to sell his memorabilia.

Per Kimberly Miller of the Palm Beach Post, Player filed a complaint against his son Marc Player in May. He followed that up by filing a lawsuit in November against Damian Player, Marc's son.

Among the items sold at auction last year against Gary's wishes were the trophy he received for winning the Masters in 1974, one of his South African Open trophies, the irons he used during the 1965 U.S. Open and the shoes he wore during his 52nd and final Masters appearance in 2009.

Attorney Stuart Singer said his client reluctantly filed the lawsuits after a yearslong dispute between Gary and Marc about the golf icon's collectibles after their business relationship dissolved in 2019.

"Only with the greatest reluctance and after many years of trying to avoid this did Gary have to enforce his rights in this way," Singer said.

According to Miller, Damian was named in a separate lawsuit "because it's alleged that he solicited buyers for memorabilia held in 19 lockers at a South Carolina storage facility, and allegedly sold or helped sell multiple Rolex watches to someone in Florida 'for significant sums of money.'"

In 2020, Gary received $5 million and secured the rights to his name and likeness back from a company that was operated by Marc as part of a settlement agreement.

Darren Heitner, an attorney at the law firm representing Marc, told Miller the settlement is invalid because the property rights are owned by a trust instead of Gary.

Gary Player officially retired from tournament golf in 2009. He won 160 tournaments during his 56-year career, including 24 on the PGA Tour. The 87-year-old is one of six players in PGA Tour history to win the career Grand Slam and is tied for fourth all-time with nine major wins.