The morning after the Open Championship, a bleary-eyed Rickie Fowler walked up to the patio outside the Ryder Cup Room at Wentworth Golf Club, sipping on a cup of coffee. Fowler, who had just finished runner-up at Hoylake about 12 hours earlier, greeted Gary Player, the tournament host, and completed with his media gauntlet with ease.
A little later, the players participating in the Berenberg Gary Player Invitational media roundtable started to take their seats. Fowler took a seat next to Colin Montgomerie, who was coming off back-to-back wins at the senior majors. Monty congratulated the young Fowler for his performance at the Open, along with the season’s previous majors, where Fowler had also finished T2 and 5th.
Fowler was pleased. “I locked up my spot on the Ryder Cup team,” the 25-year-old American told Montgomerie, who captained the victorious 2010 European team.
“It’s so much more satisfying to make the team on points than to get picked.”
Fowler, a PGA Tour rookie in 2010, was one of American captain Corey Pavin’s wildcard picks that year. Monty concurred.
Mr. Player, the man of the hour, took the seat in the middle, to the right of Fowler. Dr. Hans-Walter Peters sat next to Mr. Player. Reigning U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer occupied the next seat over and Fred Couples took the remaining chair.
Yours truly sat at the head of the table next to Monty, where I proceeded to host/moderate the roundtable, kicking it off with introductions and opening questions for each of the participants.
Here are snippets from the discussion. I particularly enjoyed Kaymer’s answer that was prompted when I brought up the successful summer of sport Germany was enjoying (it’s toward the end of the video below).
Afterward, the group of pros and guests gathered for a skills clinic led by Mr. Player, who was always entertaining. My favorite line was when he was talking about putting and he said, “When you miss, you feel like a Joe! …But when you miss, you feel like a Jane.”
There was a gala dinner in the evening after the golfing festivities, where arriving pros and celebs reflected on the day that benefited charity…
The highlight of the evening was when Lee Westwood was put on the spot to sing with one of the entertainers. I have to say Westy did a very good job crooning to “Me and Mrs. Jones.”
As former boy-band star Ronan Keating later pointed out, having the golfers sing is basically how they (the celebs) feel when they’re on the first tee with the pros.
Here’s the full press release of the event:
The 2014 Berenberg Gary Player Invitational concluded yet another successful event which saw some of the biggest names in golf, entertainment and business join together with golf icon and Grand Slam champion Gary Player to help raise over $100,000 for underprivileged children at London’s historic Wentworth Club on Monday, 21 July.
The charitable funds, exceeding $100,000, were quickly raised by auctioneer Mr. Jonny Gould on only four bespoke items as professional golfers and participants alike joined in the fun and giving during the gala auction.
Following the evening’s gala, Player together with The Player Foundation and presenting sponsor Berenberg, were able to donate the sizable contribution to this year’s event beneficiary, Depaul UK, in order to aid young people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged.
“I continue to be astounded and humbled by the funds we are able to raise for children’s charities,” said tournament host Gary Player. “Our global series of events is fast approaching $60 million raised for charity worldwide, but together with Berenberg we have certainly raised the bar in what we are able to accomplish.”
The second leg of the global series, was won by the team of Australian professional Marc Leishman and Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald, along with businessmen Nicklas Backstrom and Stephen Irvine.
The star-studded field gathered for charity saw the likes of professional golfers Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler, Branden Grace, Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Jason Day, Fred Couples, Jason Dufner, David Howell, Bernd Wiesberger, Darren Clarke, Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Woosnam. Participating ladies professionals included Suzann Pettersen, Charley Hull, Carly Booth, Melissa Reid, Henni Zuel, Amy Boulden, Whitney Hillier, Diana Luna and Maria Balikoeva. Additionally, celebrities involved were Ronan Keating, Dougray Scott, Heikki Kovalainen, Jonathan Joseph, Zoe Hardman and Mike Tindall.
“We are proud to call Gary Player our Brand Ambassador, as he is truly a great Ambassador for the game of golf,” said Dr. Hans-Walter Peters, Managing Partner of Berenberg. “This must be measured not just in terms of his career achievements as a Grand Slam Champion, but also in driving such outstanding philanthropic initiatives as the Gary Player Invitational series. The event’s great virtues and its ability to give so much back to charity is one of the many reasons we have chosen this sponsorship as an important business platform for years to come.”
“This was yet another banner event in our Gary Player Invitational series and we are extremely grateful to those who have supported our events over the years,” said Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO. “The all-star cast of golf professionals and celebrities as well as the prominent businessmen contributed significantly to the success of the event over the past two days to truly celebrate a union of golf and giving.”
The Berenberg Gary Player Invitational is part of the world-leading Gary Player Invitational charity golf event series, which has raised in excess of $50 million for charities worldwide. The next stop for the Gary Player Invitational will take the Grand Slam champion to Shanghai on November 3-4 before the series concludes in South Africa on November 20-23.