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South African golfer Gary Player celebrated his 75th birthday in Shanghai, China on Monday. He spent it with Aids orphans while reflecting on the single biggest lesson that his life as one of the world's greatest sportsmen has taught him.
When Gary Player tees off at the US Masters at Augusta on Thursday, he will be playing in the major for a record-equalling 50th time.
The 2005 BMW and Golf Digest awards, recognising the country's top 10 golf courses, as well as the year's top performers both on the course and in the industry, show South African golf in a very healthy state going into 2006.
Gary Player was on a roll back in 1965. Besides a string of victories around the world, he'd just won the US Open to complete golf's Grand Slam of majors. In the 1965 Natal Open, however, he played second fiddle to a self-taught golfer who had spent more time on the course as a caddie than as a player - and who held his club completely the "wrong" way.
South Africa has the weather, the courses ... and the players. The country has produced some of the best in the game, including multiple major winners Bobby Locke, Gary Player, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, and a host of others that regularly challenge for big titles around the world.
When President Thabo Mbeki handed out the newly conceived Order of Ikhamanga - South Africa's highest honour for achievement in the creative and performing arts and sport - in Pretoria last week, 11 South African sportsmen and women were honoured for a range of achievements under a variety of circumstances.
Gary Player, one of the greatest golfers of all time and one of only five professionals to have won golf's grand slam of all four major championships, was presented with the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award at the fourth annual Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony in Monaco.
Voted South Africa's sportsman of the twentieth century, Gary Player is one of only five people to have won golf's Grand Slam, has 163 international tournament victories to his name - 63 more than the great Jack Nicklaus - and is thought to have travelled further for sport than any athlete in history.