Golf legend Gary Player sues son and grandson with ‘great’ reluctance over memorabilia dispute

Legendary golfer Gary Player is suing his son and grandson over memorabilia, including trophies and clubs.

Player, a part-time resident of Jupiter Island, filed a lawsuit against his son Marc Player in Palm Beach County in May, followed by a lawsuit in November against Marc’s son, Damian Player.

The lawsuits were filed “reluctantly” following a years-long dispute between Gary Player and Marc Player over the 87-year-old’s collectibles after he ended a business relationship with his son in 2019, Gary Player’s attorney Stuart Singer said.

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Gary Player poses with his Grand Slam trophies in the offices of The Gary Player Group in 2003.  From left to right: The US Open Championship, The Open Championship, The Masters and The PGA Championship.  Staff photo by Jennifer Podis.

Gary Player poses with his Grand Slam trophies in the offices of The Gary Player Group in 2003. From left to right: The US Open Championship, The Open Championship, The Masters and The PGA Championship. Staff photo by Jennifer Podis.

Damian Player was named in a separate lawsuit for allegedly soliciting buyers for memorabilia held in 19 lockers in a storage facility in South Carolina, and allegedly selling or helping sell multiple Rolex watches to someone in Florida “for significant sums money”.

Already sold in 2021 auctions against Gary Player’s wishes: his 1974 Master’s Tournament Trophy for $523,483, his South African Open Trophy for $48,841, his 1965 US Open irons for $17,947 and his 52nd Masters’ golf shoes for $ 1,171, according to court documents.

“It was only with the greatest reluctance and after many years of trying to avoid this that Gary had to enforce his rights in this way,” Singer said.

The lawsuit also alleges that Marc Player failed to transfer social media accounts and the web domain name GaryPlayer.com to his father.

Attorney Darren Heitner, whose law firm represents Marc Player, said the lawsuit is still in its infancy, but in a response filed with the court, he claimed the settlement agreement reached in 2021 is invalid because the property rights are owned by a trust. Heitner said he has not been detained by Damian Player, who could not be reached for comment.

April 7, 2022;  Augusta, Georgia, USA;  Honorary starter Gary Player tees off from No. 1 during the first round of The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.  Mandatory credit: Adam Cairns-Augusta Chronicle/USA TODAY Sports

April 7, 2022; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Honorary starter Gary Player tees off from No. 1 during the first round of The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory credit: Adam Cairns-Augusta Chronicle/USA TODAY Sports

Born in South Africa, Gary Player is regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time, having won nine major championships on the regular tour and nine major championships on the Champions Tour. He won the 1961 Masters and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.

“He’s still shooting par golf at 87,” Singer said.

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Player has six children and was married to his wife Vivienne for over 60 years before she passed away from cancer in August 2021.

Earlier that year, on January 7, Player received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Donald Trump.

Marc Player worked with his father as a manager for almost two decades. Over the years, Gary Player has transferred the rights to some trademarks, likenesses, logos and images to entities headed by his son. But in 2019, Gary Player said he was withdrawing the rights after a claim was made that Marc Player owed him $5 million, Singer said.

In August, a statement was posted on Gary Player’s Twitter account saying that trophies and other memorabilia had been put up for auction by Marc without his permission.

“These items are mine and I have taken action to get them back,” the post read.

Commenting on Marc Player’s Twitter account, Heitner called the allegations against Marc “petty” and “baseless.” He said some of the memorabilia was given to Marc Player by his parents and remained in his possession for decades.

“You cannot take back what is no longer yours,” Heitner wrote.

The statement also mentions a 2002 collection of 300 memorabilia sold by London-based auction house Christie’s to South African billionaire Johann Rupert.

A 2003 Palm Beach Post article features an announcement by Gary Player that he was going to sell memorabilia through Christie’s bewildered golf fans and some of his closest friends and relatives.

There was speculation about the reason for the sale, but Player said he did it to raise money for his Blair Atholl School for 450 underprivileged children on his South African estate, to set up a trust fund for his family and to prevent fights between his children. about the things after his death.

“I don’t want to see this divided among my children,” Player said in the 2003 article. “I’d be spinning in my grave if I died and this one wanted the US Open and this one wanted the British Open. I have a lot of people in seen my career that when they died it was a tragedy as the family bickered.” about what was left for them.”

In August, an auction site listed a 1959 Gary Player Black Knight Putter for sale, the 1968 Carreras Piccadilly World Match Play Golf trophy, Gary Player golf clubs used to win the US Open in 1965 and the Belgian Classic Crystal Trophy in 1988, according to a of the lawsuits.

On December 8, Circuit Court Judge Gregory Keyser issued a temporary injunction against Marc Player and anyone associated with him from selling Gary Player items in their possession at the time of the 2021 settlement agreement. It also ordered that money had been earned from the sale of previous items, such as the 1974 Masters Tournament Trophy, was put into a trust, and it temporarily banned Marc Player from using his father’s image or name on social media accounts.

Singer has asked to consolidate the cases against Marc Player and Damian Player.

“I am hopeful that this will serve to resolve these issues,” Singer said of the temporary injunction. “It’s one thing to violate a settlement agreement, but quite another to violate a court order.”

“I’m hopeful that this will serve to solve these problems,” Singer said. “It’s one thing to violate a settlement agreement, but quite another to violate a court order.”

Kimberly Miller is a veteran reporter for The Palm Beach Post, part of the USA Today Network of Florida. She covers real estate and how growth affects the South Florida environment. If you have news tips, send them to kmiller@pbpost.com. Help support our local journalism, register today.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: PGA golf legend Gary Player wants to end memorabilia sales

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