Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Golf: Gary Player makes Masters predictions

Former Masters winner Gary Player rates Jordan Spieth as the best putter in the field ahead of next week's Masters. Photo / Getty Images
Former Masters winner Gary Player rates Jordan Spieth as the best putter in the field ahead of next week's Masters. Photo / Getty Images

Former Masters winner Gary Player raves about Jason Day's swing and thinks his game is tailored to victory next week around the famed Augusta course.

He also predicts that defending champion Jordan Spieth will give the tournament a shake because he is the best putter in the field.

"They have a saying beware of the best putter. You see I think there is a tremendous amount of over-emphasis on length, " Player told Laureus.com.

Augusta was longer and tougher than St Andrews and Spieth showed last year how he could handle conditions on both famous courses. He had a great chance to defend his Masters' title.

"If I was Jordan Spieth, I'd let it all go through one ear and out the other ear," Player said about doubters of the 22-year-old's ability.

"He's the best putter. If you said to me, would I like to be the best driver of a golf ball or the best putter; or if you said to me, would I like to be the greatest striker of a ball from tee to green; or would I like to be the best putter, I'd take the best putter every day."

Player said he had long admired Day's total game and Rory McIlroy's swing while Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson were playing great golf and he was pleased Adam Scott was using the short putter well.

The five times major winner did not like the way designers kept bumping up the length in courses which required more water which was a dwindling resource.

He suggested the game's officials tell manufacturers to slow the ball down for professional rather than amateur golf.

"The longer and more difficult you make the golf course, the longer it takes to play and the more expensive it becomes to play and people are not enjoying that," Player said. "It's really affected golf a lot."

He predicted a bright future for Kevin Kisner who had lost three sudden-death playoffs but was uncertain about Tiger Woods' future because of his health issues.

"We must never forget, there's nothing that compares in golf, ever, compared to what Tiger Woods did, winning the Grand Slam at 24. That's the greatest effort ever produced in golf."

Player is an advocate for golf at the Olympics and will captain South Africa this year.

- NZ Herald

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