‘When Mr Player calls you, you can’t say no’

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These words were drummed into Michael Campbell by his grandmother when his was a small boy and he has taken them to heart and that is why the 2005 US Open champion is at the Lost City this weekend.

He may have retired from professional golf three years ago to spend more time with his two kids (aged 18 and 16) but when Gary Player asked him to be part of the Gary Player Invitational he couldn't turn down the offer to give something back after golf had given him so much.

While it may be his first foray into this worldwide event it's not the first time he has used golf to help.

"I have two golf academies in Spain where I get to pass on my knowledge," the 47-year-old said.

"We don't simply teach golf, we show them how to live. It's a holistic approach, we help with time management, course management and their health, as well as getting them to swing a golf club.

"So even though I'm retired I'm still involved and giving back," the New Zealander added.

His decision to retire is one of the best choices he has made he said.

"I was on tour for 22 years so I missed a lot of my kids growing up, I was an absentee father to be honest, and now I get to spend time with my kids and that's great.

"I finally learned to cook at the age of 45," he laughed. "Jamie Oliver is my hero.

"The only apps I have on my phone are cooking apps."

For the next three days he will have to put the pots and pans away as he tries to help Player reach his 2025 goal of $100-million (they current have $64m) for underprivileged kids.

"Gary is exactly what a an ambassador should be, he's always got time for anyone and just wants to give back and I'm humbled to be a part of that and delighted to have been invited."

Former Springbok captain John Smit agrees: "When Mr Player calls you, you can't say no, he's like Madiba that way."

Joining Campbell, Smit and Player in the event are former Manchester United striker Andy Cole, former Chiefs star Jimmy Tau, Olympic great Roland Schoeman, Irish singer Brian McFadden, World cup winner Butch James, and golfers Darren Clarke, Hayden Porteous, Paula Reto and Celine Herbin.

Independent Media

Original source: ‘When Mr Player calls you, you can't say no’

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