So, I sat down with Gary Player, "The Black Knight," in New Orleans at Advanced Sensor Technologies' reception at the House of Blues. I had a rum and Coke, BK had a cranberry juice.
I had a chance to catch Gary Player at the Masters two years ago. He was right there, under the big tree, talking with some fans (pictured). Some of you may think that I pounce every time I see a celebrity or Tour pro, but I do have some restraint. It seemed like a nice moment for some young fans, and I didn't want to interfere. I hung back. And then, =poof= Gary Player was gone. I told myself I'd get another chance, someday, to talk with him. I hoped I was right.
Then I got the press release from Advanced Sensor Technologies regarding their unveiling of UgMo,a wireless rootzone monitoring system. Player would be in attendance. All I needed now was some good luck.
I was the first person to get to the reception at the House of Blues. I grabbed a drink and hung out. Shortly after my arrival? Gary Player and his entourage walked through the door. Turns out, good things come to those who wait.
It wasn't much later that I found myself sitting down with Gary Player, winner of nine majors and the career Grand Slam. What ensued was a 22-minute interview. For the next few weeks, I'll be sprinkling some highlights of this interview on the GCM blog.
A little background before I get into Player's first soundbite: Player is an ardent conservationist. His brother, Dr. Ian Player, is a world-renowned conservationist, so the topic of water conservation really hits home with Player.
Thanks to AST for enabling me to get this interview.
GCM: Can you talk a little about how important water conservation is to you?
Gary Player: It’s the most crucial thing that we face in the world today. And it’s a tragedy that this great country, and I put emphasis on the word great, isnot teaching children in school (about water conservation). Because these are the peoplewho are going to be paying $50 and $60 for a bottle of water!
We can do without oil. We cannot live without water. A barrel of oil costs less than a barrel of water. And we’re running out of water. The world right now… and without sounding like a lecturer, but being a realist -- the world, in 15 yearstime, the world will be short of 20 percent of the world’s water. Fifteen years!
I was just in California, those golf courses, a lot of them are drying up. They haven’t got water. Their wells are drying down, the water’s coming from Colorado, the population is expanding, the water is coming from another part of California, down the rivers, that water is being absorbed, water is being poured into the sea, the sewage water, we’re ruining the damn marine life, instead of using all that water possible for golf courses!I’m at a golf course, Del Mar, and I speak to Bruce Williams, the superintendent -- very intelligent guy -- and the water’s come right down to the golf course at a certain place in this town, the rest are all using drinking water to water their gardens. You got eucalyptus trees in California, by the millions. They’re going to cut every one out, tomorrow! They’ve got to cut them down, they take 100, 150 gallons of water a day.
And yet, we’re not doing these things, we’re not telling our children the seriousness of things. And then, of course, you have all of these superintendents, who most of them are highly intelligent guys, and are aware of this and they’re all obviously trying to get on effluent water. It’s all very well, but you’ve got to keep your course in good condition.
More from Gary Player soon!