Gary Player: “Golf Needs Tiger Woods and a black champion”

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Tiger Woods is in uncharted waters. The 14-time major winner is now ranked 258th in the official world golf rankings after missing the cut at The Open Championship last week.

As Tiger continues to plummet further into irrelevancy, one of the game’s greats is hoping the 39-year-old can get back to his old self.

That man is South African legend Gary Player, who offered up a pretty interesting reason why the game needs Woods to return to form.

We need Tiger Woods. Why? He’s a man of color. We need a black champion,” Player told Omnisport, a Europe-based sports news service, this week at the Berenberg Gary Player Invitational in Virginia Water, England. “Go to Africa, where we’ve got all these young black kids used to seeing a white guy as the champion. Now they’re getting inspired; they’re sitting in front of their TV sets. It inspires them; it gets them interested in golf.”

“Asia wants to see a man of color. So there are many reasons besides being so charismatic. I don’t know if anybody in the world today can play like Tiger Woods did.”

Gary Player talks Tiger Woods prior to 2014 Open Championship

These are pretty interesting comments by the nine-time major champion, who called it “sad” to see Woods’ struggles. He also does’t think Woods is doing himself any favors by constantly changing his swing coaches.

“He won the U.S. Open by 15 shots and was having a lesson the next week,” Player told Omnisport. “He’s had lessons from four people or five people who really are not that good at playing.”

“You’ve got to go for a lesson with someone who has been in the arena. If I want to know about business, I’ll go to a businessman, I’ll come to you for good interviews; everyone has got their skills.”

What do you make of Player’s comments? Surely, there’s no denying Woods is one of the most recognizable athletes in the entire world. But does it make much a difference what color his skin is? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think about what Player had to say.