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Gary Player goes on environmental rant during Payne’s Valley Cup broadcast (video)

Gary Player can claim a lot of titles that he’s earned over his 85 years of life. He’s a husband, a father and a grandfather. A PGA Tour winner, a major champion and a World Golf Hall of Famer. You can now add tree hugger to that list of titles, too.

Player went on an impassioned rant during the Payne’s Valley Cup broadcast on Golf Channel yesterday, bouncing from his frequent travels from South Africa to America during his playing days (“If I lived here, I really believe I would’ve won more majors”) into an environmentally-conscious plea to all golf course architects out there.

“For me it’s very important, having been a farmer and having raised a lot of different crops, etcetera. We’ve got to watch water, we’re running out of water,” Player said. “I am a tree hugger. And I’m seeing trees on golf courses today that were 80 years old and they’re slicing them down by some city slicker, they should be fined for doing this.”

Player continued to note that “all the great golf courses of the world,” such as Augusta National, Pine Valley and Royal Melbourne, are all tree-lined. He said it’s important to conserve these trees instead of chopping them down in an effort to build more visually appealing courses.

“We worry about the Amazon cutting down all the trees, and we’re doing and we’re contributing to the same effect,” he said. “For goodness sakes, stop cutting them down and plant more!”

You can watch the entire monologue below.

Player sends quite the message with his words, but they fit with the environmentalist ethos he’s embodied during his life. In 2011, his design firm helped spearhead a movement that promotes environmentally-conscious course design, called the Golf Environmental Organization Legacy Project.

“As golf course designers and builders, we have a responsibility to create projects that are gifts to nature,” Player said at the time. “Environmental concerns must be identified and addressed in the design phase, well before any construction begins, and we must never forget to respect the land and its natural beauty and bio-diversity.”

It appears that passion hasn’t faded in the time since, with the 85-year-old using his limited airtime during the broadcast to push for a cause he holds dear.

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