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Golf legend Gary Player is suing his son and grandson over a memorabilia dispute with “great” reluctance

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Legendary golfer Gary Player He is suing his son and grandson over memorabilia, including trophies and clubs, and says the duo sold or attempted to sell despite an agreement to return items to the Major nine times Championship winner.

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Blair, a part-time Jupiter Island resident, filed a legal complaint in May in Palm Beach County against his son, Mark Blair, followed by a lawsuit in November against Mark’s son, Damien Blair.

Gary Player’s attorney, Stewart Singer, said the lawsuit was filed “reluctantly” after a years-long dispute between Gary Player and Mark Player over the 87-year-old’s holdings after he ended a working relationship with his son in 2019.

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Gary Player standing in 2003 with his Grand Slam trophies at the Gary Player Group offices.  From left, the US Open, The Open Championship, The Masters Championship and the PGA Championship.  Staff photo by Jennifer Bodis.

Gary Player standing in 2003 with his Grand Slam trophies at the Gary Player Group offices. From left, the US Open, The Open Championship, The Masters Championship and the PGA Championship. Staff photo by Jennifer Bodis.

Damian Player is named in a separate suit because he allegedly solicited buyers for memorabilia kept in 19 lockers at a storage facility in South Carolina, and allegedly sold or helped sell several Rolex watches to a person in Florida “for large sums of money.”

Already sold at 2021 auctions against Gary Player’s wishes, the 1974 Masters Tournament Trophy was for $523,483, the South African Open Cup for $48,841, the 1965 US Open Irons for $17,947, and the Masters’ 52 golf shoes for $1,171, according to court filings.

“Only with the greatest reluctance and after many years of trying to avoid it did Gary have to enforce his rights in this way,” Singer said.

The suit also alleges that Mark Player failed to transfer his social media accounts and web domain name GaryPlayer.com to his father.

Attorney Darren Hytner, whose law firm Mark Player is represented, said the lawsuit was still in its “beginning,” but in a response filed in court he claimed the settlement agreement reached in 2021 is not valid because the rights to the property are held by a trust. It was not kept by Damien Blair, Hytner said, and could not be reached for comment.

April 7, 2022;  Augusta, Georgia, USA;  Honorary Freshman Gary Player runs at no.  1 during the first round of The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.  Mandatory credit: Adam Cairns-Augusta Chronicle / USA TODAY SportsApril 7, 2022;  Augusta, Georgia, USA;  Honorary Freshman Gary Player runs at no.  1 during the first round of The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.  Mandatory credit: Adam Cairns-Augusta Chronicle / USA TODAY Sports

April 7, 2022; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Honorary Freshman Gary Player runs at no. 1 during the first round of The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory credit: Adam Cairns-Augusta Chronicle / USA TODAY Sports

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South African-born Gary Player is considered one of the greatest golfers of all time, having won nine majors on the Regular Tour and nine majors on the Champions Tour. He won the Masters tournament in 1961, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.

“It still shoots on par at 87,” Singer said.

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The player has six children and was married to his wife Vivian for more than 60 years before she died of cancer in August 2021.

Earlier that year on January 7, a player was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Donald Trump.

Mark Player worked with his father for almost two decades as a manager. Over the years, Gary Player has assigned the rights to certain trademarks, likenesses, logos, and images to entities headed by his son. But in 2019, Gary Player said he revoked the rights after filing a claim that he owed $5 million on Mark Player, according to Singer.

In August, a statement was posted on Gary Player’s Twitter account saying that trophies and other memorabilia had been put up for auction by Mark without his permission.

“These things belong to me and I have taken measures to get them back,” the post said.

In a response posted to Mark Blair’s Twitter account, Heitner said the allegations against Mark were “frivolous” and “baseless”. He said some memorabilia were given to him by his parents, Mark Blair, and they remained in his possession for decades.

“You cannot take back what no longer belongs to you,” Hettner wrote.

The statement also mentions the 2002 collection of 300 memorabilia sold to South African billionaire Johann Robert by Christie’s in London.

a 2003 Palm Beach Post article Gary Player’s ad says he will be selling memorabilia through distraught golf fans of Christie’s and some of his close friends and family members.

People have speculated about the reason for the sale but Blair said he was doing it to raise money for his Blair Atholl School for 450 poor children on his land in South Africa, to create a trust fund for his family and to avoid any fighting between his children over things after his death.

“I don’t want to see this divided among my children,” Blair said in a 2003 essay. “I would turn my grave if I died and this one wanted the US Open and this one wanted the British Open. I’ve seen so many people in my career that when they died, it was the tragedy of the way the family fought over all they had left.”

In August, an auction site was offering for sale a 1959 Gary Player Black Knight Putter, a 1968 Carreras Piccadilly World Match Play Cup, and Gary Player golf clubs used to win the 1965 U.S. Open and the 1988 Belgian Classic Cup, according to one. of lawsuits.

On December 8, Circuit Court Judge Gregory Keyser issued a temporary injunction against Mark Player and anyone working with him from the sale of Gary Player items that were in their possession at the time of the 2021 Settlement Agreement. It also ordered funds acquired by selling past items such as the 1974 Masters Tournament Cup. , to be put into a box, and temporarily ban Mark Blair from using his father’s likeness or name on his social media accounts.

Kimberly Miller Veteran journalist for The Palm Beach Post, part of the USA Today Network in Florida. She covers real estate and how growth affects the environment of South Florida. If you have news tips, please send them to [email protected] Help support our local journalism, sign up today.

This article originally appeared on the Palm Beach Post: PGA golf legend Gary Player wants to stop selling memorabilia

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