Wife of HOF golfer Gary Player dies after battle with pancreatic cancer

Vivienne Player, the wife of Hall of Fame golfer Gary Player, died Wednesday after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

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Gary Player, 85, announced the death of his wife on social media. Gary Player and Vivienne Verwey Player were married for 64 years and had six children, 22 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, Golfweek reported.

“The unthinkable has happened. My wife of 64 years, my childhood sweetheart, my rock, and my soulmate Vivienne has lost her battle with pancreatic cancer,” Gary Player wrote on Twitter. “I cannot describe the deep sense of sadness I feel at having lost the one person who has always meant the world to me.

“Vivienne taught me the value of love, faith and trust. She taught our children those same values, and they were blessed to have a mother who lived those values every single day. When we first met, I had no doubt it was love at first sight and it turned out to be a love story of a lifetime. I believe it will also be so when we are finally together again. Until then, I will miss my Viv dearly.”

The Players were childhood sweethearts and were married on Jan. 19, 1957, Golf Digest reported.

Vivienne Player was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June 2020, according to the Golf Channel. She was the sister of golf professional Bobby Verwey, who won several tournaments, including the 1991 Senior British Open, according to Golf Digest.

Gary Player is one of professional golf’s greats, with 24 PGA Tour victories and nine major championships. He has 118 international professional victories and won 22 times on the Senior Tour.

“She is the best wife that any man could ever wish for,” Gary Player told Tennis World in 2020 after his wife’s diagnosis. “You know, no other woman would have stayed with me. I spent more time on airplanes than anyone in this planet. And she stayed home with the kids.”

Vivienne Player also played golf and once recorded two holes-in-one in one round in Johannesburg, according to Golfweek.