Golf News for Wednesday, March 12, 2014 | People

Gary Player joins with PHIT America as new celebrity ambassador

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- PHIT America - the non-profit education and advocacy organization designed to combat the nation's inactivity and obesity crisis - announces Gary Player, one of the greatest players in golf history, as a celebrity ambassador.

Winner of 165 tournaments, including nine Major Championships, Player achieved legendary status as one of only five golfers in history to claim a career Grand Slam winning the Masters Tournament (1961, 1974, 1978), U.S. Open (1965), The Open Championship (1959, 1968, 1974) and PGA Championship (1962, 1972). Additionally, Player is the only golfer in history to achieve the Grand Slam on the Senior Tour.

He credits his success on the course to the stringent exercise regimen maintained throughout his career.

"At age 78, I still complete a rigorous fitness routine, which includes 1,000 sit-ups daily," says Player. "My greatest ambition is to spread the message to the youth of the world that your body is a temple - you cannot do anything without health."

As a father of six and grandfather of 22, Player's desire to instill the importance of an active lifestyle, especially in children, aligns with the message of PHIT America. Participation in youth sports is a way to get fit while also building self-confidence and developing skills such as discipline and dedication to setting and achieving goals.

Player joins an all-star roster of celebrity ambassadors including NFL icon Herschel Walker and Golf Channel instructor Michael Breed. Each PHIT America ambassador is selected due to a common vision. The collective goal is to create "A Movement for a Fit and Healthy America" by educating men, women and children about the importance of an active lifestyle to improve overall health.

"Almost 30 percent of Americans are totally sedentary and this has increased the last five years," says Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America, former President of Wilson Sporting Goods and a 2011 inductee into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame. "Inactivity is the prime contributor to the escalating health care costs we all face and Gary Player is setting a great example of how we can all work to create a more fit country."

Since its January 2013 launch, more than 150 leading companies and associations from the sports, fitness, retail and media industries have contributed funds and services to support PHIT America.

The organization supports two pieces of legislation crucial to increasing the number of healthy Americans. When passed, the Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT) will allow people to use pre-tax medical accounts for physical activity expenses. The Physical Education Program (PEP) is a 14-year Federal grant from the Department of Education for schools to rebuild and revolutionize fitness programs.

Americans are encouraged to support PHIT America by visiting www.PHITAmerica.org to advocate, provide a donation or participate in health and wellness programs.

About PHIT America
Founded in January 2013, PHIT America is a non-profit educational, social media, and advocacy campaign focused on overcoming the inactivity pandemic and obesity crisis in America by creating a "Movement for a Fit & Healthy America." Over 150 companies along with sports ambassadors and celebrities are helping PHIT America to get more Americans more active, fit and healthier.

A few of the major PHIT America initiatives include passing key legislation. The Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT) will allow Americans will be able to use pre-tax medical accounts for physical activity expenses. The Physical Education Program (PEP) is a 14-year program supporting increased activity in local physical education programs throughout America. Both the PHIT Act and PEP Program will help mitigate rising healthcare costs by encouraging Americans to develop more active, healthy lifestyles.

PHIT America also just launched the Mayors Fitness Challenge a new, fun 10-week campaign in local cities around the U.S. designed to encourage active lifestyles through group exercise sessions, educational programs and community engagement.

For more information about PHIT America, visit www.PHITAmerica.org.

About Gary Player
Gary Player, often referred to as the Black Knight, symbolizes all that world class golf is or was ever intended to be. A champion in every sense of the word, he has won 165 professional tournaments worldwide and through the philanthropic efforts of his foundation generated over $50 million dollars for the education of underprivileged children. Player, a master of the game, and a world leader in golf course design is credited with shaping more than 325 courses worldwide.

When Gary Player won the US Open in 1965 at age 29, he became only the third golfer to win the Grand Slam, following Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen. Since then, only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have added their names to this elite group. Player has, to date, won nine major championships on the regular PGA Tour and nine on the Senior or Champions Tour. He is a three time President's Cup Captain and in 2000 received South Africa's Sportsman of the Century Award.

In addition to his 40 years of golf course design, Player currently serves as the Global Ambassador to the World Golf Hall of Fame and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from St. Andrews University. His legendary career and humanitarian endeavors have been acknowledged by numerous awards, including the 2012 PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2006 PGA Tour Payne Stewart Award, and the 2003 Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Player has circled the globe in pursuit of sporting events, and after journeying over 15 million miles, or 25 million kilometers, he is widely recognized as The World's Most Traveled Athlete™. When not traveling to or from sporting events, Player divides his time between the South African stud farm, where he has bred over 2000 winning thoroughbred race horses, and his residence on Jupiter Island in Hobe Sound, Florida.

For more information about Gary Player, visit www.garyplayer.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Glenn Gray
Buffalo Communications
540.718.1731
ggray@buffalocommunications.com