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Player says 52nd Masters to be his last

SOUTH African Gary Player said this week's US Masters, his record 52nd appearance at the year's opening grand slam event, would be his last.

The 73-year-old, a three-time winner of the Green Jacket, said his 2009 tour of Augusta National Golf Club would mark his last appearance at a regular major championship.

"I am getting old," Player, winner of nine majors on the regular tour and nine more on the senior tour, told a news conference on Monday.

Player, whose 1961 triumph at Augusta marked the first Masters victory by an international player, said the course, now playing at 7,435 yards, was getting too long for him.

"I'm hitting the ball so short now, I can hear it land," he joked to reporters.

"And the hole seems about the size of a Bayer aspirin."

Player, who also won in Augusta in 1974 and 1978, has won each of the four majors for a career grand slam.

"This will be my last major I play on the regular tour," said Player, a short game master and fitness fanatic. I'm very grateful and thankful for the career I've had."

Player said he would enjoy every minute of this year's tournament, which starts tomorrow, and had no regrets about stepping away.

"I prefer ranching to golf," he said, referring to his farm back home in South Africa.


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