Golf legend Gary Player says he loves Indian women as he's 'so used to seeing ladies with damn dresses up their bum'

Gary Player, a nine-time major winner, has courted controversy at the Masters this year

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At the ceremonial start of the 86th tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in the US, Player raised eyebrows with his remarks about Indian women.

Referring to a recent trip he made to the country, he said: “I was really charmed.

“I love India, the intelligence, the technology, the manners, so humble.

“The women dress so nicely. I'm so used to seeing women with damn dresses up their bum, and you don't see anything like that in India.”

It came as Player courted controversy by wearing a Saudi-branded top.

Gary Player (right) joined golf legends Tom Watson (far left) and Jack Nicklaus (centre-left)
Gary Player (right) joined golf legends Tom Watson (far left) and Jack Nicklaus (centre-left)
Gary Player at the Masters
Gary Player at the Masters

The 86-year-old South African revealed he had spoken to Phil Mickelson and told him to keep his “head up high” as he sits out this year’s tournament after making provocative comments concerning the Saudi Super Golf League.

On the criticism faced by Mickelson, Player said: “I think it’s pitiful.

“It's amazing. From the epitome of perfection, he's down there being crucified. It's not right.

“The greatest PR man on the golf tour in the last five or X amount of years has been Phil Mickelson.

“He has been the ideal man for a sponsor, for professional golf, for the public, the way he's handled the public, with dignity and with love. And he said he's sorry.

“I’ve told him: ‘Hold your head up high. You've made a mistake. Everybody makes a mistake. He should go on with his life.’”

Player, 86, is an official ambassador for Golf Saudi who are linked with the rebel circuit.

The row comes a year after Player’s son Wayne was banned by Augusta National for using the drive off the first tee for “ambush marketing”.

The bodies who run the majors have not publicly denounced the SGL, but they are known to be firmly on the side of the traditional tours.

This week the Saudis have rented a house nearby Augusta National, where they have been entertaining players, agents as well as potential sponsors.

It is unknown if Player has attended any of the functions.

Members of the Saudi delegation have been seen on the grounds, but only with general tickets and not official accreditations.