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Player to play at Open till 2001

PERTH, Australia, - South African golfing legend Gary Player, one of only four men to achieve the golden Grand Slam of winning all four major championships, has decided he will play on in the Open until 2001.

Player, 63, in Perth to play in a Seniors Challenge event which precedes this week's Heineken Classic, changed his mind over his farewell Open after realising the age-limit had been altered to allow 65 year-olds to compete.

The rule was modified to enable Arnold Palmer to continue taking part in the British major .

It will be poignant for Player to end his Open career in 2001 because the venue then will be Royal Lytham and St Anne's, scene of his third and last victory in that tournament in 1974.

"I had the year 2000 down for my last Open Championship but then I realised that under the exemption change which they brought in for Arnold, that I've got one more to go," said Player.

"I think I hold the record for successive Opens because I've been playing since 1955, and this will extend it by one more."

Another former Open champion, Lee Trevino, and Australian senior Graham Marsh, designer of the Vines course where the tournament is being played, are pitted against Player.

"I like the idea of the old ones getting together like this," added Player after being told the seniors event would boost the gallery at the Vines for the Heineken Classic.

"Perhaps we could have a curtain-raiser to the 2000 Open with all the past winners who are still alive, playing nine holes.

"That would be a great thing to celebrate the millenium."