Player's quest is 50 straight British Opens

LONDON -- Gary Player, who has competed in a record 46 successive British Opens, wants to extend his streak by attempting
to pre-qualify for this year's championship at Muirfield.

The 66-year-old South African, who won the first of his three British Open titles at Muirfield in 1959, has entered to play 36 holes of final
qualifying later this month.

"I just cannot imagine myself not competing at Muirfield," Player told Britain's Sun newspaper.

"I love the Open, Scotland and the Scottish people and my quest always has been to participate in 50 consecutive Opens," Player said. "I am
passionate about trying to keep my streak alive and I am driven to attempt to qualify.

"Whether I succeed or not, I will have given it my all, and that is what is important to me. I have never once shirked a challenge since I first
started playing this game, and the qualifying tournament is my next big test.

"I am fit and healthy. I still start every day with 1,000 situps and I'll give it my best shot. You have to earn what you get in this life. I have
always known that."

Past champions are exempt from qualifying if they are 65 or under on the final day of the championship.

"We are delighted that Gary has entered the Open," said Peter Dawson, secretary for the tournament organisers the Royal and Ancient
Golf Club, on the British Open's official Web site.

"It would be a wonderful achievement if he made it through final qualifying to continue his unique run of 46 consecutive championships."

Player, who won his other British Open titles at Carnoustie in 1968 and at Royal Lytham in 1974, will compete in final qualifying at one of
four courses -- Dunbar, Gullane No. 1, Luffness New or North Berwick -- on July 14 and 15.

The 131st British Open championship will be July 18-21.