JOHANNESBURG - Gary Player will oppose a claim of $1 million by his former caddie and business partner in South Africa for an unpaid loan, the lawyer representing the golf great said on Wednesday.
Dave King gained an interim court order that potentially allows him to sue 77-year-old Player for assets the nine-time major champion and Hall of Famer holds in South Africa, including shares in a stud farm in the rural town of Colesberg.
King claims he loaned Player the money in 1999. Player denies it was a loan, although his lawyer did not dispute that the transaction took place. Player and King are the shareholders in the stud farm in central South Africa.
"Mr. Player denies from his perspective that the funds advanced ever constituted a loan," Player's attorney, Rael Gootkin, told The Associated Press.
Court papers suing Player for the $1 million had not yet been filed, Gootkin said, and the parties are looking to agree on a September court date to argue the matter.
Gootkin said Player would oppose the interim order granted this week in a high court in Grahamstown, in South Africa's Eastern Cape province, initially giving King jurisdiction to attach the golfer's local assets to any claim.
Player also would oppose any action to sue for the money "if and when the summons is issued," Gootkin said.
King is a former director of the troubled Scottish football club Glasgow Rangers, and has caddied for one-time close friend Player at the U.S. Masters.
South African media reported on Tuesday that a document submitted to the court states that the money was given to Player 14 years ago to repay a debt to his sports management company, and Player agreed in return to allow King to travel with him to international sports events.
The Scottish-born King also has been involved in a long-running dispute with South African tax authorities.