The Real Origins of "The More I Practice the Luckier I Get" Quote?
This site attributed the quote that we're using as a tagline or motto, if you will, to Arnold Palmer. He was fond of saying it. But that doesn't mean he was the first to use it. So who did coin it? That honor is often given to Gary Player. A Twitter follower of ours insisted it was Gary Player who first said it. I thought it appropriate to give it some further research.
Gary Player also was fond of the saying. But even he admitted he got it from someone else in his 1962 book Gary Player's Golf Secrets. That someone else was fellow pro golfer Jerry Barber. Player told the story of a gentleman watching Barber practice bunker shots. Barber hit one close, then holed the next one. The observer commented that he was lucky. Barber then supposedly said, "Yes, I know. And the more I practice, he luckier I get."
But slightly different versions exist earlier, from different sports and different walks of life. "Hard work" was attributed to luck, not exactly practice. Confucius has been quoted as saying, "The more you know, the more luck you will have." (Big hitter, Confucius.) It's a different version of the Barber/Player/Palmer quote to be sure, but it predates it by some 2500 years. More widely quoted than even Jesus, Confucius had his own book of secrets, The Analects of Confucius.
Interestingly, the Maoist government in China wanted to stamp out the influence of Confucianism. Chairman Mao had a little red book entitled Quotations from Chairman Mao. Legendary golf teacher Harvey Penick had a Little Red Book of observations on the game of golf. Now Gary Player has a black book of golf tips, published in 2017. Gary Player is, after all, known as the "Black Knight." And I guess we'll give him credit for popularizing the quote in the golf world.