Tiger Woods remembers the aura of meeting Nelson Mandela
Last Updated: 06/12/13 10:31am
Tiger Woods says Nelson Mandela was an inspirational man and his passing is a sad loss.
Tiger Woods has described Nelson Mandela as an inspiration as he joined the worldwide sporting tributes to the former South African president.
The 14-time major winner fondly remembers being invited to Mandela's home for lunch in 1998, the year after he became the first African-American to win the Masters at Augusta.
Woods admitted the occasion was one of the outstanding highlights of his career, and he was stunned by Mandela's lack of bitterness following 27 years of imprisonment.
"I don't think any of us probably here could have survived that and come out as humble and as dignified as he did," said Woods after his opening round at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge in California, where he is the tournament host.
We pay tribute to Nelson Mandela
"To lead an entire nation and to basically love the world when he came out, I think that's a testament to his will and his spirit and who he was.
"That time frame when he came out (of prison), the country could have fallen apart. It could have gone a lot of different ways, and he led it to where it's at now, and the world is going to miss him.
"It's a sad day for many people around the world. He certainly had an impact on my life and certainly my father. He invited us to his home, and it was one of the inspiring times I've ever had in my life."
Woods also added a message on his Twitter account, which read: "Pop & I felt your aura went we met, I feel it today & I will feel it forever. You have done so much for humanity. You will always be in my heart Mr. Mandela."
His views were shared by PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem as well as a host of fellow players.
Finchem said: "We share the world's mourning of Nelson Mandela's death.
"We had the honor and privilege of meeting Mr Mandela during The Presidents Cup in 2003 when he attended the opening ceremony and graciously made himself available to meet individually with the players.
"It was a memorable week and his mere presence helped elevate the stature of the event. We truly feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet such a great man."
Two-time Open champion Greg Norman added: "My thoughts & prayers go out to Pres Nelson Mandela's family on his passing today. One of the greatest humans I ever had privilege to meet."
Ian Poulter wrote: "Just heard that Nelson Mandela has passed away. Really sad news. Madiba May you rest in peace. What an inspirational man."