Completed: Kennemer G&CCSep 11-14

KLM Open

In Progress: The Celtic Manor ResortSep 18-21

ISPS Handa Wales Open

Thomas Aiken says victory at Nelson Mandela Championship would be proudest moment

Last Updated: 10/12/13 2:24pm

  • Share:
Thomas Aiken: Hoping to land the Nelson Mandela Championship this week

Thomas Aiken: Hoping to land the Nelson Mandela Championship this week

Sky Bet

Thomas Aiken has admitted that winning this week's Nelson Mandela Championship would eclipse anything else he has managed in golf.

The European Tour event in South Africa will inevitably carry great poignancy given the events of the last few days.

The start of the second staging of the tournament has been moved forward a day to Wednesday in order that the final round does not clash with the former South African president's state funeral on Sunday.

Johannesburg native Aiken has acknowledged that Mandela was an source of real inspiration for him and makes no secret of the fact he would to love to add the title of a tournament bearing the legendary stateman's name to his resume.

"It's a very emotional week," he told reporters. "He has touched everyone's heart in some way or the other and how fortunate are we as professionals to be playing a tournament named after him in the week that he passed on?

"I've played in a few Nelson Mandela Invitational events and never got to meet Madiba. Now I'm playing in the Nelson Mandela Championship and it's a great honour to be participating in an event that hopes to continue his legacy of assisting children.

"I'm a South African and Mandela is very dear to me as he was someone we all could look up to.


"How nice it would be if we could do a little of what he did and knit everyone together - like we are now all in sorrow - and make this country a better place to live in.

"That, to me, would be the best thing to have on my CV - a win at the Nelson Mandela Championship. Wouldn't that be great?"

Aiken's sentiments were echoed by compatriot Branden Grace who heads the betting for this week's event.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given a stunning 2012 campaign that yielded five wins, the 25-year-old has found things rather tougher this season but is hoping to be inspired by Mandela on home soil.

"It's kind of bittersweet to be playing in the Nelson Mandela Championship just a week after Madiba's death," said Grace.

"It's nice to be able to go and support something like that and the great cause that it supports. It's not a happy time in South Africa, so it's nice to be able to be in a position where I can go and support the tournament."

  • Share:


Nelson Mandela Championship 2013

Dawie van der Walt: Two-shot winner

Van der Walt scores home win

South African Dawie van der Walt shot a closing 66 to score a two-shot win in the Nelson Mandela Championship in Durban.

Spain's Jorge Campillo after his round of 59

Red-hot duo card Durban 59s

Jorge Campillo and Colin Nel both shot rounds of 59 at the Nelson Mandela Championship in Durban on Friday.

Rain once again interrupted play at the Nelson Mandela Championship on Thursday

Durban hit by rain again

The first round of the weather-hit Nelson Mandela Championship was suspended for a second time on Thursday.

Most Popular


Ryder Cup schedule

Ryder Cup schedule

Keep track of when the Ryder Cup sessions are on and our list of support shows and documentaries.

Ryder Cup Countdown

Ryder Cup Countdown

Sam Torrance, Colin Montgomerie, Butch Harmon and Tony Jacklin preview the big showdown.

Making of a Captain

Making of a Captain

Watch our exclusive show on how Europe's Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley honed his captaincy skills.