Nelson Mandela Invitational

For the association football tournament, see Nelson Mandela Challenge.

The Nelson Mandela Invitational was a charity golf tournament conceptualised by Marc Player, CEO of Black Knight International, which took place annually in South Africa from 2000 until 2006. It was named in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela, and hosted by South Africa's most successful professional golfer Gary Player. Player and Mandela appeared at the event almost every year to accept proceeds on behalf of the Children's Fund and the Player Foundation who were equal beneficiaries.

The field was made up of eight teams of four, each consisting of a senior professional, a regular tour professional, a celebrity and a businessman. The teams competed for the Alliance Medal, in which the best two scores of the four players counted on each hole. From 2002, a second better-ball competition for the professionals was staged, with the best score of the two counting on each hole.

Virtually all of South Africa's top players have taken part including Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Rory Sabbatini, Trevor Immelman, as well as some well known players from overseas, such as Jack Nicklaus, Bob Charles, Darren Clarke, Angel Cabrera, Sam Torrance and Lee Westwood. Some of the professionals have been women, for example, Catrin Nilsmark, Sandra Gal, Sally Little and Ashleigh Simon. The celebrities have also included a mixture of South Africans and overseas names like Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Lineker, Nigel Mansell, Frankie Fredericks and Kapil Dev. The event raised over 25 million South African rand. There is prize money for the professionals, but it is modest by the standards of professional golf, and in general it has also been donated it to charities.

The event came to a close just prior to the 2007 edition, following the withdrawal of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund citing unsubstantiated concerns over Gary Player's involvement with the design of a golf course in Burma. It has since continued as the Gary Player Invitational.[1]

Both Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu subsequently accepted Gary Player's position and statement on Burma and requested that the event continue, however the Children's Fund CEO refused to do so and thus forfeited on the name and future charitable funds raised through the tournament.

However, the event being owned by Black Knight International, was kept alive with the South African leg of the Gary Player Invitational series of charity events, which adopted the same format from 2008, with the 2007 winners being retrospectively classified in the Alliance and Betterball medals.

In 2009 it raised a record R5.2 million and in 2010 the event celebrates Fancourt Links courses 10th anniversary. All funds are distributed amongst several underprivileged children's charities including The Gary Player Foundation.


Alliance Medal (pro am)

Gary Player Invitational

2013 Retief Goosen, Herschelle Gibbs, Anthony Leeming, Mike Dladla
2012 Tim Clark, Kenny Dalglish, Alex Maditsi, Doug Jackson
2011 Wessel Witthuhn, Shaun Pollock
2010 John Cook, Sergio García, Sinead Kenny, Dwight Yorke
2009 Thomas Aiken, Vincent Tshabalala, DJ Spoony, Abdullah Al Naboodah
2008 Retief Goosen, Costantino Rocca, Ines Sastre, Alan Pearson
2007 Luke Donald, Sally Little, Alex Maditsi, Marc Player

Nelson Mandela Invitational

2006 Sandy Lyle, Omar Sandys, Ashleigh Simon, David Lyons
2005 Gary Player, Trevor Immelman, Ahmad Rashād, Alex Maditsi
2004 Lee Westwood, Simon Hobday, Inés Sastre, Doug Jackson
2003 Lee Westwood, Simon Hobday, Mark Boucher, Carl Ware
2002 Hugh Baiocchi, Deane Pappas, Gary Lineker, Dave King
2001 Simon Hobday, Martin Maritz, Nick Mallet, Doug Jackson
2000 Gary Player, Don Gammon, Julius Erving, Dave King

Betterball Medal (professionals)

Gary Player Invitational

2011 George Coetzee and Mark James
2010 John Cook and Sergio García
2009 Ángel Cabrera and Tony Johnstone
2008 Bobby Lincoln and Garth Mulroy
2007 Sally Little and Luke Donald

Nelson Mandela Invitational

2006 Bobby Lincoln and Retief Goosen
2005 Vincent Tshabalala and Tim Clark
2004 Vincent Tshabalala and Ernie Els
2003 Lee Westwood and Simon Hobday
2002 Hugh Baiocchi and Deane Pappas
2001 Simon Hobday and Martin Maritz
2000 Retief Goosen and Allan Henning


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