Els on Mandela: 'Most amazing person I have ever met'

By Associated PressDecember 6, 2013, 2:21 pm

SUN CITY, South Africa – With the skies over Sun City fittingly gray, Gary Player cried on a tee box and Ernie Els shared some of his memories of Nelson Mandela.

''It is going to be a tough day for the whole country,'' Els said.

A somber mood hung over South Africa's first major sporting event since Mandela's death.

In the early morning, golfers stood, some with caps removed, for a moment's silence before the first round restarted after being halted because of lightning on Thursday. Flags dropped to half-staff around the Gary Player Country Club.

A hooter sounded to start the brief moment of reflection on the life of the beloved anti-apartheid leader, who died late Thursday at 95.

Els, one of South Africa's first sporting heroes under Mandela's presidency, walked out of the players' lounge a little after 6:30 a.m. to talk of the times he spent with the former president. Els said that since about 1996 and well into his old age, Mandela used to call the golfer every time he won a tournament.

''They were special times and the little time we had together was very special. He was just the most amazing person I have ever met,'' Els said.

He also recalled Mandela partially ignoring him on a long-haul flight because the statesman instead wanted to talk to and play with Els' young daughter.

''We were sitting up front and then Mr. Mandela came onto the plane last,'' Els said. ''He was sitting in the front seat and he saw me and my daughter sitting next to me and all of a sudden he didn't really want to see me anymore, he wanted to talk to my daughter. He got Samantha to go up there and she sat on his lap and he spoke to her like she was his grandchild.''

Player, a South African golfer whose career so often clashed with the country's years of apartheid, said he and three friends had prayed and then cried together before playing.

''But it's also a day of celebration because he'd want us to celebrate,'' Player said. ''And we've got to celebrate for what he actually gave this country.''

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Key stats from Woods' historic win at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:47 pm

Tiger Woods won his 80th career PGA Tour title on Sunday with a two-stroke victory at the Tour Championship. Here are the key stats from the final round at East Lake.

• 80th career PGA Tour win; first since 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

• Two wins behind Sam Snead for most in PGA Tour history

• Snead was 47 years old when he won his 80th career PGA Tour title (Woods is 42)

• 43-for-45 converting outright 54-hole leads in PGA Tour career

• 24-for-24 converting 54-hole leads of three or more shots

• First win in 1,876 days; 118 players won on PGA Tour between Woods' wins

• Third career Tour Championship victory (most all-time)

• Has won Tour Championship in three different decades (1999, 2007, 2018)

• Fifth PGA Tour event won in three different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s)

• Projected to move to 13th in World Ranking with victory

• Was ranked 1,199 before beginning of 2017 Hero World Challenge

• Snead won 11 times after turning 43 (Woods turns 43 in December)

• Eighth PGA Tour win in Georgia; fourth-most of any state (Fla., Calif., Ohio)

• Extended lead to four strokes with birdie on first hole of round

• Second in field in strokes gained: putting this week

• First in field in scrambling this week (17-for-24)

• Finished second in FedExCup; was making first Tour Championship start since 2013

• Led field in one-putt percentage this week (51.4%)

• Finishes season first on PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.)

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Rose captures FedExCup, $10 million

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 23, 2018, 10:45 pm

ATLANTA – Like the “Price is Right” big wheel, $10 million spun around and around on Sunday, waiting to land on someone. It rolled past Dustin Johnson, looked like it was going to settle on Tiger Woods, and then made a final tick to rest on an ecstatic Justin Rose.

Rose won the FedExCup title on Sunday at the Tour Championship, two-putting for birdie on the par-5 18th to secure the big bonus. Woods, who won the tournament, finished second, with Bryson DeChambeau third.

Rose entered the final round as the projected winner, tied for second in the event, three shots back of Woods. However, it was a struggle from the start for the – now former – world No. 1. Rose made four bogeys and one birdie over his first 15 holes, and when he bogeyed the par-4 16th, the scenario became clear: Play the last two in 1 under or lose the cup.


Final FedExCup results and payout breakdown

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Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Johnson had an outside shot at claiming the $10 million, but parred the last. He finished in solo third place, four back of Woods.

Woods, meanwhile, was in command of the tournament from the start on Sunday. He played steadily, for the most part, and no one provided a challenge. In order to win the cup, he needed to win the event – which was close to a lock all day – and Rose needed to finish in a three-way tie for fifth or worse.

So, here he was, Rose, tied for SIXTH place on the 18th hole. A birdie and he’d jump into a three-way tie for fourth – as well as into a mountain of cash.

Rose hit the par-5 18th in two and successfully two-putted to clinch the cup. He didn’t win a playoff event, but his MC-2-2-T4 results were good enough, points wise, to capture the season-long race.

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Social media explodes over Tiger's 80th win

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:45 pm

After a five-year hiatus, Tiger Woods made his triumphant return to the winner's circle on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

As evidenced by a quick look at social media, Woods' win set the golf world on fire, with everyone from Jack Nicklaus to Michelle Wie sending their congratulations to the 42-year-old.

Here are the best reactions from a wild Sunday at East Lake, where Woods claimed PGA Tour victory No. 80:

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Highlights: Tiger's final round at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:40 pm

Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship on Sunday by two strokes. Here are the highlights from the final round.

Woods got off to a great start with a birdie on No. 1.


He then made eight straight pars to close out the front nine in 1 under par. Woods started the back nine with a bogey at 10, but he rebounded with this birdie at No. 13.


Woods leaked some oil coming in with bogeys at 15 and 16, but this par putt on 17 gave him a crucial two-stroke lead heading to 18.


For the fourth straight day, Woods smoked his drive on 18.


A huge gallery followed Woods up the 18th hole.


Woods missed his birdie putt on 18, but it was an easy par for a two-stroke victory and win No. 80.