Aiken targets career best
Thomas Aiken said that a victory at this week’s Nelson Mandela Championship in Durban would be the highlight of his career.
The start of the second staging of the European Tour event has been moved forward a day to Wednesday to ensure the final round does not clash with the funeral of former South African president Nelson Mandela.
Aiken, who hails from Johannesburg, said that Mandela was an source of real inspiration for him and said that it would be something special to have his name feature on a trophy that honours the legendary statesman.
“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.”
Aiken’s sentiments were shared by fellow South African Branden Grace who is one of the favourites to lift the trophy.
Grace has not had it all his way this year after winning no less than five tournaments in 2012 and hopes that he would be inspired by Madiba.
“It’s kind of bittersweet to be playing in the Nelson Mandela Championship just a week after Madiba’s death,” said the 25-year-old.
“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.”
Golfers warned of further sanctions if they continue to play in LIV breakaway
The DP World Tour has issued fines of £100,000 and tournament bans to its members who played in the inaugural LIV Golf event earlier this month
DP World Tour hits members who played inaugural LIV series with £100,000 fines
They have also been banned from several forthcoming tournaments including the Scottish Open.
Rory McIlroy not impressed as Brooks Koepka becomes latest big name to join LIV
The world number two labelled the players who have joined the new series as “duplicitous” for the way they have handled their breakaway.
R&A confirms LIV Golf Series players will be allowed to compete at Open
The 150th Open Championship will get underway at St Andrews in three weeks’ time.
Matt Fitzpatrick turns to other major winners for advice on dealing with fame
Fitzpatrick won the US Open on Sunday.
Brooks Koepka set to join Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series
Koepka’s brother Chase played in the opening event at Centurion Club earlier this month.
Gary Player urges Matt Fitzpatrick to avoid ‘poison’ of modern-day coaching
Player tells US Open champion Fitzpatrick to learn from mistakes of recent major winners, saying: “The teaching today is the worst it has ever been.”
Matt Fitzpatrick’s caddie Billy Foster ready for ‘long party’ after US Open win
Foster won his first major after a 40-year career which includes spells working for the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke.
Matt Fitzpatrick backed to become a dominant force after winning first major
The Englishman claimed his first major title at Brookline.
Matt Fitzpatrick: A Blade with plenty of support who can really cut it
The Sheffield golfer landed his first major – and first professional win in America – at Brookline on Sunday.