Pros show support for Madiba
27 June 2013, 12:04
Johannesburg - The Sunshine Tour’s professional golfers showed their support for ailing former President Nelson Mandela by wearing beaded South African flags during the first round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at Selborne Park Golf Club in KwaZulu-Natal.
Jean Hugo, a 13-time winner on tour sported the flag on his cap on Wednesday.
Mandela was known, over the years, to phone South Africa’s top golfers when they achieved internationally.
Shortly after he was admitted to hospital on June 8 for treatment of a recurring lung infection, South Africa's most successful golfer post 1992, Ernie Els, said Mandela had often contacted him earlier in his career.
"When I won a lot of tournaments in the '90s and early part of the 2000s, we spoke a lot on the telephone," Els said in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, where he was preparing to play in the US Open.
"He always felt proud of what the sporting athletes out of South Africa did for the country, you know, winning worldwide events. He always felt very proud of that. Yeah, through that instance we had a really nice relationship.
"We'll just - we're hoping for the best. Whatever outcome that might be. I just want him to be well."
Els said he had not seen Mandela for a number of years, but hoped for his recovery.
"Yeah, South Africans, we're obviously very concerned about President Mandela. He's 94-years-old now. He's almost on to his 95th birthday, and he's been quite ill for a while now.
"So we're just hoping for the best. I haven't seen him for quite a few years now. I haven't seen him for probably seven or eight years now. But we've had always a great relationship."
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