Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Tiger Woods -- Mandela inspired me

December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1405 GMT (2205 HKT)
A youthful Tiger Woods meets Nelson Mandela for the first time in 1998 shortly after winning the U.S. Masters.
A youthful Tiger Woods meets Nelson Mandela for the first time in 1998 shortly after winning the U.S. Masters.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tiger Woods pays tribute to Nelson Mandela
  • Woods met the former South African president several times
  • 'World is going to miss him,' he said
  • Woods playing in a tournament in California when Mandela's death announced

(CNN) -- Tiger Woods said he had been inspired by Nelson Mandela as he paid his own tribute to the former South African president.

Woods met Mandela for the first time back in 1998 after winning the U.S. Masters, the first of his 14 major titles, and admitted it had been a life changing experience.

"It's sad for everyone who got a chance to not only meet him, but I've been influenced by him," Woods said. "I got a chance to meet him with my father (Earl) back in '98.

"He invited us to his home for lunch, and it was one of the most inspiring times I've ever had in my life. "

The world No.1 reacted to news of Mandela's death after completing his first round at the World Golf Challenge in California on Thursday.

Golf: The success stories of 2013
Tiger Woods tonight on Unguarded

Read: Mandela: World mourns his death

Woods, who went on to meet Mandela on several occasions, praised his courage in the face of adversity -- imprisoned by the South African regime for 28 years until released in 1990.

"I don't think any of us probably could have survived that and come out as humble and dignified as he did, and to lead an entire nation and to basically love the world when he came out," he told his official website.

"I think that's a testament to his will and his spirit and who he was.

When he came out (of prison), the country could have fallen apart. It could have gone a lot of different ways, and he led it to where it's at now, and the world is going to miss him," he added.

South African legend Gary Player, who hosted the Nelson Mandela Invitational tournament from 2000 to 2006, also mourned his loss.

"Condolences to all on the passing of our beloved Father of the South African Nation, Nelson Mandela," Player tweeted.

Read: Mandela: Sport and the battle against racism

"Nelson Mandela's courage, forgiveness, love & hope inspired people around the world. He made me want to be a better man. Madiba we loved you. Rest in Peace."

Former world No.1 Greg Norman also reacted to the sad news on social media. "My thoughts & prayers go out to Pres Nelson Mandela's family on his passing today. One of the greatest humans I ever had privilege to meet."

England's Ian Poulter added: "Just heard that Nelson Mandela has passed away. Really sad news. Madiba May you rest in peace. What an inspirational man."

Poulter, like Woods, is in the 18-strong field for the PGA sanctioned tournament at Sherwood Oaks.

He struggled to a four-over 76 to trail leader Zach Johnson by nine shots. Woods shot a 71, with defending champion Graeme McDowell on 72, one shot better than Rory McIlroy, who claimed last week's Australian Open title.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 8, 2014 -- Updated 1424 GMT (2224 HKT)
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1227 GMT (2027 HKT)
PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 10: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland talks with his dad Gerry McIlroy (L) during a practice round prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 10, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
The next generation of golfers just keeps on getting younger. "They have the confidence to perform against their idols," says one ex-prodigy.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
He was Spain's ultimate matador and golf's greatest escape artist.
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 1536 GMT (2336 HKT)
Rory McIlroy has announced he wants to represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Two-time major champion Rory McIlroy declares he'll represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics, not Great Britain.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Already admired by Annika Sorenstam and with a bucketful of talent, New Zealand's Lydia Ko has the world of golf at her feet.
April 28, 2014 -- Updated 1130 GMT (1930 HKT)
Mike O'Connor, UK FootGolf
Like footie? Partial to a bit of golf? Then you'll love FootGolf. The sport's growing fan base includes a host of former English Premier League stars.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
Golfers at at Barkway Park don't seem to concerned and have been taking pictures and videos of the bird when it appears on the greens and fairways.
A runaway ostrich-like bird hiding near an English golf course has caused quite a stir. Some say it's dangerous, while others are cashing in.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Eagles may be thin on the ground for most golfers at the Bear Trace course at Harrison Bay. But up in the treetops, it's a different matter.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
When someone tells you to go jump in a lake, sometimes it's best to take their advice. "I've never been so scared," says golfer Pablo Larrazabal.
ADVERTISEMENT