Cape Town - South African football legend Mark Fish echoed the opinions of the host of sports stars, celebrities, professional golfers and business leaders gathered for this week’s Gary Player Invitational when he described the Black Knight as representing everything South Africa as a country should aspire towards.
“I’m honoured to play in this tournament because anything with Gary Player’s name to it is of value and epitomises what we are trying to become as a country,” said Fish, who is making his debut in the South African leg of the global Gary Player Invitational charity series, which will be played at Sun City’s Lost City Golf Course from Friday to Sunday.
“I was at the South African Sports Hall of Fame at Sun City when they inducted Mr Player. You look at what he’s done for the youth of South Africa and the money he’s raised for education, it’s second to none.
“I think as a professional sportsman, the legacy you can leave is exactly this. You can give a child the opportunity to also have a dream like you did. In this sense I think Mr Player is a prime example of the good that South Africa stands for. He’s an example for all of us as South Africans to learn to give more.”
Fish is joined in the tournament by fellow footballers Matthew Booth, Robbie Fowler and Ruud Gullit; Springbok rugby great Chester Williams; actor and entrepreneur Masego “Maps” Maponyane; former European Ryder Cup captain and 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke; multiple European Tour winner Brandon Stone; legendary women’s golfer and four-time Major champion Laura Davies; Spanish professional and two-time European Tour winner Ignacio Garrido; top women’s professionals Caroline Martens, Victoria Elizabeth and Emma Cabrera Bello; and a host of influential business leaders.
They will all join the Grand Slam champion in helping to raise funds for the two South African beneficiaries, Wildlands and Wings and Wishes, and as part of a series that globally has already raised more than $64 million for underprivileged communities and individuals.
“I have supported Mr Player’s charity endeavours around the world. I hold him in such high esteem, and anytime he asks me to support the Gary Player Invitational it’s a pleasure for me to say yes,” said Clarke.
“A lot of us have been fortunate to have a very enjoyable life because of golf, and it’s nice to be able to give back. I have my own foundation and if it gets anywhere close to what Mr Player has done I would be a very happy man.”
The official pro-am will be played on Friday, with the main 36-hole tournament played on Saturday and Sunday.