Cape Town - Golfing legend Gary Player has called the South African government "naive" in not considering golf as a more relevant sport in the country.
This past weekend, Player teamed up with Irish singer Ronan Keating as they hosted A Night with Ronan Keating charity fundraiser at the Val de Vie Estate in Paarl.
At a press conference on Saturday morning, Player pointed out that previous sports minister Tokozile Xasa had not shown any interest in golf.
"If young people will only realise playing golf will help you in the business and it's played everywhere in the world, and people in South Africa are reluctant to understand," said the 84-year-old.
"Our previous minister of sport doesn't ever include golf in their talks. They're so naive because golf gets more publicity and coverage than any other sport because there's a golf tournament almost every year and we have many South Africans playing, and gaining great publicity and good behaviour for our country."
Player and Keating teamed up for a fundraising auction at Val de Vie Estate on Friday evening, which raised R1 433 000 for The Player Foundation and the Ronan Keating Foundation's selected beneficiary, the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital Oncology Unit.
Player, who has dedicated his life to helping people in underprivileged communities through The Player Foundation, was only too pleased to again show his support for this fundraiser.
"I want to change the lives of people, I could die tomorrow and know that I've changed the lives of tens of thousands of people. You can go to China and see the AIDS centres we've built, you can go to London and see the homes we've built for homeless people and the even schools in South Africa," said the nine-time major champion.
"I don't know if there's a man in this world that gets the love I get. People come up to me and hug me, like I'm their actual father or grandfather. What a gift to have bestowed upon you and that's what makes me so happy."
Player will host the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City from November 14-17.