Nelson Mandela’s legacy will live on through the children and young people of the world, and that will start to be shown this week at the Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa.
Five of the invitations to the tournament at Mount Edgecombe Country Club have gone to two young professionals and three amateurs.
Brandon Stone and Haydn Porteous both turned professional earlier this year, and have been campaigning on the back of invitations on The European Tour. And a week after the passing of Mr Mandela, they will be joined in the Nelson Mandela Championship presented ISPS Handa by South African amateurs Louis Taylor and Thriston Lawrence along with German amateur sensation Dominic Foos.
And while these young men – some of them are, in fact, boys – may not regard themselves as children, they give the tournament which runs from Wednesday December 11 to Saturday December 14 an opportunity to give substance to Mandela’s oft-quoted statement, “History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.”
Stone, 20, burst on to the professional scene in his first outing as a paid golfer when he finished tied tenth on his debut tournament in June at the BMW International Open in Munich, Germany.
Porteous, aged 19, beginnings were less dramatic, but he has been campaigning on the European Tour since he finished in a share of 44th in the M2M Russian Open in July.
They will be given a chance to show that they have adapted to the rigours of the professional world when they tee it up at Mount Edgecombe.
Taylor is 22, and is one of a pair of twins. He and brother Eddie played for Hilton College’s first team cricket and for the under-19 KwaZulu-Natal hockey team. They only began focusing on golf after completing high school. They both relocated to Johannesburg and have been attending the Gary Player Golf School of Excellence for the last four years.
Louis recently improved 55 spots in the World Amateur Golf Rankings after winning the Freddie Tait Cup – the prize awarded to the leading amateur at South African Open Championship hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni - at Glendower Golf Club three weeks ago.
The Taylor brothers will be going to the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School in January 2014.
Lawrence became youngest winner of the Sanlam SA Amateur Open in the 106-year history of the event at 16 years, two months and 26 days. He started playing age seven after his grandfather bought a junior set of clubs and he practiced on their farm. He vaulted to 170 from 229 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings after debut at the 2013 South African Open Championship.
Foos was born on September 3, 1997 in Karlsruhe, Germany, and first started playing golf just before he was three years old. He has played in the German national team since 2011.
In May 2012 he became the number one under-15 golfer in the world and also topped the European rankings in the under-16 age group. In Germany, he was the number one under-19 player and in August 2013 was the top amateur golfer in Germany.
He played in last year’s Nelson Mandela Championship, and after finishing 39th, became the youngest golfer to finish in the top-40 on The European Tour.
These players all will bring a passion to the tournament, embodying one of Mr Mandela’s deeply held beliefs: “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”