Woods, Ferguson heap praise on Mandela
Tiger Woods has led a host of sports stars in paying tribute to ex-South African president Nelson Mandela on the eve of his 94th birthday.
Woods, who's bidding to win his 15th major title at The Open Championship this week, met Mandela for the first time in 1998.
"I got invited to his home. I tell the story that it was incredible, because my dad and I, we walk into they said, okay, just go into this living room. And we walk in there and I look at my dad and I said, 'Hey, Pops, do you feel that? It feels different in here.' He said, 'Yeah, I feel the same way.' We're just standing there looking at some of the things on the wall. And over in the corner was President Mandela," Woods said.
"He was over there just meditating in the corner, and it was just a different feeling in the room. He has such a presence and aura about him unlike anyone I've ever met. He's meant so much to so many people around the world, not just in South Africa."
His fellow golfers, world number one Luke Donald and world number three Lee Westwood also paid their tributes.
"I wish him a happy birthday and hopefully continued health, I know he's had some scares in the last few months with his health, but hopefully he continues. He's one of the great men on this earth," Donald said.
Westwood added: "He's obviously a very special man. He sacrificed a lot. I've spent a lot of time in South Africa and I was fortunate enough to meet him a few years back. He's an inspiration of mine, an inspirational character."
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson - who is on tour in South Africa with his Premier League side - said he was stunned by Mandela's peaceful persona.
"The thing that strikes me most of all about Mandela - and I've met him two or three times - there's absolutely no bitterness about him. But I think it's fantastic as an example to the world that what he endured and suffered he has no bitterness - not everyone is like that," the Scot said.
United captain Rio Ferdinand echoed Ferguson, stating Mandela should be a role model for generations to come.
"He was selfless. He gave up the majority of his life for everyone else. In today's society you see so much selfishness, so much me, me, me and for any young kid now I'd say Mandela is someone they should be learning about, and writing about, and finding out about how you give up yourself for other people, for a whole nation to make strides forward. I think there could be no better inspiration from one single human being in today's world," Ferdinand said.