Durban05122012. Kevin Searl checking a bunker

Durban - Heavy rain and a very wet Royal Durban Golf Club course have washed out the Nelson Mandela Championship Pro-Am.

The decision was made after a careful inspection soon after a heavy downpour on Wednesday morning.

A second inspection, done while more rain fell, forced Sunshine Tour and the European Tour officials to abandon the Pro-Am.

“It was a tough decision to make. We wanted to go ahead with the Pro-Am – we have two very important guests in (sponsor) Dr Haruhisa Handa, who flew in from Japan, and Evander Holyfield, who arrived here from the United States – and did not want them to be disappointed.

“The course is wet – really wet – and some of the bunkers will need to be drained. The fairways and the greens are very soft.”

Pools of water were visible on the course fairways after the heavens opened early this morning.

The e1-million Nelson Mandela Championship is the first professional tournament at Royal Durban since the Vodacom Players Championship, staged here in the ’90s.

It was due to start on Thursday.

Holyfield, former undisputed welterweight and heavyweight champion of the world, arrived on Monday night to honour Mandela’s name. - Daily News