In response to certain allegations made by the office of Tiger Woods
towards owner of Shamwari Game Reserve
, Adrian Gardiner after Mr Woods’ recent stay
at Shamwari Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa, Mr
Gardiner has commented accordingly.
The reservation for the Woods party at Shamwari was booked at least 5 months ago. Three weeks prior to their arrival, an article was published in a national weekend paper announcing the fact that Tiger Woods would be
spending his holiday at Shamwari. When asked where he got this
information, the reporter replied that he received a detailed itinerary
from the PGA United States, of Woods’ stay in South Africa. No dates were
divulged as to the duration of the stay at Shamwari.
Woods, together with Elin Nordegren, Steven Williams and fiancée’ and Mr and Mrs Jerry Chang arrived in a private Gulfstream at Port Elizabeth
Airport at 22h45 after the late finish of the President’s Cup. Both George
and Port Elizabeth airports stayed open to accommodate this late departure
and arrival which is against all normal traffic control procedure. This
special arrangement was facilitated by Adrian Gardiner himself to ensure
the utmost privacy for the Woods’ party arrival in the Eastern Cape.
The jet was parked on the tarmac for the duration of 4 days which sparked
major media and public interest, so much so that it was front page news on
a local Eastern Cape paper. Subsequent to that, Shamwari was inundated
with requests from the media regarding the Tiger Woods visit.
The media interest was of such a high level that a Public Relations
satellite office was based at Shamwari to field the calls. Media was
actually asked to leave the property and additional security at all
entrances to Shamwari was enforced to keep the media at bay.
The Wood’s party was afforded the highest level of privacy. The entire
lodge where the Woods’ party stayed was for their exclusive use and other
guests that had been booked in this Lodge were relocated to other lodges.
The only guest that was allowed to meet Tiger Woods was doyen of
conservation and founder of the Wilderness Foundation, Dr Ian Player, who discussed at length with Woods the ethos of the Wilderness area. Shamwari is the first privately owned game reserve in Africa to have dedicated 3000
ha of the 20 000 ha reserve to the Wilderness area.
Woods was so compelled to experience the Wilderness that the entire
schedule was rearranged to accommodate their overnight trail into the
Wilderness on Tuesday, 25 November 2003. Together with two rangers, they
embarked on this trail where Woods proposed to Nordegren.
Under no circumstances during the trail or at any other time while they
where on the property of Shamwari Game Reserve, did Woods or any of his
party instruct the Management or the staff compliment of over 300 not to
disclose the wonderful news of the engagement. This is one of the biggest
highlights in the lives of the staff and they are incredibly honored to
have been part of this momentous occasion.
On Thursday morning, Gardiner personally took the Woods party to the
Airport. The allegation of Gardiner orchestrating school children to be at
the airport is untrue as these children from disadvantaged schools in the
area were merely visiting the airport as part of an educational program of
their school curriculum. The fact that Tiger Woods arrived at the airport
while they were there made no impact on them whatsoever as most of them
would not have had access to television or newspapers.
With regards to the interaction with the Mayor of the Nelson Mandela
Metropole, Nceba Faku: Co-Director of Shamwari, Mr Danie Malan had asked
Tiger Woods’ permission for the Mayor to meet with him at the Airport to
commend and thank Woods for choosing the Eastern Cape to spend his last few
days before going back to the United States. To this Woods agreed. In
this meeting, Gardiner mentioned to Mayor Faku that congratulations were in
order on their engagement at Shamwari as by then it was no secret with
Nordegren sporting a diamond of some substantial size.
With Port Elizabeth Airport not being an international airport and equipped
with a Customs and Immigration Department, a temporary lounge was set up to
permit Mr Woods to go through immigration without being rerouted to Cape
Town or Johannesburg International Airports. This lounge was the so called
On Mr Woods’ departure, the two parties left amicably, hugging and thanking
each other profusely for an enjoyable stay. Gardiner voiced his concern to
Woods about the media attention being received regarding the engagement,
with Mr Woods commenting “This was unavoidable but I wish I had time to
tell my parents but these things happen.” Only then was a media statement
released to substantiate the fact regarding the visit and the engagement to
avoid any misinterpretations. No photos were published until Woods was
back in the States. Any photos taken were done so with Wood’s consent.
Gardiner has subsequently spoken to the office of Tiger Woods, apologizing
for any inconvenience suffered and assuring them that at no time during
Woods’ stay was his privacy jeopardized in any way. In hindsight, the
management and staff of Shamwari went beyond the call of duty to ensure his
comfort at all times. Shamwari has been nominated the World’s Leading
Conservation Company and Safari and Game Reserve for six consecutive years,
priding itself on maintaining an ethos of quality, excellence and