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INSPIRING WOMEN JOIN GARY PLAYER’S “GOLF AND GIVING” DRIVE IN SOUTH AFRICA

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The power of women to inspire change in society will be showcased as legendary golfer, Hall of Famer, businesswoman and full-time mother Annika Sorenstam leads a strong group of women joining the “Golf and Giving” drive in the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola at Sun City from 22-25 November.

Sorenstam will be joined at Sun City by Henni Zuël, a former ladies tour professional and now internationally-recognized on-course golf reporter for Sky Sports. Joanna Klatten, a professional on the LPGA Tour, will also be in the field as a powerhouse of leading women who embody the empowerment drive of Coca-Cola through this event.

One of the two beneficiaries of the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola is Wildlands, which supports women in rural communities through its unique waste collection and recycling program. For many of these women, this is their only source of income and ability to sustain their families.

The second beneficiary is Wings & Wishes, in aid of underprivileged children in need of medical care.

“Working with and investing in women is one of the most powerful ways to spur sustainable economic growth and development,” said Bruno Pietracci, President of The Coca-Cola Company’s Southern, Central and East Africa Business Unit.

“The collaboration with the Gary Player Invitational and its support of Wildlands allows us to further our goal of truly transforming communities by empowering the women within them and giving them a sustainable future.”

It’s a move that certainly resonates with Annika Sorenstam, who was a pioneering athlete in golf and now works through her businesses and ANNIKA Foundation to help empower young girls around the world to pursue their own dreams.

“Our work with the ANNIKA Foundation is as much about the personal development of young women as it is about creating great women golfers for the future. When we started the foundation in 2007, it was with the goal of encouraging a holistic development of young women to lead healthy and active lifestyles.

“I’m proud to support The Player Foundation and its drive to also help women in South Africa. As a mother I know that women who are empowered pour all of this back into their children, which shapes the communities of the future.”

Zuël said she was looking forward to making her debut in the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola and supporting its women empowerment objectives.

“I feel very privileged to be able to help other women recognize their worth in society and give them the tools to make an even greater impact in their communities through my involvement in this tournament.”

Joanna Klatten added that the tournament gives women the opportunity to keep making a visible impact in society.

“The long-standing support The Player Foundation gives to women and their families in rural South Africa is truly inspiring, and it’s an honor for me to join such a strong field of golfers, celebrities and business leaders in doing as much as we can for these women.”

Gary Player said he is delighted to have such a diverse field of strong women supporting the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola.

“Women are the backbone of our society. I lost my mother when I was very young and that has always left a gaping hole in my life. But I was blessed to meet my wife Vivienne who has been an absolute rock through my life. I am eternally grateful of the sacrifices she made in her own golf career so that I could pursue my dreams, and the devoted mother she has been to our children. Strong women make for strong families and communities.”

The Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola is the final stop on the annual series of global Gary Player Invitational tournaments played in Abu Dhabi, London, New York and Shanghai, all with the purpose of raising funds to bring hope, help, and healing in those cities and countries.

To date the series has helped to raise more than $64 million for the underprivileged worldwide, with The Player Foundation targeting $100 million for charity by 2025.

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