Gary Player says the first time he met Nelson Mandela, he got on his knees and kissed the former political prisoner's feet.

Remembering his "very tearful" first encounter with Mandela, Player paused Friday to compose himself and hold back tears.

Mandela, a former South African president and Nobel laureate, died Thursday at 95.

Player, a nine-time major winner who is one of South Africa's greatest sportsman, says he told Mandela at their meeting following his release from prison "I have never kissed anybody's feet in my life ... (but) I have so much admiration for you."

Player also says he'll also never forget Mandela greeting him once with the words: "Good morning, Gary. Do you remember me?"