Ernie Els South Africa’s Golfing Great;-Ernie Els is one of South Africa’s most celebrated golfers, with a career spanning over three decades. He has won numerous accolades and titles, and his achievements on the course have cemented his status as one of the greats of the game. Els has represented South Africa in professional team golf on 22 occasions, including nine Dunhill Cups, five World Cups, and eight Presidents Cups as part of the International Team.
Els first achieved prominence in 1984 when he won the Junior World Golf Championship in the Boys 13-14 category. He went on to win the South African Amateur a few months after his 17th birthday, becoming the youngest-ever winner of that event and breaking the record that had been held since 1935 by Bobby Locke. Els turned professional in 1989 and won his first professional tournament on the then-South Africa Tour (now known as the Sunshine Tour) in 1991. He also won the Sunshine Order of Merit in the 1991/92 and 1994/95 seasons.
Throughout his career, Els has won numerous titles, including four major championships: the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997, and the Open Championship in 2002 and 2012. He has also won 19 career hole-in-ones, with his most recent coming at The Pure Championship at Pebble Beach in 2020. Els has left an indelible mark on the world of golf and is considered one of the sport’s greatest players.
Ernie Els: Early Life and Introduction to Golf
Ernie Els was born on October 17, 1969, in Johannesburg, South Africa. He grew up in Lambton, Germiston, where he developed an early interest in sports. As a child, he played rugby, tennis, golf, soccer, and cricket. However, it was golf that captured his heart and became his passion.
Els started playing golf when he was just eight years old. His father, Neels, introduced him to the sport, and he quickly became hooked. Neels was a scratch golfer himself and often took his son to the golf course to practice. Ernie’s talent was evident from an early age, and he won his first junior tournament when he was 13.
Els attended the Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Afrikaans Boys’ High School) in Pretoria, where he continued to play golf and excel in the sport. He won the Eastern Transvaal Junior Championship as a junior tennis player and was also a member of the South African junior rugby team.
Els turned professional in 1989 at the age of 20 and quickly made a name for himself on the South African and European Tours. He won his first professional tournament, the South African PGA Championship, in 1992, and went on to win the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit that same year.
Overall, Ernie Els’ early life and introduction to golf set the stage for his successful career as a professional golfer. His passion for the sport, combined with his natural talent and dedication, helped him become one of the greatest golfers of all time.
The Rise of a Champion: Els’ Amateur Career
Ernie Els’ journey to becoming one of South Africa’s most successful golfers started during his amateur career. In 1984, at the age of 14, he won the Eastern Transvaal Junior Championship, the first of many titles to come.
Els continued to dominate the junior circuit, winning the South African Boys Championship in 1987 and 1988. He also won the South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 1989, which helped him earn a spot on the South African Eisenhower Trophy team.
In 1991, Els turned professional after winning his first professional tournament on the then-South Africa Tour (now known as the Sunshine Tour). However, his amateur career played a crucial role in his development as a golfer and helped him establish a solid foundation for his professional career.
During his amateur career, Els was known for his impressive ball-striking ability and his calm demeanor on the course. He also had a strong work ethic, often spending hours practicing and honing his skills.
Overall, Els’ amateur career set the stage for his future success in golf. It allowed him to gain valuable experience and develop the skills necessary to compete at the professional level.
Turning Professional: The Early Years
Ernie Els turned professional in 1989 after winning the South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship. He had a successful amateur career, winning numerous titles, and his transition to professional golf was seamless.
In his early years as a professional, Els competed on the Southern Africa Tour, which is now known as the Sunshine Tour. He won his first professional tournament in 1991 on this tour. Els’ victory at the 1992 South African Open, which was a European Tour event, helped him gain recognition on the international stage.
Els continued to compete on the Sunshine Tour, winning the Sunshine Order of Merit in the 1991/92 and 1994/95 seasons. He also competed in European Tour events, finishing in the top ten of the Order of Merit in his first full season on the tour in 1994.
During his early years as a professional, Els showed signs of the greatness that was to come. He had a powerful swing and was known for his accuracy off the tee. Els’ success on the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour paved the way for him to become one of the greatest golfers of all time.
Major Achievements: The Els Era
Ernie Els is one of the most successful golfers of his generation, with an impressive list of achievements to his name. He has won a total of 76 professional career victories, including four Major Championships, two World Golf Championships, and a record seven World Matchplay titles 12.
Els’ first Major Championship win came in 1994 when he won the US Open at Oakmont. He won his second US Open in 1997 at Congressional, becoming only the sixth golfer in history to win both the US Open and The Open Championship twice 3. In 2002, Els won The Open Championship at Muirfield, and he added his fourth Major Championship in 2012 at Royal Lytham & St Annes 13.
In addition to his Major Championship wins Els has also won a number of other prestigious titles throughout his career. He has won the World Matchplay Championship a record seven times and has also won two World Golf Championships 12.
Els’ success on the golf course has earned him a number of accolades and honors over the years. He has been named the European Tour Golfer of the Year three times and has also been named the South African Sportsman of the Year twice 14.
Overall, Els’ achievements on the golf course are a testament to his skill, dedication, and hard work. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time, and his legacy will continue to inspire future generations of golfers for years to come.
Els’ Impact on South African Golf
Ernie Els is widely regarded as one of the greatest golfers to come out of South Africa. His impact on the sport in his home country has been significant. Els’ success on the international stage has inspired a new generation of South African golfers to pursue their dreams of playing at the highest level.
Els’ rise to prominence coincided with the end of apartheid in South Africa. He became a symbol of hope and unity for a country that was still struggling to come to terms with its past. Els’ success on the golf course helped to break down barriers and bring people together.
In addition to his success on the course, Els has also been a great ambassador for South African golf. He has used his platform to promote the sport in his home country and has been instrumental in the development of young golfers. Through his foundation, Els has provided opportunities for disadvantaged children to learn and play golf.
Els’ impact on South African golf can be seen in the number of young golfers who have followed in his footsteps. Players such as Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, and Branden Grace have all achieved success on the international stage and have credited Els with inspiring them to pursue their dreams.
In conclusion, Ernie Els’ impact on South African golf cannot be overstated. His success on the international stage has inspired a new generation of golfers and helped to promote the sport in his home country. Through his foundation, Els has provided opportunities for young golfers to learn and play the game. Els’ legacy will continue to inspire young South African golfers for generations to come.
International Recognition and Awards
Ernie Els has been recognized and awarded for his exceptional golfing skills on an international level. He has won numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including four major championships, two World Golf Championships, and a record seven World Matchplay titles.
In 2000, Els was named the European Tour Golfer of the Year, an award he also won in 2003 and 2004. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011, and he was awarded the Payne Stewart Award in 2015 for his philanthropic efforts.
Els has also represented his country, South Africa, in various international tournaments, including the Presidents Cup and the World Cup of Golf. He was a member of the International Team in the Presidents Cup from 1996 to 2013, and he served as the captain of the International Team in the 2019 Presidents Cup.
In addition to his golfing achievements, Els has also been recognized for his philanthropic work. He founded the Ernie Els Foundation in 1999, which focuses on supporting children’s charities, particularly those that help children with autism. In 2019, he was awarded the Heisman Humanitarian Award for his contributions to society.
Overall, Els’ international recognition and awards are a testament to his skill and dedication to the sport of golf, as well as his commitment to giving back to his community.
Els’ Philanthropy: Giving Back to Golf
Ernie Els is not only a golfing great but also a philanthropist who has given back to the game that made him a household name. In 1999, he established the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation in South Africa with the aim of identifying and assisting young individuals from families of limited resources and delivering educational assistance and golfing opportunities to them.
The foundation has made significant strides in promoting golf among young people in South Africa. It has helped over 5,500 children from underprivileged backgrounds by providing them with access to golf courses, equipment, and coaching. Many of the children who have benefitted from the foundation’s programs have gone on to become successful golfers, with some even playing on the professional circuit.
Els’ Foundation also supports children with autism. His son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism, and this inspired him to establish the Els for Autism Foundation in 2009. The foundation’s mission is to help people with autism fulfill their potential to lead positive, productive, and rewarding lives. It has since raised millions of dollars to fund research, education, and advocacy programs.
In addition to his foundation work, Els has also been involved in other philanthropic activities. He has been a supporter of the Els Center of Excellence, which is a school for children with autism located in Florida. He has also been involved in raising funds for various charitable causes, including the Els for Autism Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
Els’ philanthropic work has earned him numerous awards and accolades, including the PGA Tour’s Payne Stewart Award, which recognizes golfers who exhibit philanthropic qualities. His efforts have also inspired many others to give back to their communities and promote the game of golf among young people.
Legacy and Influence of Ernie Els
Ernie Els has left a lasting legacy on the game of golf, both in South Africa and around the world. He has inspired a generation of golfers with his exceptional skill, sportsmanship, and dedication to the sport.
One of the most significant ways in which Els has influenced the game of golf is through his success on the course. He has won numerous tournaments, including four major championships and over 70 professional titles. His impressive record has earned him a place among the greatest golfers of all time.
Els has also been a role model for young golfers, demonstrating the importance of hard work, perseverance, and humility. He has been a mentor to many young players, both in South Africa and around the world, and has helped to develop the next generation of golfing talent.
Off the course, Els has been an advocate for charitable causes, particularly those related to autism. He and his wife Liezl founded the Els for Autism Foundation, which aims to improve the lives of individuals with autism and their families. Through his philanthropic work, Els has shown that golfers can use their platform to make a positive impact on society.
Overall, Ernie Els has had a significant impact on the game of golf and the wider community. His achievements on the course, dedication to his craft, and commitment to charitable causes have made him a true legend of the sport.
Final thoughts: Ernie Els’ Indelible Mark on Golf
Throughout his illustrious career, Ernie Els has left an indelible mark on the world of golf. His exceptional talent, sportsmanship, and unwavering dedication to the game have made him one of the most respected and beloved figures in the sport.
Els has achieved numerous successes on the course, including four major championships, two World Golf Championships, and 19 PGA Tour victories. He has also represented South Africa in the World Cup of Golf, winning the event four times.
But Els’ impact on golf extends far beyond his impressive resume of wins and accolades. He has been a role model for aspiring golfers around the world, inspiring countless individuals to pursue their dreams and work tirelessly to achieve their goals.
Off the course, Els has also made significant contributions to the sport. He established the Ernie Els Foundation in 1999, which aims to support young people in South Africa by providing education, sports, and life skills opportunities. He has also been involved in various charitable initiatives, including the Els for Autism Foundation.
In recognition of his contributions to the sport, Els was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011. His legacy as one of the greatest golfers of all time is secure, and his impact on the sport will be felt for generations to come.
In conclusion, Ernie Els’ achievements on the course and his contributions to the sport of golf have cemented his place as one of the most important figures in the game’s history. His unwavering dedication to excellence and his commitment to giving back to the community have made him a role model for golfers and non-golfers alike.
What major golf tournaments have Ernie Els won?
Ernie Els has won four major golf tournaments in his career. He won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997, and the Open Championship in 2002 and 2012.
How many PGA Tour events did Ernie Els win?
Ernie Els has won 19 PGA Tour events in his career, including two U.S. Open titles and two Open Championship titles.
How many times has Ernie Els won on the Champions Tour?
Ernie Els has not yet won on the Champions Tour, which is a professional golf tour for players aged 50 and older.
Which golf course did Ernie Els design?
Ernie Els has designed several golf courses, including Oubaai Golf Course in Herolds Bay, South Africa, which was voted “Best Golf Resort in South Africa” at the CNBC African Property Awards.
What is the career earnings of Ernie Els?
Ernie Els has earned over $49 million in prize money throughout his professional golf career.
How tall is Ernie Els?
Ernie Els is 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 meters) tall.