60 Facts About Ernie Els


Theodore Ernest Ernie Els is a South African professional golfer.

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Ernie Els is one of six golfers to twice win both the U S Open and The Open Championship.

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Ernie Els has held the number one spot in the Official World Golf Ranking and until 2013 held the record for weeks ranked in the top ten with 788.

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Ernie Els rose to fifteenth in the world rankings after winning the 2012 Open Championship.

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Ernie Els was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2010, on his first time on the ballot, and was inducted in May 2011.

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Ernie Els was a skilled junior tennis player and won the Eastern Transvaal Junior Championships at age 13.

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Ernie Els first learned the game of golf from his father Neels, a trucking executive, at the Germiston Golf course, He was playing better than his father, and by the age of 14 he was a scratch handicap.

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Ernie Els won the South African Amateur a few months after his 17th birthday, becoming the youngest-ever winner of that event, breaking the record which had been held by Gary Player.

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Ernie Els married his wife Liezl in 1998 in Cape Town and they have two children, Samantha and Ben.

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In 2008 after Ernie Els started to display an "Autism Speaks" logo on his golf bag it was announced that their then five-year-old son was autistic.

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In 1989, Ernie Els won the South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship and turned professional the same year.

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Ernie Els won his first professional tournament in 1991 on the Southern Africa Tour .

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In 1993, Ernie Els won his first tournament outside of South Africa at the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan.

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Ernie Els was tied with Colin Montgomerie and Loren Roberts after 72 holes and they went to an 18-hole playoff the next day.

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Ernie Els won the GTE Byron Nelson Classic in the United States then headed back home to South Africa and won twice more.

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Ernie Els finished the year with a win at his home tournament at the South African Open.

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Ernie Els defended his Buick Classic title and added the Johnnie Walker Classic to his list of victories.

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Ernie Els nearly won the World Match Play Championship for a fourth consecutive year, but lost to Vijay Singh in the final.

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In 2001 Ernie Els failed to win a US PGA tour event for the first time since 1994 although he ended the year with nine second-place finishes.

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Ernie Els overcame a four-man playoff to take home the famous Claret Jug trophy for the first time, quieting his critics about his mental toughness.

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Ernie Els performed well in the United States with back to back victories at the Mercedes Championship – where he set the all-time PGA Tour 72-hole record for most strokes under par at 31 under – and Sony Open and achieved top-20 spots in all four majors, including a fifth-place finish at the U S Open and sixth-place finishes at both the Masters and PGA Championship.

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Ernie Els ended the major season with a fourth-place finish in the PGA Championship, where a three-putt on the 72nd hole would cost him a place in the playoff.

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In total, Ernie Els had 16 top-10 finishes, a second European Order of Merit title in succession and a second-place finish on the United States money list.

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In July 2005, Ernie Els injured his left knee while sailing with his family in the Mediterranean.

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At the start of the 2007 season, Ernie Els laid out a three-year battle plan to challenge Tiger Woods as world number one.

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When he missed the cut by two strokes at the 2007 Masters Tournament, Ernie Els ended tour-leading consecutive cut streaks on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour.

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Ernie Els has often been compared to Greg Norman in the sense that both men's careers could be looked back on and think what could have been.

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Ernie Els has finished runner-up in six majors, finishing runner-up to Tiger Woods more than any other golfer, and has often been described as having the right game to finally be the golfer to beat Woods in a major.

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On 2 March 2008, Ernie Els won the Honda Classic contested at PGA National's Championship Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

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Ernie Els shot a final round 67 in tough windy conditions, which was enough to give him the win by one stroke over Luke Donald.

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On 8 April 2008, Ernie Els officially announced that he was switching swing coaches from David Leadbetter to noted swing coach Butch Harmon.

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Ernie Els finally did break his winless streak by capturing the WGC-CA Championship at Doral in 2010, winning by four strokes over fellow countryman Charl Schwartzel.

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The victory saw Ernie Els overtake Colin Montgomerie to become the career money leader on the European Tour.

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Ernie Els then won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill two weeks later.

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Ernie Els ultimately dropped out of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time since 1993.

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Ernie Els started the 2012 season in his home country at the Volvo Golf Champions where he finished in a tie for second place after he and Retief Goosen lost out in a playoff to Branden Grace.

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Ernie Els was next in contention at the Transitions Championship, where he needed a win to qualify for the 2012 Masters.

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Ernie Els led the tournament for most of the final round and had the lead outright until the 16th hole.

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Ernie Els was ranked 58th in the world prior to the tournament .

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Ernie Els's win rejuvenated his career and earned him 5-year exemptions to the other 3 majors.

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Ernie Els became the eighth player to win major tournaments in three different decades, joining his countryman Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Billy Casper, Raymond Floyd, John Henry Taylor, and Harry Vardon .

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Ernie Els's win marked the third major champion out of the previous four major championships to be won with a type of long putter.

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Ernie Els's win reignited the controversy over the legality of long or anchored putters in golf.

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In June 2013, Ernie Els won for the first time since the 2012 Open Championship at the BMW International Open in Munich, Germany.

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Ernie Els claimed a wire-to-wire victory with a one-stroke win over Thomas Bjørn for his 28th European Tour title.

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Ernie Els moved up to 14th from 20th in the world rankings after the win.

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Ernie Els struggled to find his form throughout the 2014 season.

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Ernie Els's struggles continued into 2015 when he made only 10 cuts on the PGA Tour.

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Ernie Els finished a 173rd in the FedEx Cup and failed to qualify for the playoffs.

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At the 2016 Masters Tournament, Ernie Els's putting was again the source of negative publicity when he six-putted from 3 feet on his opening hole.

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In January 2020, Ernie Els joined the PGA Tour Champions shortly after his 50th birthday.

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Ernie Els finished with a 4-under-par 67 to finish 54 holes in 16-under-par 197, two strokes ahead of Fred Couples, Robert Karlsson, and Glen Day.

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Ernie Els shot a 6-under-par 66 in the final round to win by one stroke over Colin Montgomerie.

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Ernie Els is responsible for the refinement and modernisation of the West Course, Wentworth-Virginia Water, England, which took place in 2006.

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Unlike most of his contemporaries, Ernie Els is known for his willingness to participate in tournaments all around the world, having played regularly in European Tour-sanctioned events in Asia, Australasia and his native country of South Africa.

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Ernie Els says that his globe-trotting schedule is in recognition of the global nature of golf.

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In late 2004, Tim Finchem, the director of the PGA Tour, wrote quite a firm letter to Ernie Els asking him to do so but Ernie Els publicized and rejected this request.

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Ernie Els has participated several times in the Gary Player Invitational series of charity golf events, to assist Player in raising significant funds for underprivileged children around the world.

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Ernie Els is a college recruiting service that works with athletes worldwide from various sports and helps them secure athletic scholarships to American universities within the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA.

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Ernie Els is owned by the ASM Sports Group, which has built a pathway for athletes from high school to college then professional sports or a career in a sporting job.

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