The ninth playing of this annual event raised over $1 million, bringing the total since the Pro Am’s inception in 2009 to around the $10 million mark.
Beautiful Old Palm Golf Club in Florida once again played host to this fundraising event, which has become a firm fixture on the March golfing calendar. As in previous years, an impressive line-up of tour professionals – featuring six major champions – teed it up in support of Els for Autism. The roll-call this year (pictured above) included: Jack Nicklaus, Justin Thomas, Louis Oosthuizen, Luke Donald, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Alex Cejka, Andrew Johnston, Brooks Koepka, Branden Grace, Bryson DeChambeau, Camilo Villegas, Cameron Tringale, Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Ian Baker-Finch, Jamie Lovemark, Ken Duke, Keegan Bradley, KJ Choi, Kyle Reifers, Thomas Aiken and Tony Finau.
“You guys take time out of your busy schedules to support Els for Autism…and Liezl and I can’t thank you all enough,” commented Ernie. “Huge thanks also to the amateurs who played today, to our hosts at Old Palm Golf Club, our partners, sponsors, and in particular to Marvin R. Shanken, publisher of Cigar Aficionado and Wine Spectator magazines. Marvin was the inspiration behind this event and remains one of its driving forces. Thank you so much.”
Not surprisingly, given the quality of the field, there was some excellent golf played out there. South Africa’s Branden Grace, a former member of the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, captained the winning team of Marvin R Shanken, Rush Limbaugh and Mayor Giuliani (pictured above). Special mention also goes to Jack Nicklaus (pictured below) who fired a 71 to beat his age by six shots and bring his team home in second place.
This year’s cheque for $1,015,000 brought the Pro Am fundraising total to around the $10 million mark, an astonishingly high figure considering the relatively short history of this event. The money raised is already working hard making a positive difference to the lives of individuals and families on the autism spectrum. You can read more about the work of Els for Autism and the ground-breaking initiatives that have been introduced at The Els Center of Excellence by visiting the website: www.elsforautism.org.