Ernie Els has 70 professional career victories to his name, including four Major Championships, two World Golf Championships and a record seven World Matchplay titles.
As a former World No.1 Ernie is one of the most prolific winners of his generation and the global reach of his victories is almost without parallel. Ernie has triumphed in tournaments in South Africa, Europe, the US, Asia, the Far East, the Middle East and Australasia. Ernie was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011 and the South African Golf Hall of Fame in 2009. Click here for the full list of career wins.
Ernie was born in South Africa on 17 October 1969. As a youngster, he was outstanding in cricket, rugby and tennis. At the age of 13 he won a significant regional tennis event, the Eastern Transvaal Junior Championships. A year later aged 14 and playing off scratch, Ernie won the World Junior Golf Championship in San Diego, California, beating Phil Mickelson into second place. Ernie was just 16 years old when he formally competed against professional golfers. He was awarded his Junior Springbok colours in 1984, the State President Sports Award in 1987, and in 1988 his full Springbok colours.
Notable Golf Records & Statistics
- Ernie holds the record for the most consecutive weeks inside the Top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking (758 weeks between 19 June 1994 and 11 January 2009).
- Ernie holds the record for the most consecutive cuts made (82) on the European Tour (from the 2000 Johnnie Walker Classic to the 2007 Johnnie Walker Classic).
- Holds the European Tour record for the lowest 72-hole total relative to par (29-under par, 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic).
- Holds the PGA Tour record for the lowest 72-hole total relative to par (31-under par, 2003 Mercedes Championship).
- Holds the European Tour record for the lowest first 36-hole total relative to par (18-under par, 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic).
- Holds the European Tour record for the lowest first 54-hole total relative to par (23-under par, 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic).
- Jointly holds the European Tour record for the most birdies in one round (12, 1994 Dubai Desert Classic).
- Jointly holds the European Tour record for the lowest round (60, 12-under par, 2004 Heineken Classic at Royal Melbourne).
- Twice No.1 on the European Tour Order of Merit, now known as the Race to Dubai (2003, ’04).
- Three times European Tour Player of the Year (1994, ’02, ’03).
- PGA Tour Rookie of the Year (1994).
- Nine career hole-in-ones (most recent 2009 HSBC Champions).
- Ernie has represented South Africa in professional team golf on 22 occasions: 9 Dunhill Cups, 5 World Cups and 8 Presidents Cups (International Team).
Off the Golf Course
For his charitable endeavours Ernie has received many awards:
- Charlie Bartlett Award by the Golf Writers Association of America.
- Jefferson Award, essentially a Nobel Prize for Public Service, for outstanding athlete in service.
- Named one of the ‘Top Five Most Positive Athletes in the World’ by the United Nations NGO Voting Academy.
- Golf Foundation Spirit of Golf Award for his achievements as a player, for his contribution to golf and commitment to young people in golf and education.
- Metropolitan Golf Writers Association (MGWA) Winnie Palmer Award for his foundation work on behalf of autism. The MGWA had previously conferred on Ernie its prestigious Gold Tee Award.
- Eighth recipient of the Denver-based Nicholson Award for ‘a lifetime commitment and dedication to the game of golf’.
- Received the Payne Stewart Award in 2015.