||Theodore Ernest Els|
|Born||17th October 1969|
|Residence||West Palm Beach, US|
|Parents||Hettie & Neels|
|Children||Samantha Leigh (26th May 1999),
Ben Neels (6th October 2002)
|First Golf Club||Kempton Park|
|Primary School||Delville Primary|
|High School||Jan De Klerk High School|
|Interests||Cars, all sports, movies, reading|
Ernie Els has 69 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 all over the world - in South Africa, Europe, US, Asia, Far East, 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. At the start of the 2011 season, Ernie was ranked No.1 in all-time career earnings on the European Tour.
The Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation was established in 1999 to identify and assist young talented individuals, in golf, predominantly from families of limited resources and deliver to them educational assistance and playing opportunities in order to produce successful young leaders and develop their playing ability to its full potential.
The Els for Autism Foundation was established in 2009 to help young individuals and families on the autism spectrum and create the Els Center of Excellence, which will make available the very best practices in education and therapy with a global reach.
For his charitable endeavours Ernie has received many awards, including:
- 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.
The Ernie Els portfolio of companies includes Ernie Els Design, a full service golf course design company with currently 10 golf courses open for play and many other exciting new projects in various stages of planning and development, and Ernie Els Wines, which produces eight award winning wines from its vineyard in Stellenbosch.
Ernie was born in South Africa on 17 October 1969. As a youngster, he was outstanding in soccer, 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.