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Last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek was my final tournament of the season, so this seems like the ideal time to wrap things up for the year. 

It’s always great to be back at one of my favourite events in the world. What a place. Seriously, every time I go there I’m just amazed. It’s world-class in every way and there’s really nothing else like it. Obviously we live in the US now and have done for a while, so when we come back to South Africa we’re almost like tourists…so we enjoy it like tourists! Liezl was with me; we went into the park and enjoyed the South African bush, which is such an amazing place. Played some nice golf during the week, as well. 

Big congrats to South Africa’s Ockie Strydom on his first DP World Tour victory and also to another homegrown talent Thriston Lawrence, a former member of the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, who won the South African Open the week before. He’d had a phenomenal year already and it’s no surprise he was voted Rookie of the Year. 

All in all, South African golf is in a very healthy place right now, which is great to see. It reminds us of the past players and what other South Africans have done on the world golfing scene. We have such a rich history in the game in our country and there are lots of young players continuing that. The roots of the game are solidly in place here with the amazing work done by GolfRSA, the South African Golf Development Board and other foundations such as mine and those of other golfers. Well done to all. 

Before playing at the Dunhill, we’d made a trip over to Jakarta for the BNI Indonesian Masters. I hadn’t played in a month up to that point, other than a bit of social golf which isn’t the same thing, so we kind of went in there to enjoy it and hopefully play some good golf. And we did. I’m swinging it good and the ball is coming out beautiful. 

It was great to have my old friend Nico Van Rensburg on the bag for those two weeks on the road. We’ve know each other since childhood and these days he does a great job for us raising a hell of a lot of money for Els for Autism in South Africa. Back in the day, Nico played the Tour in Asia and had some success and won a few times. Anyway, it was a really enjoyable week for both of us. We’ll probably do it again some time. 

© Golffile | Eoin Clarke

Reflecting on 2022, it’s been an enjoyable year. We played some 20-odd tournaments on the Champions Tour and I had 13 top-10s. For the most part I’ve played really well. I ran close a couple of times without getting a win, but that’s how it goes sometimes. The competition is strong out here. The main thing is I’m really excited about next year; I still love the competition and the camaraderie, too. As usual, we begin in Hawaii at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in mid-January. I’m looking forward to that. 

In the meantime, we’ll spend time with family and enjoy the holiday season. I hope you get to do that with your loved ones also. 

There’s a lot going on away from the golf course, which you may have seen elsewhere on the website in the past few months. But if you missed it, I’ll point you now to our latest newsletter…just click here for all the latest news. If you’re quick, you’ve still got time to order your Christmas wine supplies from the team at Ernie Els Wines! 

I’ll write again in the New Year. 

Bye for now.