Ernie will receive the 2023 Francis Ouimet Award at the organisation’s annual banquet on April 3, in recognition of his contribution to golf and the community through his philanthropic endeavors, notably Els for Autism.
The Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund awards millions of dollars in need-based college scholarships each year to deserving young men and women who have worked at Massachusetts golf courses.
“First of all, I want to thank the team at the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund for this honor, commented Ernie. “Like most golfers, I know the incredible story of Francis Ouimet, a poor 20-year old local caddie who beat two of the game’s greatest players in a playoff to win the 1913 US Open. Mr Ouimet then went on to achieve great things off the golf course. He was a true gentleman, a kind man who never forgot his humble roots. So this scholarship is a fitting legacy – golf changed his life and this fund in his name does the same thing, providing opportunities for young people to obtain a college education. It’s something we’re passionate about too and, indeed, it’s the cornerstone of our work at the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation in South Africa. I congratulate the team at the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund on everything that they’re doing.”
Ernie went on to say, “This award means a lot to me. And to be joining a roll call of past recipients that includes some of my own personal heroes such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, that’s the icing on the cake. Liezl and I are very much looking forward to the annual banquet in April; it sounds like it’s going to be a special evening.”
Francis Ouimet is one of the most honored players in history. He shook up the golfing world winning the 1913 US Open, one of the greatest upsets in the history of sport. He won the U.S. Amateur in 1914 and 1931. He also played on the first eight Walker Cup Teams and was Captain of the next four. Revered as a golfing goodwill ambassador, he became the first American elected Captain of the R&A in 1951. He has been named to every golf Hall of Fame, has a room named after him in the USGA Museum. The U.S. Senior Open Trophy is also named after him, as are several others around the country. The Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund began a Francis Ouimet Award for Lifelong Contributions to Golf.