There’s only one way to start this blog and that’s with huge congrats to Hideki Matsuyama on his victory at Augusta. His first major championship and a first win for Japan in a men’s major. What a week for him and his family.
I’ve obviously played a fair bit of golf with Hideki over the years and was thrilled to have him on my team at the last Presidents Cup. We’re also fortunate to share the same sponsor in Srixon/Cleveland Golf. The quality of his ball-striking, the quality of his whole game, is incredible and I’ve been saying for several years that he’d win a major. I’ve said it to him plenty of times, too! I’m so proud of him, not least for the way he handled the pressure at Augusta and with the weight of an entire nation on his shoulders. You deserve this win my friend; enjoy the moment.
For me, it feels like it’s been a while since my last tournament so I’m really looking forward to getting back into action at this week’s Chubb Classic here in Florida at Tiburon Golf Club. Next up after that is the Insperity Invitational at The Woodlands Country Club in Texas. I’ve been playing plenty of golf these last 4-5 weeks and the game feels in good shape; let’s see if we can get things going out on TOUR.
Throughout April you’ll see we have a new panel on my bag (pictured below), with the SAP hummingbird logo in recognition of Autism Awareness Month. This global initiative is always a big collaborative effort from our side. Obviously the team at Els for Autism is busy and doing a great job with various fundraising initiatives and programs to raise awareness and greater understanding of this condition. But it’s wonderful also how fellow players, tournament directors and sponsors support Els for Autism with fundraising campaigns of their own.
SAP in particular has really stepped-up, as they always do, with a #DriveChange campaign. As parents to an autistic son, Liezl and I are able to experience first hand the value and acceptance of autistic individuals, so it’s inspiring to witness SAP’s commitment to creating an autism inclusive workplace. This year they are donating to Els for Autism the sum of $2,500 for every birdie made by me and fellow SAP ambassador Cameron Champ on the Fridays of the tournaments we’re playing through April. Cameron set a high bar with seven birdies in R2 of the Valero Texas Open and six birdies on Friday at The Masters. No pressure then!
Seriously, though, it’s always incredibly humbling to receive this level of support from so many friends, players, sponsors and commercial partners. We must mention PUMA also, who are donating to Els for Autism a portion of sales from its FASTEN8 golf shoes through April. From Liezl, myself, and the whole team at Els for Autism, we just want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts. For more information, visit the website: https://www.elsforautism.org/.
Elsewhere, one of my partners Clif Bar has launched a new range of ‘Thins’ (pictured below) in three tasty varieties: Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut Brownie, and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Flavour. Clif Bar is a great company to be involved with. I love the way they do business, focusing on organic ingredients and sustainability, and I love the product. You know, food is fuel. You need the right stuff in order to stay the distance, keep your energy levels up, and play your best golf from the 1st tee to the 18th green. Clif Bar does the job, which is why you’ll find their energy bars in my golf bag. We always have a stash in the car as well, for long journeys.
Talking of staying the distance, I’ll be interested to try to the new TroonFit Bootcamp, which I hear is one of the range of programs being offered at the brilliant new Country Club at The Els Club Dubai (pictured below). This is like no other facility in the Middle East, both in terms of its range of services and also the caliber of the equipment throughout. It is a wonderful addition to the award-winning Ernie Els-designed golf course, which has become like a home from home for me since we opened for play in 2007. I look forward to my next visit.
Okay, that’s about it for now. I’ll write again soon. In the meantime, follow me on my social media channels at the links below.