Ernie’s Latest News – 12 September

12 Sep

This week I was due to make the journey over to Europe for the KLM Open, but events here in Florida over the weekend forced me into having to withdraw.

It’s a real shame because I was looking forward to teeing it up there for what would have been the fifth time in my career, and the first since 2001, but you know…sometimes Mother Nature has other plans! As most of you will have seen from the television coverage, Hurricane Irma caused scenes of total carnage as it blew across the Caribbean. My heart goes out to all those affected there. Eventually, the Hurricane made landfall in Florida on Sunday. Like millions of others, we had to evacuate our home and, as you can imagine, it’s been a very worrying time for everyone in this part of the US.

So obviously my primary concern right now and over the coming few days is to support my family and also our friends and employees as we come to terms with the aftermath of this devastating storm. It’s going to be a tough time as we all make our way back to our homes, but we’ll all pull together. I just want to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to everyone at the KLM Open and I hope that it’s a great week for everyone involved. Hopefully I can tee it up there in 2018.

For now, then, I’ll just update you on a few other items of news. First of all, thank you to everyone who took part in the latest Drive to SA Open fundraiser held last week at my first golf club, Kempton Park. I hear it was a wonderful day. Thank you to Emperors Palace, Concept Recoveries and Courtney Bam. Also Chantelle Bruyns, Mike Sebanz and all the staff at Kempton Park for being such great hosts. We really appreciate your support.

On a different note, I want to say what an honour it was to receive the 2017 Heisman Humanitarian Award at a ceremony during an Els for Autism Golf Challenge event at Liberty National on August 28th (pictured below). It’s wonderful to receive these awards, not because that’s what we’re chasing, but because it is a reflection on how far we’ve come and how much of an impact we’re starting to have in our mission to better the lives of autistic children. These awards validate what we’re doing and really they’re a pat on the back for our dedicated team at Els for Autism. Obviously my name is up-front, but the whole movement, and all the great work that’s been achieved since we established the Foundation in 2009, that’s down to my wife Liezl and her team. They are amazing. For more information on The Els Center of Excellence, please click here.

That event at Liberty National was, as I said, part of this year’s Golf Challenge series. Once again, through the support of our partners, golfers and donors, it’s been a successful campaign. We’re almost at the end of the schedule and we now have one eye on the Grand Finale at the spectacular Breakers Resort in Florida later next month. It’s not too late to punch your ticket there, so please click here if you’d like to take part.

Of course, being at Liberty National a couple of weeks ago gave me a chance to get reacquainted with the host venue for this month’s Presidents Cup. As it happened, Branden Grace had kindly come along on the day to support Els for Autism, so he and I snuck out and played a few holes together. To be honest, it still feels a little weird for me to not be on the playing side, but at the same time it’s an honour to be part of Nick Price’s team. I’m there to help and motivate the guys and, whatever that entails, trust me I’ll do it.

On that note, I’ll leave it there for now and write again in the build-up to the Presidents Cup. In the meantime, you can of course follow me on Twitter @TheBig_Easy.

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