Ernie’s Latest News – 22 February

22 Feb

It was good as always to be back at Riviera for this year’s Genesis Open, although Mother Nature certainly did her best to upset everyone’s best laid plans.

The extreme weather presented some major logistical challenges for the tournament organisers at Riviera and in the circumstances I thought the greens staff did a really tremendous job getting the course playable and the tournament wrapped-up on the Sunday. Hats off to them for their efforts.

As players, we’re pretty well-accustomed to weather delays and disruptions. These things happen and you learn to deal with them, both on a physical and mental level, so I have no excuses for missing the cut. My game was just a little bit off, here and there. Huge congrats to Dustin Johnson, though, who added his name to an impressive roll-call of champions in this tournament and, at the same time, climbed to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking. DJ has won five times and had 30 top-10 finishes in the 50 events he’s played in the rolling two-year ranking period, which is impressive.

Many of the pros flew straight back after finishing Sunday to play in ‘the Jake’ at the Bear’s Club. This is Jack Nicklaus’ annual charity event raising funds for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. It’s an honour and a privilege to support Mr Nicklaus and this wonderful cause. As always, the day was very well supported by amateur teams and fellow pros and it was a lot of fun, too.

The PGA TOUR makes a cross-country trip to the east coast of America this week for The Honda Classic, the first event on the Florida Swing. The host venue, PGA National Resort, is just down the road from our family home and, let me tell you, any time you can stay at home and drive to the golf course each day is a really nice bonus. There are plenty of players that are in the same situation, so it’s a popular stop for all of us.

The location is just one of the attractions here. This is a great tournament in its own right and once again the team have compiled a strong field. And, as all of the players who know this area will confirm, the local fans really love their golf and they love coming out and supporting the event and seeing the best players in action. It’s always got a nice buzz to it, this week. So I’m looking forward to it, just as I know they are.

This one of the toughest tests on the PGA TOUR all year and the ‘Bear Trap’, the name for the holes 15 through to 17, is about as tough a finish as you can get especially if the wind picks up like it usually does this time of year. The weather has been very warm and dry so far this winter but it looks like we will be getting some rain for the Pro Am. The next few days look good, though. The course is in great shape and it is a ball striker’s golf course so I am looking forward to getting underway on Thursday.

Before getting out on the course on Tuesday afternoon we held a #GameON Autism Golf Clinic on the range at The Honda Classic. It was great and everyone had an amazing time. I want to thank Tyrell Hatton, world #18, who agreed to help out with our instructors and myself today. Having recently launched the programming in the UK I was excited that we were able to share it with Tyrell and I hope it proves as popular there as it has everywhere else.

Finally, I want to bring you news of the 2017 Golf Challenge, which we announced this week with the help of our friends at The Honda Classic. We’re now in our seventh year and once again it consists of a season-long series of tournaments between May and September at over 15 of North America’s finest golf courses. It all culminates in a Grand Finale in Palm Beach at the iconic Breakers Hotel on October 27-28.

Since its inaugural year in 2011, The Golf Challenge has raised over $15.5 million, which is testament to the participation of thousands of loyal golfers and donors who have really taken this cause to heart, and of course the support of some amazing companies. As in previous years, we are proud again to have a family of highly-respected global brands supporting us throughout 2017. Sponsors include our Presenting Sponsor, SAP, and our Organizing Sponsors, TaylorMade Golf, RBC and Wine Spectator. The Golf Challenge is also supported by an impressive team of contributing sponsors including: Boeing, IRISH LINKS, Maui Jim and The Honda Classic. We couldn’t do this without them.

Registration for the 2017 Golf Challenge is now open and we’d obviously love to welcome you on board. The Els for Autism team works hard to ensure that we have a good geographical spread across North America, so hopefully there’s at least one convenient location to accommodate everyone who wants to take part. Just visit the website for more information:

That’s it for now, then. Follow me on Twitter @TheBig_Easy.



Facebook Twitter Instagram Vine YouTube
© 2017, Ernie Els   A / A Website by Noesis