Welcome to our latest update. I want to start by congratulating our daughter Samantha on her graduation from Stanford with a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology. The ceremony is this coming weekend and Liezl and I are bursting with pride! She’s an amazing young lady and we couldn’t be more proud of her.
Moving on to golf, these past five outings on the Champions Tour have followed a similar pattern as the five that started the year. I’m playing nicely, hitting the ball pretty well, but not making my share on the greens. I’ve been playing this game long enough to know that this kind of pattern of play usually equals decent finishes but no wins. And so it’s proved to be. At times like this, you just have to stay committed to what you’re working on, try to stay patient, and trust that the putts will start to drop.
We now have a couple of weeks off here in Florida, then we move on to a major stretch of tournaments. In fact, it’s four major championships in the space of five weeks! We start with the US Senior Open Championship at Saucon Valley in Pennsylvania, followed by the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship at Firestone. Then it’s the big one, the 150th Open Championship at the Home of Golf. That’s going to be an incredible week, a really special celebration of the game and this historic championship. Straight after that, we’re just a short hop to beautiful Gleneagles for the the Senior Open Championship.
In amongst the majors I’m excited to be involved in an event called the Icons Series, which is taking place at Liberty National in New York from June 30 to July 3. I’ll be captaining a celebrity and sporting legends Rest of the World team for three days of matchplay golf against a US team led by my good friend Freddie Couples.
It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ve got a great team, a wonderful venue, and some iconic sports men and woman who have excelled in their fields. Obviously this is going to be a new experience for them. Hopefully, with my experience in team events as a player and a captain, I can calm the nerves and help them channel their sporting prowess into a winning performance. I’m sure I’ll learn a thing or two from them, too. Anyway, it’s definitely one to look forward to it. Click here for more details.
In other news, there are a lot of exciting things happening at Els for Autism Foundation®. As you may know, in April, we broke ground on our newest building on campus in Jupiter, the Adult Services building. Our Golf Challenge Tournament series also kicked off that day and June is a big month for us; we have four tournaments this month of the 14 we have scheduled around the United States.
I wanted to extend my gratitude on behalf of Liezl and I, and everyone at Els for Autism®, to both Mitsubishi Electric Foundation and Honda Classic Cares. In May, the Mitsubishi Classic hosted a “Blue Out” on the Friday of the tournament at TPC Sugarloaf to honor autism acceptance and inclusion. It was great to see so many participate out on the course and in the crowd. Mitsubishi graciously had placed signage around the course as a call for donations to the Foundation, for us to continue the work we do for so many families each day. This includes the support of The Mitsubishi Electric Foundation who provides funding for our Employment Services Work Experience program through a grant award.
We also learned of being the recipient of a Honda Classic Cares grant and will soon receive a visit from the Honda team for a check presentation. Honda Classic has graciously donated $15,000 which will go directly to support our golf program at The Els Center of Excellence®. There are so many wonderful benefits for not only golf, but other sports activities for people on the spectrum and we are very excited to continue this work. I invite you to learn more about the Ernie Els #GameOn Autism Golf® program where we’ve partnered with The Leadbetter Academy to provide free training for golf instructors around the world on how to teach golf to individuals with autism utilizing our curriculum.
Over in South Africa, it’s a relatively quiet time of the year at Ernie Els Wines, although all the usual attractions are available including wine tasting and lunch at our restaurant, which has just launched its winter menu, including a T-Bone steak (pictured below) which would definitely get my attention! Check it out here where you’ll also find all the details for making reservations at the winery. It may be winter, but a warm welcome is guaranteed.