Ernie secures debut win on Champions Tour

09 Mar

Got to say it feels great to be posting a report this morning having experienced that winning feeling on a Sunday afternoon again. It’s been a while.

The Hoag Classic in California was my third Champions Tour start. You’ll recall me losing a playoff to Miguel Angel Jimenez in my first event, the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii. I was tied for 34th last week in the Cologuard Classic. Then, having got myself into a great position at the Hoag after rounds of 66 and 64, this was an opportunity I didn’t want to mess up!

It was pretty tight out there on Sunday. I felt a little uncomfortable on the greens – you know, just didn’t have that free-flowing feeling. But I played some good golf; hit some good shots at the right time. I was listening to the crowd coming down the stretch. Freddie’s a hometown man and there wasn’t any big roar on 18, so I knew he hadn’t made birdie. Robert Karlsson hit it over the green and didn’t make birdie, either. So then I just had to survive. Hit a really good second shot and that was that. Very pleased, obviously! I had to work hard for it and that’s a good thing to do, to work hard for something. It’s better than when a win kind of falls into your lap.

Anyway, I’m glad the first one’s over with and we can move on now and it gets more comfortable after this. As I said before, it feels like I’m a rookie again. I’ve got some energy and I’m really excited about this next phase of my career. These guys are very relaxed, but very competitive. They can still play, so you’ve got to make a lot of birdies, and shoot some good numbers, to win tournaments.

Moving on, we have one item of news from ASM, an affiliate company of the Els Group. We’re delighted to announce that Bryan Habana, a member of the World Cup winning Springbok team in 2007, joins us as the rugby ambassador for South Africa. I’ve know Bryan for a number of years and he really is an inspirational character both on and off the pitch, so it’s amazing to have him on our team. He’ll be an incredible role model for all our young athletes.

We’ve been partnered with ASM for a few years now and it’s producing wonderful results. In 2019 alone, ASM placed 173 students from 48 different countries at some of the top colleges in the US in sports as divers as soccer, golf, rugby, tennis, basketball, track and field, swimming, diving, rowing, football, baseball, volleyball and ice hockey. ASM also signed agreements with Curro Schools in South Africa, as well as Sir Nick Faldo’s academy. Everyone at the Els Group and obviously at ASM is proud to be able to help these kids fulfil their dreams by competing against the best in the world and, more importantly, receiving a good education.

Finally, on the Els for Autism front, the 2020 Golf Challenge schedule has been announced. It’s been a huge success story for us, raising more than $24 million since we launched it in 2011. Liezl and I are truly humbled by the support we’ve had from golfers, partners and donors. As always, we must give a special mention to organising sponsors SAP and Wine Spectator for their continued support. This year’s schedule has some wonderful venues and iconic courses. We’d love you to join us somewhere along the line. Please click here for more information.

Meanwhile, over in South Africa our latest golf series is well underway. Fun and fundraising for autism is the order of the day. You’ll see the full list of events on the poster below, along with all the information you need in order to get in touch and take part. These golf days are incredibly popular and played on some of the country’s finest courses. Hopefully our team will welcome you to one of these events soon. I know you’ll have a great day.

Okay, that’s it for now. Follow me on social media by clicking on the icons below.

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