Ernie’s Latest News – 9 October

09 Oct

I thought Johann Rupert and the rest of the team did another wonderful job hosting last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. It’s such a great week for the players and the fans. I love being a part of it.

Obviously I’d have loved also to be in the mix come Sunday, but I made a slow start at the Old Course on Thursday and then kind of got stuck in neutral from thereon. I did shoot 2-under on Friday at Carnoustie, the toughest of these three great links courses, but as I said the momentum wasn’t really there for me. Suffering with a heavy cold all week didn’t help things, to be honest.

Still, hats off to everyone at Alfred Dunhill and thanks again to the fans for the amazing support that we get every year in this event. Congrats to Tyrrell Hatton on a successful defence and to Jamie Donaldson and Keiran McManus who won the team prize. Also deserving of a mention is the charitable ethos that runs deep in this tournament. Ever since its inception in its current format in 2001, the Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation has distributed the funds raised at this event to support dozens of good causes. That has to be applauded…and long may it continue.

So, moving on. This week we were due to fly out to Kuala Lumpur and tee it up in the CIMB Classic. I was really looking forward to that, but unfortunately I need to attend to some urgent family matters back home in Florida. That means I’ll be back in action at the following week’s CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES on Jeju Island in Korea, the first PGA TOUR event in that country and one that I’m excited to be playing in. That will start the ball rolling on my 2017/18 PGA TOUR season.

Okay then, let’s wrap things up with a quick update on events at Els for Autism. First, to the Drive to SA Open series, which has made a couple more stops since my last report. I hear we had a strong turnout at Mount Edgcombe on 28 September and, despite the wet weather, everyone had a good time and there was some high scoring. Big thanks to our hosts Desiree Stone and Micky Hough; also to our sponsors for the day, Bay Union, and to Nick Keary for his support.

We then paid a long-awaited visit to St Francis Links, an event that was originally scheduled in June but postponed due to bad weather. Our old friends Jeff and Liezl Clause helped make this another special day. The weather was amazing and the course looked superb. I definitely need to get there some day and play the course. Congrats to our winners on the two days, Johnn Smale & Mike Du Toit at Mount Edgcombe and Frank Capstick & Allen Carstens at St Francis.

Meanwhile, our 2017 Golf Challenge tournament schedule in the US has run its course and we have our sights set on the Grand Finale at The Breakers Hotel in Florida later this month. Our fundraising target at the start of the season was $2.5 million and we’ve already overtaken that. In fact, we’re now closing-in on the $3 million mark, which is incredible news.

We’re so grateful to all of the clubs that have supported us by hosting regional events and, of course, to all the donors and golfers who have taken part. The golf days have all been a big success, with Liberty National topping the list with more than $250,000 raised on the day! The Philadelphia Country Club and Loxahatchee Club were not far behind that mark, either. Thanks also to our family of sponsors, in particular SAP, Wine Spectator, RBC and TaylorMade. We couldn’t do this without you guys.

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

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