Theodore Ernest "Ernie" Els, born in Johannesburg on October 17, 1969, is a South African professional golfer. He has been among the world's top players since the mid-1990s. He plays on the European Tour as well as on the US PGA Tour. He has four major victories to his credit.
Always interested in sports, Els played rugby, cricket and tennis. His passion for golf began at the age of eight. By the age of 14, Ernie had already achieved a handicap of 0. The decision to concentrate on golf followed.
At the end of 1989, at the age of 20, Els became a professional golfer. Two years later, he won his first tournament in 1991 on South Africa's Sunshine Tour. In the course of the following years, he managed to earn more than sixty victories. With the exception of 2009, he did not have to register a winless year.
Els played for South Africa continuously in the Dunhill Cup from 1992 to 2000, which has not been played since 2001. His team won this competition twice. He played five times for his country in the World Cup, claiming two victories.
He suffered a setback in 2005: A torn ligament in his left knee, which he suffered during a sailing vacation in July, ended his golf season prematurely and cost Els his third consecutive European Tour Order of Merit win. The after-effects were still felt in 2006, when he was unable to play with his usual aplomb.
His golf swing is considered one of the most elegant among all professionals. By his own admission, his swing rhythm is comparatively slow, which means that upswing and downswing speeds are relatively low. He benefits from his height of over 1.90 meters, which gives him a comparatively large amount of strength. He is also very agile.
Strength and agility make his swing look very effortless and easy. This earned him the nickname "The Big Easy". His swing and the swing of his professional colleague and compatriot Retief Goosen were almost the same when he was young and are still very similar today.
Among the greatest successes during Ernie Els' career are Major victories at the US Open in 1994 and 1997 and at the Open Championship in 2002 and 2012, and a record seven wins at the World Match Play Championship at the Wentworth Club, considered the unofficial World Championship in hole play.
In addition, unmatched is the fact that he managed to achieve six successes three times in a row each (1994-96 and 2002-04). His victory by thirteen strokes at the 2005 BMW Asian Open in China is also a record.
By winning the Tournament of Champions in 2003 with 31 strokes under par, he became the first player to finish a tournament over 72 holes with 30 strokes or better.
Els is known for showing little emotion during his game. Therefore, he always looks as if he is not interested in the play of his competitors during the tournament rounds.
For example, he lost by one stroke to Phil Mickelson at the 2004 Masters. While the latter holed his winning putt for birdie, Els - seemingly completely unconcerned - tasted an apple.
Els has his own foundation (The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation, founded in 1999), which supports underprivileged children in South Africa and promotes talent for golf.
Ernie Els has long resided in Wentworth, west of London, directly on the 16th hole of the Wentworth Club's West Course. Since 2008, he has been living with his family in the south of Florida. Besides the optimal training possibilities in winter, better care possibilities for his son Ben were the reason for the change of location.
Ernie Els has been a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame since September 2010. In addition to his professional career, Els is very successful in golf course design and has designed golf courses in China, USA, Dubai and South Africa. Finally, he runs a winery under the Ernie Els Wines label in his native South Africa, which now produces red wines and white wines.
[Sources: https://ernieels.com & Wikipedia]
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