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Ernie Els      

Former World #1 Professional Golfer

Ernie Els is one of the most successful golfers in the history of the game, having won more than 60 tournaments since turning professional in 1989, including two US Opens and an Open Championship, and a record seven World Matchplay titles. The international scope of Ernie's victories is second to none. He is one of golf’s truly global players.

Ernie was born in South Africa on 17th October 1969. As a youngster, he was outstanding in soccer, cricket, rugby and tennis. At the age of 13 he won a significant regional tennis event, the Eastern Transvaal Junior Championships. A year later aged 14 and playing off a scratch handicap, Ernie won the world junior golf championship in San Diego, California. Ernie was awarded his Junior Springbok colors in 1984, the State President Sports Award in 1987, and in 1988 his full Springbok colors. He is one of six golfers to twice win both the U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

Other highlights in Els' career include topping the 2003 and 2004 European Tour Order of Merit (money list), and winning the World Match Play Championship a record seven times. He was the leading career money winner on the European Tour until overtaken by Lee Westwood in 2011, and was the first member of the tour to earn over €25,000,000 from European Tour events. He has held the number one spot in the Official World Golf Ranking and until 2013 held the record for weeks ranked in the top ten with 788. Els rose to fifteenth in the world rankings after winning the 2012 Open Championship. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2010, on his first time on the ballot, and was inducted in May 2011.

When not playing, Els has a golf course design business, a charitable foundation which supports golf among underprivileged youth in South Africa, and a highly regarded winemaking business. He has written a popular golf instructional column in Golf Digest magazine for several years.

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