Ernie Els
Professional golfer
Ernie Els
Theodore Ernest "Ernie" Els is a South African professional golfer, who has been one of the top professional players in the world since the mid-1990s. A former World No. 1, he is known as "The Big Easy" due to his imposing physical stature along with his fluid, seemingly effortless golf swing. Among his numerous victories are three major championships: the U.S.
Biography
Ernie Els's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Ernie Els from around the web
Ernie Els Joins Trump Foursome, Hears About It From Pals
Wall Street Journal - 8 days
The South African joined Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a round of golf on Saturday, and caught some needling on social media and from his buddies
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Wall Street Journal article
Els backs Tiger to gain strength from roaring forties
Yahoo News - about 1 month
By John O'Brien SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Four-time major winner Ernie Els believes age is no barrier to success for Tiger Woods as the American great embarks on his latest comeback attempt after crippling injuries have blighted his last three seasons. Woods experienced mixed results on his return to action after 15 months out in December but the 41-year-old 14-times major winner has committed to a busy schedule, starting at next week's Farmers Insurance Open, as he targets a return to full-time play. There have been a few cases where we have won majors in our 40s, it doesn't happen that often but it does happen," Els, who was 42 when he won the 2012 British Open, told reporters on Wednesday.
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Garcia hoping for Singapore slingshot to new campaign
Yahoo News - about 1 month
By John O'Brien SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Sergio Garcia enjoyed a hard-earned winter break after a hectic 2016 and the Spaniard is now fit, fresh and raring to go when he opens his campaign at the Singapore Open this week in a region where he has enjoyed plenty of success. Garcia has won five events in as many countries on the Asian Tour and Singapore could become a sixth should he navigate the demanding Serapong Course better than a field of rivals that includes three-times tournament winner Adam Scott and Ernie Els. "I've always felt comfortable coming to Asia, I've done very well here in the tournaments I have played," the world number 15 told reporters at Sentosa Golf Club on Tuesday.
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Yahoo News article
McIlroy keeps promise to line up in South African Open
Yahoo News - about 1 month
Rory McIlroy will be keeping a promise to fellow major champion Ernie Els when he lines up in the South African Open this week as the European Tour begins a new calendar year. Els is player-host of the second oldest national Open championship in world golf and extracted the commitment when he played in the 2014 Irish Open, which is hosted by McIlroy’s Foundation. “Rory was very serious about coming to South Africa when I told him he ‘owed me one’ at the Irish Open,” said Els.
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Yahoo News article
On Golf: Ernie Els Puts Protocol Aside to Give Phil Mickelson a Chance for History
NYTimes - 7 months
Els decided to putt out of order on the 18th hole at the British Open so Mickelson could focus before trying to record the lowest round in a major.
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NYTimes article
Late Lytham lapse still haunts McDowell
Yahoo News - 8 months
By Tony Jimenez TROON, Scotland (Reuters) - European Ryder Cup hero Graeme McDowell goes into this week's 145th British Open looking to make amends for the day he let victory "slip through his fingers" in the 2012 edition at Royal Lytham. The Northern Irishman was in the thick of things toward the top of the leaderboard with nine holes to go four years ago but had to make do with a share of fifth place behind eventual winner Ernie Els after dropping four shots on the back nine. McDowell featured in the same final-round group as Adam Scott who dominated the tournament from day one before suffering an agonizing late slump that saw the Australian toss away a four-stroke lead over the closing four holes.
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Yahoo News article
Hurley rises from tragedy to take emotional first PGA triumph
Yahoo News - 8 months
Billy Hurley rose from a family tragedy to complete a shocking triumph by capturing the National for his first PGA title, a tribute to his late father Willard. Hometown hero Hurley, whose golf-teacher father died last August of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, was on Sunday part of a tearful family celebration at Congressional Country Club in suburban Washington after some support from playing partner Ernie Els, a four-time major winner from South Africa. "Ernie said to me after I holed the last putt, 'I think your dad is looking down and is really proud of you,'" Hurley said.
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Golf-U.S. PGA Tour Quicken Loans National scores
Yahoo News - 8 months
June 26 (Gracenote) - Scores from the U.S. PGA Tour Quicken Loans National at the par-71 course on Sunday in Bethesda, Maryland -17 Billy Hurley III (U.S.) 66 65 67 69 -14 Vijay Singh (Fiji) 68 66 71 65 -13 Bill Haas (U.S.) 66 69 68 68 Jon Rahm (Spain) 64 67 70 70 -12 Ernie Els (South Africa) 66 69 65 72 -10 Webb Simpson (U.S.) 67 68 68 71 -9 Harold Varner III (U.S.) 66 69 70 70 -8 Robert Garrigus (U.S.) 67 69 70 70 Francesco Molinari (Italy) 69 73 69 65 -7 Smylie Kaufman (U.S.) 67 73 70 67 Rob Oppenheim (U.S.) 69 71 69 68 -6 David Hearn (Canada) 70 67 72 69 Chris Kirk (U.S. ...
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Els surges to second but Hurley leads at PGA National
Yahoo News - 8 months
Ernie Els, a four-time major winner trying to end a three-year title drought, fired a six-under par 65 and leaped into second place after Saturday's third round of the PGA National. "The way I'm hitting it now, the way I'm swinging, I'm getting more confidence," Els said. Els finished on 13-under par 200 after 54 holes, two strokes behind leader Billy Hurley, a 607th-ranked resident of nearby Annapolis who fired a bogey-free 67 to stand on 198, a three-round event record, in search of his first PGA crown.
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Yahoo News article
Singh, Els lurk while Rahm, Hurley share PGA lead
Yahoo News - 8 months
Fiji's Vijay Singh, trying to become the PGA's oldest winner at age 53, and Ernie Els, trying to end a three-year title drought, moved into contention Friday at the National. Unlikely co-leaders Jon Rahm, a 21-year-old Spaniard in his professional debut, and Billy Hurley, a 607th-ranked local product seeking his first PGA win, shared the top spot on 11-under 131 after 36 holes of the Tiger Woods-hosted event at Congressional Country Club. "Us old guys can still play a bit," Els said.
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Yahoo News article
Oakmont 'survival' test looms at U.S. Open: Els
Yahoo News - 8 months
Ernie Els speaks from experience when he says that this week's U.S. Open at fabled Oakmont Country Club will prove to be a survival test. The strapping South African with the silky swing, who is nicknamed "The Big Easy", won his maiden major and first U.S. tournament title in a 20-hole playoff over Scotsman Colin Montgomerie and Loren Roberts at the 1994 U.S. Open at Oakmont. Oakmont has changed over the decades, said four-time major winner Els, but the fast-running layout outside Pittsburgh hosting its record ninth U.S. Open remains a daunting challenge.
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Ernie Els’s Inner Voice Was Quieted When His Son Was Slow to Speak
NYTimes - 9 months
Els was once viewed as the future of golf, but his son’s autism made him look instead to a better future for children with the condition.
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NYTimes article
Day, Spieth and McIlroy set for US Open showdown
Yahoo News - 9 months
World number one Jason Day will lead golf's young stars in seeking to join a who's who of champions produced by Oakmont when the rugged course in Pittsburgh hosts the 2016 US Open next week. Johnny Miller delivered a sublime 63 to win the 1973 US Open there, where South African Ernie Els captured the first of his four major titles in a US Open playoff in 1994. Reigning US Open champion Jordan Spieth, recalling Argentinian Angel Cabrera's "ball-striking clinic" en route to the title in 2007 -- the last time Oakmont hosted the championship, said the course was not one to be trifled with.
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Yahoo News article
Wentworth going back to original design, says tour chief
Yahoo News - 9 months
By Tony Jimenez VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - The bulldozers will arrive at Wentworth next month as organizers begin their bid to restore the BMW PGA Championship venue to its former glory, European Tour supremo Keith Pelley said on Sunday. The iconic layout on the outskirts of London was originally designed by Harry Colt in 1926 but has undergone a complete facelift from four-times major champion Ernie Els in the last decade. The changes have not met with unanimous approval and top players such as Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Padraig Harrington chose to give the tour's flagship event a miss this year for a variety of reasons.
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Yahoo News article
In role reversal, a birdie gets Els
Yahoo News - 9 months
(Reuters) - It is safe to say Ernie Els did not have the happiest start to his final round at the Players Championship on Sunday after the South African bogeyed the first and a bird defecated on him as he bent over to pick the ball out of the hole. "I was standing right next to him and it missed me and it got him,” said playing partner Justin Rose, who carded a six-under-par 66 for the second-best round of the day. Rose said Els managed to see the funny side of the incident.
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Yahoo News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Ernie Els
    FORTIES
  • 2016
    At the 2016 Masters Tournament, Els' putting was again the source of negative publicity when he six-putted from 3 feet on his opening hole.
    More Details Hide Details Els recorded a 9 on the hole and ended up shooting 80–73 and missing the cut. After the Masters, Els thanked his fans on his website for their support and was admittedly embarrassed by his putting performance. Els is also responsible for the refinement and modernisation of the West Course, Wentworth-Virginia Water, England, which took place in 2006. Courses under construction include: Unlike most of his contemporaries, Els is known for his willingness to participate in tournaments all around the world, having played regularly in European Tour-sanctioned events in Asia, Australasia, and his native country of South Africa. He says that his globe-trotting schedule is in recognition of the global nature of golf. This has caused some friction with the PGA Tour, an organisation that would prefer Els to play more tournaments in the United States. In late 2004, Tim Finchem, the director of the PGA Tour, wrote quite a firm letter to Els asking him to do so, but Els publicised and rejected this request. The PGA Tour's attitude caused considerable offence in the golfing world outside of North America.
    Els' struggles with short putts, or the "yips," became the draw of much media attention in early 2016.
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    In preparation for the anchored putter ban in 2016, Els switched back to the short putter in late 2015.
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  • 2015
    Els' struggles continued into 2015 when he made only 10 cuts on the PGA Tour.
    More Details Hide Details He finished a 173rd in the FedEx Cup and failed to qualify for the playoffs.
  • 2014
    Els struggled to find his form throughout the 2014 season.
    More Details Hide Details He finished 4th at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February, 5th at The Barclays and 7th at the PGA Championship, but struggled with missed cuts, including a missed cut at the Masters in April.
  • 2013
    In June 2013, Els won for the first time since the 2012 Open Championship at the BMW International Open in Munich, Germany.
    More Details Hide Details He claimed a wire-to-wire victory with a one-stroke win over Thomas Bjørn for his 28th European Tour title. Els moved up to 14th from 20th in the world rankings after the win.
  • 2012
    Els surprised the golfing world by winning the 2012 Open Championship in July by birding the 72nd hole.
    More Details Hide Details Adam Scott led by four shots after a birdie at the 14th hole, but bogeyed the final four holes to miss a playoff with Els by one stroke. Els' win rejuvenated his career and earned him 5 year exemptions to the other 3 majors. Els became the eighth player to win major tournaments in three different decades, joining his countryman Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Billy Casper, Raymond Floyd, John Henry Taylor and Harry Vardon. Els' win also marked the third major champion out of the previous four major championships to be won with a type of long putter. His win reignited the controversy over the legality of long or anchored putters in golf.
    Els was next in contention at the Transitions Championship, where he needed a win to qualify for the 2012 Masters.
    More Details Hide Details Els led the tournament for most of the final round and had the lead outright until the 16th hole. However, he finished the tournament bogey-bogey missing a short three footer on the last hole to make a playoff. The tournament was eventually won by Luke Donald. In April, Els failed to qualify for the Masters for the first time since 1993. He was ranked 58th in the world prior to the tournament (the top 50 are given automatic invitations). Ultimately, Els' unsuccessful bids to qualify for the Masters was viewed as the likely end of his competitiveness on the PGA Tour.
    Els started the 2012 season in his home country at the Volvo Golf Champions where he finished in a tie for second place after he and Retief Goosen lost out in a playoff to Branden Grace.
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    Els rose to 15th in the world rankings after winning the 2012 Open Championship.
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  • 2010
    After his successful 2010 season, Els struggled to find his form in 2011.
    More Details Hide Details He ultimately dropped out of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time since 1993.
    Els finally did break his winless streak by capturing the WGC-CA Championship at Doral in 2010, winning by four strokes over fellow countryman Charl Schwartzel.
    More Details Hide Details It was Els's second WGC tournament title. The victory also saw Els overtake Colin Montgomerie to become the career money leader on the European Tour. Els then won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill two weeks later. It was his 18th PGA Tour victory, and his second in as many starts. The win at Bay Hill also vaulted Els to the top of the FedEx Cup standings. He held the top spot for 22 consecutive weeks. In June, Els almost captured his third U.S. Open title at Pebble Beach. Els briefly held a share of the lead after birding the sixth hole, but was derailed by a stretch of bogey, double bogey, bogey on 9,10, and 11. Els finished the tournament in solo 3rd. Els capped his year by winning the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in October, with a one stroke victory over David Toms, and also capturing the South African Open title by beating Retief Goosen by one shot.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details When not playing, Els has a golf course design business, a charitable foundation which supports golf among underprivileged youngsters in South Africa, and a highly regarded wine-making business. He has written a popular golf instructional column in Golf Digest magazine for several years. Growing up just east of Johannesburg in Kempton Park, South Africa, he played rugby union, cricket, tennis, and, starting at age 8, golf. He was a skilled junior tennis player and won the Eastern Transvaal Junior Championships at age 13. Els first learned the game of golf from his father Neels, a trucking executive, at the Kempton Park Country Club. He was soon playing better than his father (and his older brother, Dirk), and by the age of 14 he was a scratch handicap. It was around this time that he decided to focus exclusively on golf.
  • THIRTIES
  • 2009
    Note that the HSBC Champions did not become a WGC event until 2009.
    More Details Hide Details These figures are from the respective tour's official sites. Note that there is double counting of money earned (and wins) in the majors and World Golf Championships since they became official events on both tours. Professional
    On 8 November 2009, Els almost ended his year-long slump by shooting a course-tying record 9-under 63 in the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions to finish at 16-under par 272, a stroke back of Phil Mickelson who finished with a 17-under 271 total, including a final round of 3-under 69.
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  • 2008
    During Els 2008 Masters press conference Els said the change is in an effort to tighten his swing, shorten his swing, and get a fresh perspective.
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    On 8 April 2008, Els officially announced that he was switching swing coaches from David Leadbetter (whom Els had worked with since 1990) to noted swing coach Butch Harmon.
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    On 2 March 2008, Els won the Honda Classic contested at PGA National's Championship Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
    More Details Hide Details Els shot a final round 67 in tough windy conditions, which was enough to give him the win by one stroke over Luke Donald. The win marked the end of a three and a half-year-long stretch without a win on the PGA Tour for Els. The win was also his 16th victory on the PGA Tour.
  • 2007
    When he missed the cut by two strokes at the 2007 Masters Tournament, Els ended tour-leading consecutive cut streaks on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour.
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    At the start of the 2007 season Ernie Els laid out a three-year battle plan to challenge Tiger Woods as world number one. "I see 2007 as the start of a three-year plan where I totally re-dedicate myself to the game," Els told his official website.
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  • 2005
    Despite missing several months of the 2005 season due to the injury, Els won the second event on his return, the Dunhill Championship.
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    In July 2005, Els injured his left knee while sailing with his family in the Mediterranean.
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  • 2004
    On the PGA Tour, his streak began at the 2004 The Players Championship (46 events) and on the European Tour it began at the 2000 Johnnie Walker Classic (82 events) Els has often been compared to Greg Norman in the sense that both men’s careers could be looked back on and think what could have been.
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    2004 was the start of the "Big Five Era", which is used in describing the era in golf where Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Phil Mickelson dominated the game of golf.
    More Details Hide Details The five switched up and down the top five positions in the World Golf Ranking; most notably Vijay Singh's derailment of Tiger Woods as the best golfer in the world. The five stayed, for the most part, in the top five spots from 2004 until the start of 2007. Nine majors were won between them, many fighting against each other head to head.
    2004 was another successful year as Els won 6 times on both tours, including big wins at Memorial, WGC-American Express Championship and his sixth World Match Play Championship, a new record.
    More Details Hide Details His success did not stop there. Els showed remarkable consistency in the Majors but lost to Phil Mickelson in the Masters when Mickelson birdied the 18th for the title, finished ninth in the U.S. Open after playing in the final group with friend and fellow countryman Retief Goosen and surprisingly lost in a playoff in the Open to the then unknown Todd Hamilton. Els had a putt for birdie on the final hole of regulation for the Open at Royal Troon, but he missed the putt and lost in the playoff. Els ended the major season with a fourth-place finish in the PGA Championship, where a three-putt on the 72nd hole would cost him a place in the playoff. In total, Els had 16 top-10 finishes, a second European Order of Merit title in succession and a second-place finish on the United States money list.
  • 2003
    In 2003 he was voted 37th on the SABC3's Great South Africans.
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    2003 gave Els his first European Tour Order of Merit.
    More Details Hide Details Although playing fewer events than his competitors Els won four times and had three runners-up. He also performed well in the United States with back to back victories at the Mercedes Championship – where he set the all-time PGA Tour 72-hole record for most strokes under par at 31 under – and Sony Open and achieved top-20 spots in all four majors, including a fifth-place finish at the U.S Open and sixth-place finishes at both the Masters and PGA Championship. To top off the season Els won the World Match Play title for a record-tying fifth time.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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 million Euros 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.
  • 2002
    2002 was arguably Els's best year, which started with a win at the Heineken Classic at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
    More Details Hide Details Then went to America and outplayed World Number one Tiger Woods to lift the Genuity Championship title. The premier moment of the season was surely his Open Championship triumph in very tough conditions at Muirfield. Els overcame a four-man playoff to take home the famous Claret Jug trophy for the first time, also quieting his critics about his mental toughness. The South African also won his fourth World Match Play title, along with his third Nedbank Challenge in the last four years, dominating a world-class field and winning by 8 shots.
  • 2001
    Els had a disappointing 2001 season, failing to win a US PGA tour event for the first time since 1994 although he ended the year with nine second-place finishes.
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  • 2000
    2000 started in historic fashion for Els being given a special honour by the Board of Directors of the European Tour awarding him with honorary life membership of the European Tour because of his two U.S. Opens and three World Match Play titles. 2000 was the year of runners-up for Els; with three runner-up finishes in the Majors (Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship) and seven second-place finishes in tournaments worldwide.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1998
    Els nearly won the World Match Play Championship for a fourth consecutive year, but lost to Vijay Singh in the final. 1998 and 1999 continued to be successful years for Els with 4 wins on both the PGA and European tours.
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    Els married his wife Liezl in 1998 in Cape Town and they have two children, Samantha and Ben.
    More Details Hide Details In 2008 after Els started to display an "Autism Speaks" logo on his golf bag it was announced that their then five-year-old son was autistic. Their main residence is at the Wentworth Estate near Wentworth Golf Club in the south of England. However, they also split time between South Africa and their family home in Jupiter, Florida, in order to get better treatment for Ben's autism.
  • 1997
    1997 was a career year for Els first winning his second U.S. Open (once again over Colin Montgomerie) this time at Congressional Country Club, making him the first foreign player since Alex Smith (1906, 1910) to win the U.S. Open twice.
    More Details Hide Details He defended his Buick Classic title and added the Johnnie Walker Classic to his list of victories.
  • 1996
    Their disappointments have ranged from nerves, bad luck and simply being outplayed. 1996 was the year where Norman collapsed in the Masters and Els in the PGA Championship.
    More Details Hide Details Els has finished runner-up in six majors. He has finished runner-up to Tiger Woods more than any other golfer and has often been described as having the right game to finally be the golfer to beat Woods in a major.
    In 1996, Els won his third straight World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, defeating Vijay Singh in the final 3 & 2.
    More Details Hide Details No player in history had ever managed to win three successive titles in the one-on-one tournament. Els finished the year with a win at his home tournament at the South African Open.
  • 1994
    In 1994 Els won his first major championship at the U.S. Open.
    More Details Hide Details Els was tied with Colin Montgomerie and Loren Roberts after 72 holes and they went to an 18-hole playoff the next day. In spite of starting the playoff bogey-triple bogey, Els was able to match Roberts' score of 74. Els birdied the second hole of sudden death to win his first U.S. Open title. Els brought his game all around the world in his young career winning the Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour, and the Toyota World Match Play Championship defeating once again Colin Montgomerie 4 & 2. The following year, Els defended his World Match Play Championship, defeating Steve Elkington 3 & 1. Els won the GTE Byron Nelson Classic in the United States then headed back home to South Africa and won twice more.
    Among his 71 career victories are four major championships: the U.S. Open in 1994 at Oakmont and in 1997 at Congressional, and The Open Championship in 2002 at Muirfield and in 2012 at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
    More Details Hide Details He is one of six golfers to twice win both the U.S. Open and The Open Championship.
  • 1993
    In 1993, Els won his first tournament outside of South Africa at the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan.
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  • 1991
    He won the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit in the 1991/92 and 1994/95 seasons.
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    Els won his first professional tournament in 1991 on the Southern Africa Tour (today the Sunshine Tour).
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1989
    In 1989, Els won the South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship and turned professional the same year.
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  • 1984
    Els first achieved prominence in 1984, when he won the Junior World Golf Championship in the Boys 13–14 category.
    More Details Hide Details Phil Mickelson was second to Els that year. Els won the South African Amateur Championship a few months after his 17th birthday, becoming the youngest-ever winner of that event, breaking the record which had been held by Gary Player.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1969
    Born on October 17, 1969.
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