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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Birth: October 17, 1969
Nationality: South African
Turned Professional: 1989
Current Tour: European Tour (joined 1992); PGA Tour (joined 1994)


Background & Professional Career Bio:
By the age of eight, Ernie El’s was the consummate athlete, playing cricket, tennis, rugby and golf. He credits his father with helping him to decide to concentrate on golf, and at the age of 13, won the Eastern Transvaal Junior Championship at 13. He went on to win the Junior World Gold Championship in the 13-14 category. He turned professional in 1989 and began to gather wins on the South African Tour (Sunshine Tour) in 1991.
Els is known for his graceful, elegant swing despite his large stature, giving him the nickmane “The Big Easy”. With this signature style, he has won 61 tournaments (PGA Tour 15; European Tour 20 (including 2 co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour); others 28). In 2003 and 2004 he finished at the top of the European Tour Order of Merit List, and has held the number one spot in the Official World Golf Rankings. Els holds the record for winning the World Matchplay Championships six times, and enjoys participating on a regular basis in European Tour events around the world.
When not playing golf, Els is involved in course design and has signature courses at Mission Hills Golf Club, The Savannah Course (Shenzhen, China),Whiskey Creek – (Ijamsville, Maryland, USA), and Oubaai, (Garden Route, South Africa). Hoakalei Country Club (Honolulu, Hawaii), The Dunes (Dubai, UAE) and Gardener Ross Golf and Country Estate (Gauteng, South Africa) are currently under construction. In 2006 he established the “Friendship Cup” – a matchplay tournament in Ryder Cup format, where his foundation (The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation*) plays against the Tiger Woods Foundation. Els also has been recognized for his highly acclaimed 2000 Engelbrecht-Els wine.

*The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation was established in 1999. It has the objective of identifying youths which show talent and potential in the game of golf from under-privileged backgrounds. It provides educational assistance amongst other moral and financial help in order for these youths to reach their full potential.






Professional Wins: 62 (PGA Tour 18; European Tour 25 (including 2 co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour); others 29)

· 1994 (1) U.S. Open
· 1995 (1) GTE Byron Nelson Golf Classic
· 1996 (1) Buick Classic
· 1997 (2) U.S. Open, Buick Classic
· 1998 (1) Bay Hill Invitational
· 1999 (1) Nissan Open
· 2000 (1) The International
· 2002 (2) Genuity Championship, The Open Championship
· 2003 (2) Mercedes Championships, Sony Open in Hawaii
· 2004 (3) Sony Open in Hawaii, Memorial Tournament, WGC-American Express Championship
. 2008 (1) Honda Classic
· 1994 Dubai Desert Classic
· 1995 Lexington South African PGA
· 1997 Johnnie Walker Classic
· 1998 South African Open
· 1999 Alfred Dunhill South African PGA
· 2000 Standard Life Loch Lomond
· 2002 Heineken Classic, Dubai Desert Classic, 131st Open Championship
· 2003 Heineken Classic, Johnnie Walker Classic, Barclays Scottish Open, Omega Championship
European Masters, HSBC World Matchplay Championship
· 2004 Heineken Classic, HSBC World Matchplay Championship
· 2005 Dubai Desert Classic, Qatar Masters, BMW Asian Open
· 2006 Dunhill Championship (2005 calendar year, 2006 European Tour season)
. 2007 (2) South African Airways Open (2006 calendar year, 2007 European Tour season), HSBC World Match Play Championship
. 2008 British Open
. 2010 WGC-CA Championship
. 2010 Arnold Palmer Invitational

European Tour

. 1994 Dubai Desert Classic
. 1994 U.S. Open
. 1995 Lexington South African PGA Championship
. 1997 Johnnie Walker Classic
. 1997 U.S. Open
. 1998 South African Open
. 1999 Alfred Dunhill South African PGA Championship
. 2000 Standard Life Loch Lomond
. 2002 Heineken Classic
. 2002 Dubai Desert Classic
. 2002 U.S. Open
. 2003 Heineken Classic
. 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic
. 2003 Barclays Scottish Open
. 2003 Omega European Masters
. 2004 Heineken Classic
. 2004 WGC-American Express Championship
. 2004 HSBC World Match Play Championship
. 2005 Dubai Desert Classic
. 2005 Qatar Masters
. 2005 BMW Asian Open
. 2005 Dunhill Championship
. 2006 South African Airways Open
. 2007 HSBC World Match Play Championship
. 2010 WGC-CA Championship

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The Open counts as a win on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour. His two U.S. Opens do not count as European Tour wins because the three U.S. based majors did not become part of the European Tour's official schedule until 1998.

Most of the wins up to 1992 were Sunshine Tour events. Most of those from 1994 onwards are in unofficial events.

Sunshine Tour
. 1991 (1) Amatola Sun Classic
. 1992 (6) Protea Assurance South African Open, Lexington South African PGA Championship, South African Masters, Hollard Royal Swazi Sun Classic, First National Bank Players Championship, Goodyear Classic
. 1995 (2) Bell's Cup, Lexington South African PGA Championship (co-sanctioned with European Tour)
. 1996 (1) Philips South African Open
. 1998 (1) South African Open (co-sanctioned with European Tour)
. 1999 (1) Alfred Dunhill South African PGA Championship (co-sanctioned with European Tour)
. 2001 (1) Vodacom Players Championship
. 2005 (1) Dunhill Championship (co-sanctioned with European Tour, 2006 season)
. 2006 (1) South African Airways Open (co-sanctioned with European Tour, 2007 season)

Other Wins
. 1993 (1) Dunlop Phoenix (Japan Golf Tour)
. 1994 (3) Toyota World Match Play Championship (unofficial money European Tour event), Sarazen World Open, Johnnie Walker World Golf Championship
. 1995 (1) Toyota World Match Play Championship (unofficial money European Tour event)
. 1996 (1) Toyota World Match Play Championship (unofficial money European Tour event)
. 1997 (1) PGA Grand Slam of Golf (unofficial money PGA Tour event)
. 1999 (1) Nedbank Million Dollar Challenge (unofficial money Sunshine Tour event)
. 2000 (1) Nedbank Golf Challenge (unofficial money Sunshine Tour event)
. 2002 (2) Nedbank Golf Challenge (unofficial money Sunshine Tour event), Cisco World Match Play Championship (unofficial money European Tour event)
. 2003 (1) HSBC World Match Play Championship (unofficial money European Tour event)
. 2004 (1) Nelson Mandela Invitational (unofficial money Sunshine Tour event; with Vincent Tshabalala)
. 2008 Hassan II Golf Trophy




Majors:
U.S. Open (1994, 1997);
The Open Championship (2002)
Teams
· Alfred Dunhill Cup
1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 (winners), 1998 (winners), 1999, 2000
· World Cup
1992, 1993, 1996 (Individual and team winners), 1997, 2001 (winners)
· Presidents Cup
1996, 1998 (Winners), 2000, 2003 (Draw)


Awards:
European Tour Order of Merit winner 2003, 2004;
European Tour Golfer of the Year 1994, 2002, 2003;
PGA Tour Rookie of the Year 1994;
Sunshine Tour Order of Merit winner 1991/92, 1994/95

2008 Ranked 9th in the tour.

PGA Earnings $38,841,663
 

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