Theodore Ernest Els (/ˈɛls/; born 17 October 1969) is a South African professional golfer. A former World No. 1, he is known as "The Big Easy" due to his imposing physical stature (he stands 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)) along with his fluid golf swing. 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.[2] He is one of six golfers to twice win both the U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

Ernie Els
Photo Ernie Els cropped.jpg
Els in 2009
Personal information
Full nameTheodore Ernest Els
NicknameThe Big Easy
Born (1969-10-17) 17 October 1969 (age 50)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight210 lb (95 kg; 15 st)
Nationality South Africa
ResidenceWentworth, England, UK;
George, Western Cape, South Africa;
Jupiter, Florida, USA
SpouseLiezl (m. 1998)
Turned professional1989
Current tour(s)European Tour (joined 1992)
PGA Tour (joined 1994)
PGA Tour Champions
(joined 2019)
Professional wins71
Highest ranking1 (22 June 1997)[1]
(9 weeks)
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour19
European Tour28 (7th all time)
Japan Golf Tour1
Sunshine Tour16 (9th all time)
Best results in major championships
(wins: 4)
Masters Tournament2nd: 2000, 2004
PGA Championship3rd/T3: 1995, 2007
U.S. OpenWon: 1994, 1997
The Open ChampionshipWon: 2002, 2012
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame2011 (member page)
PGA Tour
Rookie of the Year
European Tour
Order of Merit winner
2003, 2004
European Tour
Player of the Year
1994, 2002, 2003
Sunshine Tour
Order of Merit winner
1991/92, 1994/95
Payne Stewart Award2015
Old Tom Morris Award2018

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.[3][4] 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.[5]

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.

Background and familyEdit

Growing up in Lambton, Germiston, South Africa, he played rugby, 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 Germiston Golf course, 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.

Els first achieved prominence in 1984, when he won the Junior World Golf Championship in the Boys 13–14 category. 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.

Els married his wife Liezl in 1998 in Cape Town and they have two children, Samantha and Ben. 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.[6] 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.[7]

Professional careerEdit

1989–1996: Early years and first major winEdit

In 1989, Els won the South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship and turned professional the same year. Els won his first professional tournament in 1991 on the Southern Africa Tour (today the Sunshine Tour). He won the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit in the 1991/92 and 1994/95 seasons. In 1993, Els won his first tournament outside of South Africa at the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan. In 1994 Els won his first major championship at the U.S. Open. 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,[8] 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. In 1996, Els won his third straight World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, defeating Vijay Singh in the final 3 & 2. No player in history had ever managed to win three successive titles in the one-on-one tournament.[9] Els finished the year with a win at his home tournament at the South African Open.

1997–2002: Career years and multi-major championshipsEdit

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. He defended his Buick Classic title and added the Johnnie Walker Classic to his list of victories. 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.

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. 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.

2002 was arguably Els's best year, which started with a win at the Heineken Classic at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. 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.

2003–2005: The Big FiveEdit

Els at Westchester in 2004

2003 gave Els his first European Tour Order of Merit. 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. In 2003 he was voted 37th on the SABC3's Great South Africans.

Els shares a laugh during the practice round for the 2004 Buick Classic

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. 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 14-foot (4.3 m) 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.

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. 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.

In July 2005, Els injured his left knee while sailing with his family in the Mediterranean. Despite missing several months of the 2005 season due to the injury, Els won the second event on his return, the Dunhill Championship.

With his victory at the 2005 Qatar Masters, an event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, Els became the second golfer after Lee Westwood to win on all six of the big tours on the International Federation of PGA Tours.

2006–2011: Gradual recovery and comebackEdit

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,"[10] Els told his official website.

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. 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 at Torrey Pines for the 2008 U.S. Open

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. Although the two of them are multiple major championship winners, both share disappointment in majors. Their disappointments have ranged from nerves, bad luck, and being outplayed. 1996 was the year where Norman collapsed in the Masters, whereas the year before Els did in the PGA Championship. Nearly four years later, Els finished runner-up in the 2000 Masters Tournament, and again in 2004, losing to Phil Mickelson. Els has finished runner-up in six majors, finishing 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.

On 2 March 2008, Els won the Honda Classic contested at PGA National's Championship Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. 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.

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. 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.

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.

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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

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.[14] Els finished the tournament in solo 3rd.[15]

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.[16]

After his successful 2010 season, Els struggled to find his form in 2011. He ultimately dropped out of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time since 1993.[17]

2012–present: fourth major championship and career volatilityEdit

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. Els was next in contention at the Transitions Championship, where he needed a win to qualify for the 2012 Masters. 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.[18]

Els surprised the golfing world by winning the 2012 Open Championship in July by birding the 72nd hole. 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.[19] Els' win rejuvenated his career and earned him 5 year exemptions to the other 3 majors.[20] 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 (Tiger Woods has since become the ninth).[21] 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.[22]

In June 2013, Els won for the first time since the 2012 Open Championship at the BMW International Open in Munich, Germany. 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.[23]

Els struggled to find his form throughout the 2014 season. 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. Els' struggles continued into 2015 when he made only 10 cuts on the PGA Tour. He finished a 173rd in the FedEx Cup and failed to qualify for the playoffs.[24] In preparation for the anchored putter ban in 2016, Els switched back to the short putter in late 2015.[25] Els' struggles with short putts, or the "yips," became the draw of much media attention in early 2016.[26] 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. Els recorded a 9 on the hole and ended up shooting 80–73 and missing the cut.[27] After the Masters, Els thanked his fans on his website for their support and was admittedly embarrassed by his putting performance.[28]

2020: PGA Tour Champions debutEdit

In January 2020, Els joined the PGA Tour Champions shortly after his 50th birthday. In January 2020, Els shot 72-65-65 to tie for the lead of his first PGA Tour Champions' event, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. Miguel Angel Jiménez and Fred Couples also qualified for the playoff. Jiménez won the event with birdie on the second playoff hole. [29]

Other venturesEdit

Els-designed golf coursesEdit

  • Anahita Golf Course – Beau Champ, Mauritius
  • Mission Hills Golf Club (The Savannah Course) – Shenzhen, China
  • Whiskey Creek – Ijamsville, Maryland, USA
  • Oubaai – Garden Route, South Africa
  • The Els Club – Dubai, UAE
  • The Els Club Teluk Datai - Langkawi, Malaysia
  • The Els Club Desaru Coast - Desaru, Malaysia
  • The Els Club Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate – Gauteng, South Africa

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:

  • Hoakalei Country Club at Hoakalei Resort – Ewa Beach, Hawaii
  • Albany – New Providence, The Bahamas
  • Ecopark - Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Durrat Al Bahrain Golf Course – Durrat Al Bahrain, Bahrain[30]

Internationalization of golfEdit

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 publicized and rejected this request.[31] The PGA Tour's attitude caused considerable offense in the golfing world outside of North America.


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

The first Friendship Cup was played in 2006 which is a match play competition, played in a Ryder Cup type format. In the cup, Els's foundation plays against the foundation of Tiger Woods. Els's foundation won 12.5 points to 3.5 points.

Els has also participated several times in the Gary Player Invitational series of charity golf events, to assist Player raise significant funds for underprivileged children around the world.

Autism-related activitiesEdit

Since his son's autism diagnosis, Els and his wife have been active in charities devoted to that condition. This involvement has increased as Ben has reached school age. In 2009, Els launched an annual charity golf event, the Els for Autism Pro-Am, held at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens near his South Florida residence during the PGA Tour's March swing into the area. The first event, which featured many PGA Tour and Champions Tour golfers, raised $725,000 for The Renaissance Learning Center, a nonprofit charter school in the area for autistic children. The couple has also established the Els Center of Excellence, which began as a drive to build a new campus for the aforementioned school in Jupiter, Florida, but has since expanded into a $30 million plan to combine the school with a research facility.[32]


On his technique:


—Els on his son's autism:


Amateur wins (4)Edit

  • 1984 World Junior Golf Championships (Boys 13–14 division)
  • 1986 South African Boys Championship, South African Amateur Championship
  • 1989 South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship

Professional wins (71)Edit

PGA Tour wins (19)Edit

Major championships (4)
World Golf Championships (2)
Other PGA Tour (13)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 20 Jun 1994 U.S. Open −5 (69-71-66-73=279) Playoff   Colin Montgomerie,   Loren Roberts
2 14 May 1995 GTE Byron Nelson Golf Classic −17 (69-61-65-68=263) 3 strokes   Robin Freeman,   Mike Heinen,
  D. A. Weibring
3 9 Jun 1996 Buick Classic −13 (65-66-69-71=271) 8 strokes   Steve Elkington,   Tom Lehman,
  Jeff Maggert,   Craig Parry
4 15 Jun 1997 U.S. Open (2) −4 (71-67-69-69=276) 1 stroke   Colin Montgomerie
5 22 Jun 1997 Buick Classic (2) −16 (64-68-67-69=268) 2 strokes   Jeff Maggert
6 22 Mar 1998 Bay Hill Invitational −14 (67-69-65-73=274) 4 strokes   Bob Estes,   Jeff Maggert
7 21 Feb 1999 Nissan Open −14 (68-66-68-68=270) 2 strokes   Davis Love III,   Ted Tryba,
  Tiger Woods
8 6 Aug 2000 The International 48 points (15-19-6-8=48) 4 points   Phil Mickelson
9 3 Mar 2002 Genuity Championship −17 (66-67-66-72=271) 2 strokes   Tiger Woods
10 21 Jul 2002 The Open Championship −6 (70-66-72-70=278) Playoff   Stuart Appleby,   Steve Elkington,
  Thomas Levet
11 12 Jan 2003 Mercedes Championships −31 (64-65-65-67=261) 8 strokes   K. J. Choi,   Rocco Mediate
12 19 Jan 2003 Sony Open in Hawaii −16 (66-65-66-67=264) Playoff   Aaron Baddeley
13 18 Jan 2004 Sony Open in Hawaii (2) −18 (67-64-66-65=262) Playoff   Harrison Frazar
14 6 Jun 2004 Memorial Tournament −18 (68-70-66-66=270) 4 strokes   Fred Couples
15 3 Oct 2004 WGC-American Express Championship −18 (69-64-68-69=270) 1 stroke   Thomas Bjørn
16 2 Mar 2008 Honda Classic −6 (67-70-70-67=274) 1 stroke   Luke Donald
17 14 Mar 2010 WGC-CA Championship (2) −18 (68-66-70-66=270) 4 strokes   Charl Schwartzel
18 29 Mar 2010 Arnold Palmer Invitational (2) −11 (68-69-69-71=277) 2 strokes   Edoardo Molinari,    Kevin Na
19 22 Jul 2012 The Open Championship (2) −7 (67-70-68-68=273) 1 stroke   Adam Scott

PGA Tour playoff record (4–4)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1994 U.S. Open   Colin Montgomerie,   Loren Roberts Won with par on second extra hole after 18-hole playoff;
Els: +3 (74),
Roberts: +3 (74),
Montgomerie: +7 (78)
2 2000 Mercedes Championships   Tiger Woods Lost to birdie on second extra hole
3 2001 The Tour Championship   Sergio García,   David Toms,
  Mike Weir
Weir won with birdie on first extra hole
4 2002 The Open Championship   Stuart Appleby,   Steve Elkington,
  Thomas Levet
Won with par on first extra hole after four-hole aggregate playoff;
Els: E (4-3-5-4=16),
Levet: E (4-2-5-5=16),
Appleby: +1 (4-3-5-5=17),
Elkington: +1 (5-3-4-5=17)
5 2003 Sony Open in Hawaii   Aaron Baddeley Won with birdie on second extra hole
6 2004 Sony Open in Hawaii   Harrison Frazar Won with birdie on third extra hole
7 2004 The Open Championship   Todd Hamilton Lost four-hole aggregate playoff;
Hamilton: E (4-4-3-4=15),
Els: +1 (4-4-4-4=16)
8 2012 Zurich Classic of New Orleans   Jason Dufner Lost to birdie on second extra hole

European Tour wins (28)Edit

Major championships (4)
World Golf Championships (2)
Other European Tour (22)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 30 Jan 1994 Dubai Desert Classic −20 (61-69-67-71=268) 6 strokes   Greg Norman
2 20 Jun 1994 U.S. Open −5 (69-71-66-73=279) Playoff   Colin Montgomerie,   Loren Roberts
3 19 Feb 1995 Lexington South African PGA Championship1 −9 (65-71-71-64=271) 2 strokes   Roger Wessels
4 26 Jan 1997 Johnnie Walker Classic −10 (70-68-71-69=278) 1 stroke   Peter Lonard,   Michael Long
5 15 Jun 1997 U.S. Open (2) −4 (71-67-69-69=276) 1 stroke   Colin Montgomerie
6 8 Feb 1998 South African Open1 −15 (64-72-68-69=273) 3 strokes   David Frost
7 17 Jan 1999 Alfred Dunhill South African PGA Championship1 (2) −15 (67-69-69-68=273) 4 strokes   Richard Kaplan
8 15 Jul 2000 Standard Life Loch Lomond −11 (69-67-68-69=273) 1 stroke   Tom Lehman
9 3 Feb 2002 Heineken Classic2 −17 (64-69-69-69=271) 5 strokes   Peter Fowler,   David Howell,
  Peter O'Malley
10 10 Mar 2002 Dubai Desert Classic (2) −16 (68-68-67-69=272) 4 strokes   Niclas Fasth
11 21 Jul 2002 The Open Championship −6 (70-66-72-70=278) Playoff   Stuart Appleby,   Steve Elkington,
  Thomas Levet
12 2 Feb 2003 Heineken Classic2 (2) −15 (70-72-66-65=273) 1 stroke   Nick Faldo,   Peter Lonard
13 16 Feb 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic (2) −29 (64-65-64-66=259) 10 strokes   Stephen Leaney,   Andre Stolz
14 13 Jul 2003 Barclays Scottish Open −17 (64-67-67-69=267) 5 strokes   Darren Clarke,   Phillip Price
15 7 Sep 2003 Omega European Masters −17 (65-69-68-65=267) 6 strokes   Michael Campbell
16 8 Feb 2004 Heineken Classic2 (3) −20 (60-66-68-74=268) 1 stroke   Adam Scott
17 3 Oct 2004 WGC-American Express Championship −18 (69-64-68-69=270) 1 stroke   Thomas Bjørn
18 17 Oct 2004 HSBC World Match Play Championship 2 & 1   Lee Westwood
19 6 Mar 2005 Dubai Desert Classic (3) −19 (66-68-67-68=269) 1 stroke   Stephen Dodd,   Miguel Ángel Jiménez
20 13 Mar 2005 Qatar Masters3 −12 (73-69-69-65=276) 1 stroke   Henrik Stenson
21 1 May 2005 BMW Asian Open3 −26 (67-62-68-65=262) 13 strokes   Simon Wakefield
22 11 Dec 2005
(2006 season)
Dunhill Championship1 −14 (71-67-68-68=274) 3 strokes   Louis Oosthuizen,   Charl Schwartzel
23 17 Dec 2006
(2007 season)
South African Airways Open1 (2) −24 (67-66-66-65=264) 3 strokes   Trevor Immelman
24 14 Oct 2007 HSBC World Match Play Championship (2) 6 & 4   Ángel Cabrera
25 14 Mar 2010 WGC-CA Championship (2) −18 (68-66-70-66=270) 4 strokes   Charl Schwartzel
26 19 Dec 2010
(2011 season)
South African Open Championship1 (3) −25 (65-65-67-66=263) 1 stroke   Retief Goosen
27 22 Jul 2012 The Open Championship (2) −7 (67-70-68-68=273) 1 stroke   Adam Scott
28 23 Jun 2013 BMW International Open −18 (63-69-69-69=270) 1 stroke   Thomas Bjørn

1Co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour
2Co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia
3Co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour

European Tour playoff record (2–5)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1994 U.S. Open   Colin Montgomerie,   Loren Roberts Won with par on second extra hole after 18-hole playoff;
Els: +3 (74),
Roberts: +3 (74),
Montgomerie: +7 (78)
2 1994 Mercedes German Masters   Seve Ballesteros,   José María Olazábal Ballesteros won with birdie on first extra hole
3 1998 Johnnie Walker Classic   Tiger Woods Lost to birdie on second extra hole
4 2002 The Open Championship   Stuart Appleby,   Steve Elkington,
  Thomas Levet
Won with par on first extra hole after four-hole aggregate playoff;
Els: E (4-3-5-4=16),
Levet: E (4-2-5-5=16),
Appleby: +1 (4-3-5-5=17),
Elkington: +1 (5-3-4-5=17)
5 2004 The Open Championship   Todd Hamilton Lost four-hole aggregate playoff;
Hamilton: E (4-4-3-4=15),
Els: +1 (4-4-4-4=16)
6 2006 Dubai Desert Classic   Tiger Woods Lost to par on first extra hole
7 2012 Volvo Golf Champions   Retief Goosen,   Branden Grace Grace won with birdie on first extra hole

Sunshine Tour wins (16)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 23 Jun 1991 Amatola Sun Classic   Peter van der Riet
2 19 Jan 1992 Protea Assurance South African Open −15 (65-69-69-70=273) 3 strokes   Derek James
3 25 Jan 1992 Lexington South African PGA Championship −9 (69-66-65-71=271) 1 stroke   Ian Palmer,   Kevin Stone,
  Wayne Westner
4 15 Feb 1992 South African Masters −13 (67-70-71-67=275) 1 stroke   Chris Williams
5 28 Feb 1992 Hollard Royal Swazi Sun Classic −19 (74-67-64-64=269) 1 stroke   Chris Davison
6 22 Nov 1992 FNB Players Championship −18 (68-68-65-69=270) 4 strokes   Mark McNulty
7 20 Dec 1992 Goodyear Classic −12 (71-69-69-67=276) 2 strokes   Retief Goosen
8 8 Jan 1995 Bell's Cup −13 (69-67-69-70=275) 5 strokes   Hendrik Buhrmann,   Pat Horgan
9 19 Feb 1995 Lexington South African PGA Championship1 (2) −9 (65-71-71-64=271) 2 strokes   Roger Wessels
10 21 Jan 1996 Philips South African Open (2) −13 (65-70-74-66=275) 1 stroke   Brenden Pappas
11 8 Feb 1998 South African Open1 (3) −15 (64-72-68-69=273) 3 strokes   David Frost
12 17 Jan 1999 Alfred Dunhill South African PGA Championship1 (3) −15 67-69-69-68=273) 4 strokes   Richard Kaplan
13 9 Dec 2001 Vodacom Players Championship −15 (70-68-70-65=273) 1 stroke   Retief Goosen,   Trevor Immelman,
  Alan McLean,   Martin Maritz
14 11 Dec 2005 Dunhill Championship1 −14 (71-67-68-68=274) 3 strokes   Louis Oosthuizen,   Charl Schwartzel
15 17 Dec 2006 South African Airways Open1 (4) −24 (67-66-66-65=264) 3 strokes   Trevor Immelman
16 19 Dec 2010 South African Open Championship1 (5) −25 (65-65-67-66=263) 1 stroke   Retief Goosen

1Co-sanctioned by the European Tour

Japan Golf Tour wins (1)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 21 Nov 1993 Dunlop Phoenix Tournament −17 (68-69-65-69=271) 4 strokes   Fred Couples,   Barry Lane,
  Tommy Nakajima,   Masashi Ozaki,
  Vijay Singh

Other wins (19)Edit

Playoff recordEdit

Asian Tour playoff record (0–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 2006 Barclays Singapore Open   Adam Scott Lost by two shots in three-hole playoff

PGA Champions Tour playoff record (0-1)

No. Year Tournament Opponents Result
1 2020 Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai   Fred Couples,   Miguel Angel Jiménez Jiménez won with birdie on second extra hole
Couples eliminated with par on first hole

Major championshipsEdit

Wins (4)Edit

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner(s)-up
1994 U.S. Open 2 shot lead −5 (69-71-66-73=279) Playoff1   Colin Montgomerie,   Loren Roberts
1997 U.S. Open (2) 2 shot deficit −4 (71-67-69-69=276) 1 stroke   Colin Montgomerie
2002 The Open Championship 2 shot lead −6 (70-66-72-70=278) Playoff2   Stuart Appleby,   Steve Elkington,   Thomas Levet
2012 The Open Championship (2) 6 shot deficit −7 (67-70-68-68=273) 1 stroke   Adam Scott

1Defeated Montgomerie in 18-hole playoff and Roberts in sudden-death: Els (74-4-4), Roberts (74-4-5), Montgomerie (78)
2Defeated Appleby and Elkington in 4-hole playoff and Levet in sudden-death: Els (4-3-5-4-par), Appleby (4-3-5-5), Elkington (5-3-4-5), Levet (4-2-5-5-bogey)

Results timelineEdit

Tournament 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament T8 CUT T12 T17 T16 T27
U.S. Open T7 1 CUT T5 1 T49 CUT
The Open Championship CUT T5 T6 T24 T11 T2 T10 T29 T24
PGA Championship CUT CUT T25 T3 T61 T53 T21 CUT
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Masters Tournament 2 T6 T5 T6 2 47 T27 CUT CUT CUT
U.S. Open T2 T66 T24 T5 T9 T15 T26 T51 T14 CUT
The Open Championship T2 T3 1 T18 2 T34 3 T4 T7 T8
PGA Championship T34 T13 T34 T5 T4 T16 3 T31 T6
Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Masters Tournament T18 T47 T13 CUT T22 CUT 53
U.S. Open 3 CUT 9 T4 T35 T54 CUT T55 CUT
The Open Championship CUT CUT 1 T26 CUT T65 CUT 61 CUT
PGA Championship T18 CUT T48 CUT T7 T25 T66 CUT
Tournament 2019
Masters Tournament
PGA Championship
U.S. Open CUT
The Open Championship T32
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 2 0 3 6 12 23 17
PGA Championship 0 0 2 4 6 12 25 19
U.S. Open 2 1 1 7 10 13 27 20
The Open Championship 2 3 2 9 13 17 29 23
Totals 4 6 5 23 35 54 104 79
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 27 (2000 Masters – 2006 PGA)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 5 (2003 PGA – 2004 PGA)

Results in The Players ChampionshipEdit

Tournament 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
The Players Championship CUT T45 T68 T8 T10 T11 T17 T20 CUT T44 T26 T17 T8 T37 T6 T45
Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
The Players Championship CUT CUT CUT CUT T72 T66 T64 CUT
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the halfway cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place

World Golf ChampionshipsEdit

Wins (2)Edit

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin of
2004 WGC-American Express Championship 2 shot lead −18 (69-64-68-69=270) 1 stroke   Thomas Bjørn
2010 WGC-CA Championship (2) Tied for lead −18 (68-66-70-66=270) 4 strokes   Charl Schwartzel

Results timelineEdit

Tournament 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Accenture Match Play Championship R64 R32 4 R32 R64 R64 R64 R64
Cadillac Championship T40 WD NT1 T23 T12 1 5 T11 75
Bridgestone Invitational 5 T12 T8 T15 T17 T65 T31 T22 T27
Tournament 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Accenture Match Play Championship QF R32 R32 R32 R64 4
Cadillac Championship T20 1 T15 T28 T52
Bridgestone Invitational T29 T22 T37 T45 T48 T26
HSBC Champions 2 T6 T33 T2 T11 T46

1Cancelled due to 9/11

  Top 10
  Did not play

QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = tied
WD = withdrew
NT = No tournament
Note that the HSBC Champions did not become a WGC event until 2009.

PGA and European Tour career summaryEdit

PGA Tour European Tour
Season Wins (Majors) Earnings (US$) Rank Wins (Majors) Earnings Rank
1991 0 2,647 274 0 £2,357
1992 0 18,420 213 0 £66,626 75
1993 0 38,185 190 0 £162,827 34
1994 1 (1) 684,440 19 2 (1) £311,850 10
1995 1 842,590 14 1 £82,459
1996 1 906,944 14 0 £209,148
1997 2 (1) 1,243,008 9 2 (1) £359,421
1998 1 763,783 36 1 £433,884 8
1999 1 1,710,756 15 1 €588,360 12
2000 1 3,469,405 3 1 €2,017,248 3
2001 0 2,336,456 15 0 €1,716,287 4
2002 2 (1) 3,291,895 5 3 (1) €2,251,708 3
2003 2 3,371,237 9 4 €2,975,374 1
2004 3 5,787,225 2 3 €4,061,905 1
2005 0 1,627,184 47 3 €1,012,683 18
2006 0 2,326,220 28 1 €1,716,208 5
2007 0 2,705,715 20 2 €2,496,237 2
2008 1 2,537,290 20 0 €674,098 42
2009 0 2,147,157 36 0 €1,571,501 11
2010 2 4,558,861 3 1 €2,261,607 7
2011 0 948,872 93 1 €591,508 51
2012 1 (1) 3,453,118 16 1 (1) €2,077,533
2013 0 1,173,761 74 1 €1,166,712 20
2014 0 1,799,569 55 1 €986,230 37
2015 0 453,579 159 0 €340,254
2016 0 559,024 148 0 €87,956 167
2017 0 155,926 207 0 €137,697 157
2018 0 102,868 208 0 €84,792 184
2019 0 304,590 186 0 €199,789 146
Career* 19 (4) 49,320,727 10 28 (4) €28,894,967 5

* As of 24 November 2019.

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.

Team appearancesEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Week 25 1997 Ending 22 Jun 1997" (pdf). OWGR. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  2. ^ "PGA Tour Media Guide – Ernie Els". PGA Tour. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Players who have reached the Top Ten in the Official World Golf Ranking since 1986". European Tour Official Guide 09 (PDF) (38th ed.). PGA European Tour. 2009. p. 558. Retrieved 16 January 2009.
  4. ^ "Week 11 – Ernie Els Wins WGC-CA Championship To Jump To World Number Eight While The Puerto Rico Open Goes to a Monday Finish". Official World Golf Ranking. 15 March 2010. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  5. ^ "2011 Hall of Fame class: Els, Ford, Bush, Hutchison". PGA Tour. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Ernie Els speaks out over son's autism". The Daily Telegraph. 11 March 2008.
  7. ^ "PGA, Els Family Tee Up to Raise Awareness". Autism Speaks, e-Speaks. 2 May 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  8. ^ Dorman, Larry (21 June 1994). "Forget Finesse, Remember a Name: Els Wins Open". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  9. ^ Kelley, Brent. "Volvo World Match Play Championship". Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Els has 3-year plan to catch Woods as world's No. 1". Sports Illustrated/CNN. Reuters. 20 December 2006. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  11. ^ "Els gets first win in two years". ESPN. Associated Press. 14 March 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  12. ^ "Ernie Els completes Arnold Palmer Invitational victory". BBC Sport. 29 March 2010. Archived from the original on 1 April 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  13. ^ Dunham, Chris (26 February 2013). "FedExCup Spotlight: Ernie Els". PGA Tour.
  14. ^ Dorman, Larry (20 June 2010). "With Nerves in Check, Graeme McDowell Wins U.S. Open". The New York Times.
  15. ^ "Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson can't grasp U.S. Open win with Tiger Woods struggling at Pebble Beach". Daily News. New York. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  16. ^ "Ernie Els comes out on top in South African Open". BBC Sport. 19 December 2010. Archived from the original on 22 December 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  17. ^ "Ernie Els – Advanced Statistics". Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  18. ^ Dolch, Craig (22 March 2012). "Putts Elude Els, and So Could Masters". The New York Times.
  19. ^ DiMeglio, Steve (23 July 2012). "Shocking finish: Ernie Els rallies to win British Open". USA Today. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  20. ^ "Ernie Els wins British Open after late Scott collapse". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  21. ^ "Ernie Els rallies to win Open". ESPN. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  22. ^ Kay, Emily (23 July 2012). "Ernie Els' 2012 British Open Win Reignites Demands To Ban Long Putters". SB Nation.
  23. ^ "Ernie Els returns to winning ways". PGA European Tour. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  24. ^ "Ernie Els – Career Summary". PGA Tour. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  25. ^ "Seeing the Bigger Picture". Ernie Els. 12 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  26. ^ Huggan, John (5 February 2016). "With new putting grip, Ernie Els feels reborn". Golf Digest.
  27. ^ Harig, Bob (7 April 2016). "Ernie Els 6-putts from within 3 feet for a record 9 on first hole at Masters". ESPN.
  28. ^ "Ernie's Masters Review". 11 April 2016.
  29. ^ Strege, John (19 January 2020). "Miguel Angel Jimenez outlasts a Hall of Fame leader board to win the season opener". Golf Digest. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  30. ^ "Durrat Al Bahrain". Archived from the original on 29 August 2009.
  31. ^ Davies, David (13 October 2004). "Els ready to play hardball with US Tour". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  32. ^ "Liezl Els Committed to Autism Awareness". PGA Tour Charities. 11 March 2010. Archived from the original on 14 March 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  33. ^ Apfelbaum, Jim, ed. (2007). The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60239-014-0.
  34. ^ "Els seeks to help autism research after disclosing son has disorder". ESPN. Associated Press. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  35. ^ "Kimberley Golf Club History". Kimberley Golf Club. Retrieved 20 June 2014.

External linksEdit