Ernie Els

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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 51)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight210 lb (95 kg; 15 st)
NationalityFlag of South Africa.svg  South Africa
Residence Wentworth, Surrey, England, UK;
George, Western Cape, South Africa;
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, U.S.
SpouseLiezl (m. 1998)
Children2
Career
Turned professional1989
Current tour(s) European Tour
PGA Tour
PGA Tour Champions
European Senior Tour
Former tour(s) Sunshine Tour
Professional wins74
Highest ranking 1 (22 June 1997) [1]
(9 weeks)
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour19
European Tour28 (7th all time)
Japan Golf Tour1
Asian Tour3
Sunshine Tour18
PGA Tour of Australasia5
PGA Tour Champions2
Other18
Best results in major championships
(wins: 4)
Masters Tournament 2nd: 2000, 2004
PGA Championship 3rd/T3: 1995, 2007
U.S. Open Won: 1994, 1997
The Open Championship Won: 2002, 2012
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 2011 (member page)
PGA Tour
Rookie of the Year
1994
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 Award 2015
Old Tom Morris Award 2018

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 more than 70 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.

Contents

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 that supports golf among underprivileged youth in South Africa, and a winemaking business. He has written a popular golf instructional column in Golf Digest magazine for several years.

Background and family

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 career

1989–1996: Early years and first major win

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 championships

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 with 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. In 2001 Els failed 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 Five

Els at Westchester in 2004 Ernie checking shot.JPG
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 Ernie smiling 800.jpg
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 comeback

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 Ernie Els 3-wood tee.jpg
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.

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 volatility

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 debut

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 Ángel Jiménez and Fred Couples also qualified for the playoff. Jiménez won the event with a birdie on the second playoff hole. [29]

In March 2020, Els won the Hoag Classic in Newport Beach, California. Els finished with a 4-under-par 67 to finish 54 holes in 16-under-par 197, two strokes ahead of Fred Couples, Robert Karlsson, and Glen Day. This was just Els' third start on the PGA Tour Champions. [30]

In October 2020, Els won the SAS Championship in Cary, North Carolina. Els shot a 6-under-par 66 in the final round to win by one stroke over Colin Montgomerie.

Other ventures

Els-designed golf courses

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:

Internationalization of golf

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. [32] The PGA Tour's attitude caused considerable offense in the golfing world outside of North America.

Foundation

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 in raising significant funds for underprivileged children around the world.

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. [33]

ASM Scholarships

Ernie Els Co-Founder an athletic scholarship agency called (ASM Scholarships), in October 2018. The company is a college recruiting service that works with athletes worldwide from various sports and helps them secure athletic scholarships to American universities within the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA. The company is owned by the ASM Sports Group, which has built a pathway for athletes from high school to college then professional sports or a career in a sporting job. In 2020 the company helped over 1000 athletes secure sport scholarships on average of $35,000 per year for student athletes, a total of $35,000,000. The company HQ is based in West Palm Beach Florida. Ernie Els Press release on the company https://ernieels.com/golf/sponsors/asm-sports-group/

Quotes

On his technique:

I've never been a very technical player. I don't get caught up in swing positions and mechanics. When I work on my swing...I'm looking for feels. You'll get better results—and often more distance—if you swing at eighty percent effort. I get all kinds of people telling me I have the best swing in the world—it's beautiful, it's effortless. But I know when that isn't true.

[34]

—Els on his son's autism:

It's been a bit of a challenge ... It's so new to everybody, that a lot of people have different ideas. After seeing just about everybody in the world, I decided on this path we're going to go. Like any family will tell you, it's not easy. And it's a change of life, a change of priorities. You've got to be ready for it. And it's happening more often. I never knew about it, never thought about it, until it's in your lap.

[35]

Amateur wins (4)

Professional wins (74)

PGA Tour wins (19)

Legend
Major championships (4)
World Golf Championships (2)
Other PGA Tour (13)
No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
120 Jun 1994 U.S. Open −5 (69-71-66-73=279)Playoff Flag of Scotland.svg Colin Montgomerie, Flag of the United States.svg Loren Roberts
214 May 1995 GTE Byron Nelson Golf Classic −17 (69-61-65-68=263)3 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Robin Freeman, Flag of the United States.svg Mike Heinen,
Flag of the United States.svg D. A. Weibring
39 Jun 1996 Buick Classic −13 (65-66-69-71=271)8 strokes Flag of Australia (converted).svg Steve Elkington, Flag of the United States.svg Tom Lehman,
Flag of the United States.svg Jeff Maggert, Flag of Australia (converted).svg Craig Parry
415 Jun 1997 U.S. Open (2)−4 (71-67-69-69=276)1 stroke Flag of Scotland.svg Colin Montgomerie
522 Jun 1997 Buick Classic (2)−16 (64-68-67-69=268)2 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Jeff Maggert
622 Mar 1998 Bay Hill Invitational −14 (67-69-65-73=274)4 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Bob Estes, Flag of the United States.svg Jeff Maggert
721 Feb 1999 Nissan Open −14 (68-66-68-68=270)2 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Davis Love III, Flag of the United States.svg Ted Tryba,
Flag of the United States.svg Tiger Woods
86 Aug 2000 The International 48 pts (15-19-6-8=48)4 points Flag of the United States.svg Phil Mickelson
93 Mar 2002 Genuity Championship −17 (66-67-66-72=271)2 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Tiger Woods
1021 Jul 2002 The Open Championship −6 (70-66-72-70=278)Playoff Flag of Australia (converted).svg Stuart Appleby, Flag of Australia (converted).svg Steve Elkington,
Flag of France.svg Thomas Levet
1112 Jan 2003 Mercedes Championships −31 (64-65-65-67=261)8 strokes Flag of South Korea.svg K. J. Choi, Flag of the United States.svg Rocco Mediate
1219 Jan 2003 Sony Open in Hawaii −16 (66-65-66-67=264)Playoff Flag of Australia (converted).svg Aaron Baddeley
1318 Jan 2004 Sony Open in Hawaii (2)−18 (67-64-66-65=262)Playoff Flag of the United States.svg Harrison Frazar
146 Jun 2004 Memorial Tournament −18 (68-70-66-66=270)4 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Fred Couples
153 Oct 2004 WGC-American Express Championship −18 (69-64-68-69=270)1 stroke Flag of Denmark.svg Thomas Bjørn
162 Mar 2008 The Honda Classic −6 (67-70-70-67=274)1 stroke Flag of England.svg Luke Donald
1714 Mar 2010 WGC-CA Championship (2)−18 (68-66-70-66=270)4 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Charl Schwartzel
1829 Mar 2010 Arnold Palmer Invitational (2)−11 (68-69-69-71=277)2 strokes Flag of Italy.svg Edoardo Molinari, Flag of the United States.svg Kevin Na
1922 Jul 2012 The Open Championship (2)−7 (67-70-68-68=273)1 stroke Flag of Australia (converted).svg Adam Scott

PGA Tour playoff record (4–4)

No.YearTournamentOpponent(s)Result
1 1994 U.S. Open Flag of Scotland.svg Colin Montgomerie, Flag of the United States.svg 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 Flag of the United States.svg Tiger Woods Lost to birdie on second extra hole
3 2001 The Tour Championship Flag of Spain.svg Sergio García, Flag of the United States.svg David Toms,
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Mike Weir
Weir won with birdie on first extra hole
4 2002 The Open Championship Flag of Australia (converted).svg Stuart Appleby, Flag of Australia (converted).svg Steve Elkington,
Flag of France.svg 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 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Aaron Baddeley Won with birdie on second extra hole
6 2004 Sony Open in Hawaii Flag of the United States.svg Harrison Frazar Won with birdie on third extra hole
72004 The Open Championship Flag of the United States.svg 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 Flag of the United States.svg Jason Dufner Lost to birdie on second extra hole

European Tour wins (28)

Legend
Major championships (4)
World Golf Championships (2)
Other European Tour (22)
No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
130 Jan 1994 Dubai Desert Classic −20 (61-69-67-71=268)6 strokes Flag of Australia (converted).svg Greg Norman
220 Jun 1994 U.S. Open −5 (69-71-66-73=279)Playoff Flag of Scotland.svg Colin Montgomerie, Flag of the United States.svg Loren Roberts
319 Feb 1995 Lexington South African PGA Championship 1−9 (65-71-71-64=271)2 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Roger Wessels
426 Jan 1997 Johnnie Walker Classic 2−10 (70-68-71-69=278)1 stroke Flag of Australia (converted).svg Peter Lonard, Flag of New Zealand.svg Michael Long
515 Jun 1997 U.S. Open (2)−4 (71-67-69-69=276)1 stroke Flag of Scotland.svg Colin Montgomerie
68 Feb 1998 South African Open 1−15 (64-72-68-69=273)3 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg David Frost
717 Jan 1999 Alfred Dunhill South African PGA Championship 1(2)−15 (67-69-69-68=273)4 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Richard Kaplan
815 Jul 2000 Standard Life Loch Lomond −11 (69-67-68-69=273)1 stroke Flag of the United States.svg Tom Lehman
93 Feb 2002 Heineken Classic 2−17 (64-69-69-69=271)5 strokes Flag of Australia (converted).svg Peter Fowler, Flag of England.svg David Howell,
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Peter O'Malley
1010 Mar 2002 Dubai Desert Classic (2)−16 (68-68-67-69=272)4 strokes Flag of Sweden.svg Niclas Fasth
1121 Jul 2002 The Open Championship −6 (70-66-72-70=278)Playoff Flag of Australia (converted).svg Stuart Appleby, Flag of Australia (converted).svg Steve Elkington,
Flag of France.svg Thomas Levet
122 Feb 2003 Heineken Classic 2(2)−15 (70-72-66-65=273)1 stroke Flag of England.svg Nick Faldo, Flag of Australia (converted).svg Peter Lonard
1316 Feb 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic 2,3(2)−29 (64-65-64-66=259)10 strokes Flag of Australia (converted).svg Stephen Leaney, Flag of Australia (converted).svg Andre Stolz
1413 Jul 2003 Barclays Scottish Open −17 (64-67-67-69=267)5 strokes Ulster Banner.svg Darren Clarke, Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Phillip Price
157 Sep 2003 Omega European Masters −17 (65-69-68-65=267)6 strokes Flag of New Zealand.svg Michael Campbell
168 Feb 2004 Heineken Classic 2(3)−20 (60-66-68-74=268)1 stroke Flag of Australia (converted).svg Adam Scott
173 Oct 2004 WGC-American Express Championship −18 (69-64-68-69=270)1 stroke Flag of Denmark.svg Thomas Bjørn
1817 Oct 2004 HSBC World Match Play Championship 2 & 1 Flag of England.svg Lee Westwood
196 Mar 2005 Dubai Desert Classic (3)−19 (66-68-67-68=269)1 stroke Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Stephen Dodd, Flag of Spain.svg Miguel Ángel Jiménez
2013 Mar 2005 Qatar Masters 3−12 (73-69-69-65=276)1 stroke Flag of Sweden.svg Henrik Stenson
211 May 2005 BMW Asian Open 3−26 (67-62-68-65=262)13 strokes Flag of England.svg Simon Wakefield
2211 Dec 2005
(2006 season)
Dunhill Championship 1−14 (71-67-68-68=274)3 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Louis Oosthuizen, Flag of South Africa.svg Charl Schwartzel
2317 Dec 2006
(2007 season)
South African Airways Open 1(2)−24 (67-66-66-65=264)3 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Trevor Immelman
2414 Oct 2007 HSBC World Match Play Championship (2)6 & 4 Flag of Argentina.svg Ángel Cabrera
2514 Mar 2010 WGC-CA Championship (2)−18 (68-66-70-66=270)4 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Charl Schwartzel
2619 Dec 2010
(2011 season)
South African Open Championship 1(3)−25 (65-65-67-66=263)1 stroke Flag of South Africa.svg Retief Goosen
2722 Jul 2012 The Open Championship (2)−7 (67-70-68-68=273)1 stroke Flag of Australia (converted).svg Adam Scott
2823 Jun 2013 BMW International Open −18 (63-69-69-69=270)1 stroke Flag of Denmark.svg 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.YearTournamentOpponent(s)Result
1 1994 U.S. Open Flag of Scotland.svg Colin Montgomerie, Flag of the United States.svg Loren Roberts Won with par on second extra hole after 18-hole playoff;
Els: +3 (74),
Roberts: +3 (74),
Montgomerie: +7 (78)
21994 Mercedes German Masters Flag of Spain.svg Seve Ballesteros, Flag of Spain.svg José María Olazábal Ballesteros won with birdie on first extra hole
3 1998 Johnnie Walker Classic Flag of the United States.svg Tiger Woods Lost to birdie on second extra hole
4 2002 The Open Championship Flag of Australia (converted).svg Stuart Appleby, Flag of Australia (converted).svg Steve Elkington,
Flag of France.svg 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 Flag of the United States.svg 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 Flag of the United States.svg Tiger Woods Lost to par on first extra hole
7 2012 Volvo Golf Champions Flag of South Africa.svg Retief Goosen, Flag of South Africa.svg Branden Grace Grace won with birdie on first extra hole

Japan Golf Tour wins (1)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
victory
Runners-up
121 Nov 1993 Dunlop Phoenix Tournament −17 (68-69-65-69=271)4 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Fred Couples, Flag of England.svg Barry Lane,
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Tsuneyuki Nakajima, Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Masashi Ozaki,
Flag of Fiji.svg Vijay Singh

Asian Tour wins (3)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
116 Feb 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic 1,2−29 (64-65-64-66=259)10 strokes Flag of Australia (converted).svg Stephen Leaney, Flag of Australia (converted).svg Andre Stolz
213 Mar 2005 Qatar Masters 1−12 (73-69-69-65=276)1 stroke Flag of Sweden.svg Henrik Stenson
31 May 2005 BMW Asian Open 1−26 (67-62-68-65=262)13 strokes Flag of England.svg Simon Wakefield

1Co-sanctioned by the European Tour
2Co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia

Asian Tour playoff record (0–1)

No.YearTournamentOpponentResult
1 2006 Barclays Singapore Open Flag of Australia (converted).svg Adam Scott Lost three-hole aggregate playoff;
Scott: −1 (4-3-4=11),
Els: +1 (4-3-6=13)

Sunshine Tour wins (18)

Legend
South African Opens (5)
Other Sunshine Tour (13)
No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1Apr 1990 Spoornet SA Classic
2Jun 1990 Highveld Classic Playoff Flag of South Africa (1982-1994).svg Steve Burnett
323 Jun 1991 Amatola Sun Classic −4 (70-72-67=209) Flag of South Africa (1982-1994).svg Peter van der Riet
419 Jan 1992 Protea Assurance South African Open −15 (65-69-69-70=273)3 strokes Flag of South Africa (1982-1994).svg Derek James
525 Jan 1992 Lexington PGA Championship −9 (69-66-65-71=271)1 stroke Flag of South Africa (1982-1994).svg Ian Palmer, Flag of South Africa (1982-1994).svg Kevin Stone,
Flag of South Africa (1982-1994).svg Wayne Westner
615 Feb 1992 EVS South African Masters −13 (67-70-71-67=275)1 stroke Flag of South Africa (1982-1994).svg Chris Williams
728 Feb 1992 Hollard Royal Swazi Sun Classic −19 (74-67-64-64=269)1 stroke Flag of South Africa (1982-1994).svg Chris Davison
822 Nov 1992 FNB Players Championship −18 (68-68-65-69=270)4 strokes Flag of Zimbabwe.svg Mark McNulty
920 Dec 1992 Goodyear Classic −12 (71-69-69-67=276)2 strokes Flag of South Africa (1982-1994).svg Retief Goosen
108 Jan 1995 Bell's Cup −13 (69-67-69-70=275)5 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Hendrik Buhrmann, Flag of the United States.svg P. H. Horgan III
1119 Feb 1995 Lexington South African PGA Championship 1(2)−9 (65-71-71-64=271)2 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Roger Wessels
1221 Jan 1996 Philips South African Open (2)−13 (65-70-74-66=275)1 stroke Flag of South Africa.svg Brenden Pappas
138 Feb 1998 South African Open 1(3)−15 (64-72-68-69=273)3 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg David Frost
1417 Jan 1999 Alfred Dunhill South African PGA Championship 1(3)−15 67-69-69-68=273)4 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Richard Kaplan
159 Dec 2001 Vodacom Players Championship (2)−15 (70-68-70-65=273)1 stroke Flag of South Africa.svg Retief Goosen, Flag of South Africa.svg Trevor Immelman,
Flag of Scotland.svg Alan McLean, Flag of South Africa.svg Martin Maritz
1611 Dec 2005 Dunhill Championship 1−14 (71-67-68-68=274)3 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Louis Oosthuizen, Flag of South Africa.svg Charl Schwartzel
1717 Dec 2006 South African Airways Open 1(4)−24 (67-66-66-65=264)3 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Trevor Immelman
1819 Dec 2010 South African Open Championship 1(5)−25 (65-65-67-66=263)1 stroke Flag of South Africa.svg Retief Goosen

1Co-sanctioned by the European Tour

Sunshine Tour playoff record (1–1)

No.YearTournamentOpponentResult
11990 Highveld Classic Flag of South Africa (1982-1994).svg Steve Burnett
21993 Hollard Royal Swazi Sun Classic Flag of South Africa (1982-1994).svg Sean Pappas Lost on first extra hole

Other wins (18)

Legend
World Golf Championships (1)
Other wins (17)
No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
116 Oct 1994 Toyota World Match Play Championship 4 & 2 Flag of Scotland.svg Colin Montgomerie
26 Nov 1994 Sarazen World Open −15 (67-73-68-65=273)3 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Fred Funk
318 Dec 1994 Johnnie Walker World Golf Championship −16 (64-64-71-69=268)6 strokes Flag of England.svg Nick Faldo, Flag of the United States.svg Mark McCumber
415 Oct 1995 Toyota World Match Play Championship (2)3 & 1 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Steve Elkington
520 Oct 1996 Toyota World Match Play Championship (3)3 & 2 Flag of Fiji.svg Vijay Singh
610 Nov 1996 Johnnie Walker Super Tour −14 (67-71-71-65=274)Playoff Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Ian Woosnam
724 Nov 1996 World Cup of Golf
(with Flag of South Africa.svg Wayne Westner)
−29 (136-144-130-137=547)18 strokesFlag of the United States.svg  United StatesSteve Jones and Tom Lehman
824 Nov 1996 World Cup of Golf Individual Trophy −16 (68-72-65-67=272)3 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Wayne Westner
918 Nov 1997 MasterCard PGA Grand Slam of Golf −11 (68-65=133)3 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Tiger Woods
105 Dec 1999 Nedbank Million Dollar Challenge −25 (67-66-64-66=263)5 strokes Flag of Scotland.svg Colin Montgomerie
113 Dec 2000 Nedbank Golf Challenge (2)−20 (66-67-67-68=268)Playoff Flag of England.svg Lee Westwood
1218 Nov 2001 WGC-World Cup (2)
(with Flag of South Africa.svg Retief Goosen)
−24 (64-71-63-66=264)PlayoffFlag of Denmark.svg  DenmarkThomas Bjørn and Søren Hansen,
Flag of New Zealand.svg  New ZealandMichael Campbell and David Smail,
Flag of the United States.svg  United StatesDavid Duval and Tiger Woods
1320 Oct 2002 Cisco World Match Play Championship (4)2 & 1 Flag of Spain.svg Sergio García
141 Dec 2002 Nedbank Golf Challenge (3)−21 (70-65-69-63=267)8 strokes Flag of Scotland.svg Colin Montgomerie
1519 Oct 2003 HSBC World Match Play Championship (5)4 & 3 Flag of Denmark.svg Thomas Bjørn
1628 Nov 2004 Nelson Mandela Invitational
(with Flag of South Africa.svg Vincent Tshabalala)
−14 (64-66=130)1 stroke Flag of South Africa.svg Simon Hobday and Flag of England.svg Lee Westwood
179 Nov 2008 Hassan II Golf Trophy −17 (69-67-71-68=275)2 strokes Flag of England.svg Simon Dyson
1820 Oct 2010 PGA Grand Slam of Golf (2)−5 (68-69=137)1 stroke Flag of the United States.svg David Toms

Other playoff record (3–2)

No.YearTournamentOpponent(s)Result
11996 Johnnie Walker Super Tour Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Ian Woosnam Won with par on first extra hole
21996 Nedbank Million Dollar Challenge Flag of Scotland.svg Colin Montgomerie Lost to birdie on third extra hole
32000 Nedbank Golf Challenge Flag of England.svg Lee Westwood Won with birdie on second extra hole
42001 WGC-World Cup
(with Flag of South Africa.svg Retief Goosen)
Flag of Denmark.svg  DenmarkThomas Bjørn and Søren Hansen,
Flag of New Zealand.svg  New ZealandMichael Campbell and David Smail,
Flag of the United States.svg  United StatesDavid Duval and Tiger Woods
Won with par on second extra hole
New Zealand and United States eliminated by birdie on first hole
52001 Nedbank Golf Challenge Flag of Spain.svg Sergio García Lost to birdie on first extra hole

PGA Tour Champions wins (2)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
18 Mar 2020 Hoag Classic −16 (66-64-67=197)2 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Fred Couples, Flag of the United States.svg Glen Day,
Flag of Sweden.svg Robert Karlsson
211 Oct 2020 SAS Championship −12 (70-68-66=204)1 stroke Flag of Scotland.svg Colin Montgomerie

PGA Tour Champions playoff record (0–1)

No.YearTournamentOpponentsResult
1 2020 Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai Flag of the United States.svg Fred Couples, Flag of Spain.svg Miguel Ángel Jiménez Jiménez won with birdie on second extra hole
Couples eliminated with par on first hole

Major championships

Wins (4)

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMarginRunner(s)-up
1994 U.S. Open 2 shot lead−5 (69-71-66-73=279)Playoff1 Flag of Scotland.svg Colin Montgomerie, Flag of the United States.svg Loren Roberts
1997 U.S. Open (2)2 shot deficit−4 (71-67-69-69=276)1 stroke Flag of Scotland.svg Colin Montgomerie
2002 The Open Championship 2 shot lead−6 (70-66-72-70=278)Playoff2 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Stuart Appleby, Flag of Australia (converted).svg Steve Elkington,
Flag of France.svg Thomas Levet
2012 The Open Championship (2)6 shot deficit−7 (67-70-68-68=273)1 stroke Flag of Australia (converted).svg 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 timeline

Tournament19891990199119921993199419951996199719981999
Masters Tournament T8CUTT12T17T16T27
U.S. Open T7 1 CUTT5 1 T49CUT
The Open Championship CUTT5T6T24T11T2T10T29T24
PGA Championship CUTCUTT25T3T61T53T21CUT
Tournament2000200120022003200420052006200720082009
Masters Tournament 2T6T5T6247T27CUTCUTCUT
U.S. Open T2T66T24T5T9T15T26T51T14CUT
The Open Championship T2T3 1 T182T343T4T7T8
PGA Championship T34T13T34T5T4T163T31T6
Tournament201020112012201320142015201620172018
Masters Tournament T18T47T13CUTT22CUT53
U.S. Open 3CUT9T4T35T54CUTT55CUT
The Open Championship CUTCUT 1 T26CUTT65CUT61CUT
PGA Championship T18CUTT48CUTT7T25T66CUT
Tournament2019
Masters Tournament
PGA Championship
U.S. Open CUT
The Open Championship T32
  Win
  Top 10
  Did not play

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

Summary

TournamentWins2nd3rdTop-5Top-10Top-25EventsCuts made
Masters Tournament 02036122317
PGA Championship 00246122519
U.S. Open 211710132720
The Open Championship 232913172923
Totals46523355410479

Results in The Players Championship

Tournament19931994199519961997199819992000200120022003200420052006200720082009
The Players Championship CUTT45T68T8T10T11T17T20CUTT44T26T17T8T37T6T45
Tournament20102011201220132014201520162017
The Players Championship CUTCUTCUTCUTT72T66T64CUT
  Top 10
  Did not play

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

World Golf Championships

Wins (2)

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMarginRunner-up
2004 WGC-American Express Championship 2 shot lead−18 (69-64-68-69=270)1 stroke Flag of Denmark.svg Thomas Bjørn
2010 WGC-CA Championship (2)Tied for lead−18 (68-66-70-66=270)4 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Charl Schwartzel

Results timeline

Tournament1999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Match Play R64R324R32R64R64R64R64QFR32R32R32R644
Championship T40WDNT1T23T1215T1175T201T15T28T52
Invitational 5T12T8T15T17T65T31T22T27T29T22T37T45T48T26
Champions 2T6T33T2T11T46

1Cancelled due to 9/11

  Win
  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.

Results in senior major championships

Tournament20202021
The Tradition NTT4
Senior PGA Championship NTT16
U.S. Senior Open NT
Senior Players Championship T5
Senior British Open Championship NT
  Top 10

"T" indicates a tie for a place
NT = No tournament due to COVID-19 pandemic

PGA and European Tour career summary

PGA TourEuropean Tour
SeasonWins (Majors)Earnings (US$)Rank [36] Wins (Majors)EarningsRank
199102,6472740£2,357
1992018,4202130£66,62675
1993038,1851900£162,82734
19941 (1)684,440192 (1)£311,85010
19951842,590141£82,459
19961906,944140£209,148
19972 (1)1,243,00892 (1)£359,421
19981763,783361£433,8848
199911,710,756151€588,36012
200013,469,40531€2,017,2483
200102,336,456150€1,716,2874
20022 (1)3,291,89553 (1)€2,251,7083
200323,371,23794€2,975,3741
200435,787,22523€4,061,9051
200501,627,184473€1,012,68318
200602,326,220281€1,716,2085
200702,705,715202€2,496,2372
200812,537,290200€674,09842
200902,147,157360€1,571,50111
201024,558,86131€2,261,6077
20110948,872931€591,50851
20121 (1)3,453,118161 (1)€2,077,533
201301,173,761741€1,166,71220
201401,799,569551€986,23037
20150453,5791590€340,254
20160559,0241480€87,956167
20170155,9262070€137,697157
20180102,8682080€84,792184
20190304,5901860€199,789146
2020018,6732390€12,069268
Career*19 (4)49,339,40011 [37] 28 (4)€28,894,9675 [38]

*As of 27 September 2020.

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 appearances

Professional

See also

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