Not content with merely being a golfinggreat, Els also has a golf developmentfoundation, a project that raises fundsfor autism, a course design company and a successful wine farm.(Image: Ernie Els) Despite his imposing height of 1.91m,Els is known for his genial personality.(Image: Wikimedia Commons) MEDIA CONTACTS • Duncan WoodsBrand manager, Els Group (SA)+27 21 881 3588 RELATED ARTICLES • SA to host world’s richest golf event • SA golf prodigy wins British Open • Sun City golf courses still top notch • Reviving sport in SA schoolsSource: SouthAfrica.infoSouth African sporting great Ernie Els was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Monday. He joins the legendary Gary Player, who entered the Hall in 1974.The other members of the 2011 Hall of Fame class were Jock Hutchison, Doug Ford, Jumbo Ozaki, Frank Chirkinian, and former US president George Bush.Nicknamed “The Big Easy” because of his wonderful swing, Els was elected in his first year on the ballot. That’s not surprising as he has won 62 titles so far in his career, including two US Opens and one British Open title. Much like Player, he has enjoyed success around the world.Success around the worldEls has won 15 times on the PGA Tour, 21 times on the European Tour, 18 times on South Africa’s Sunshine Tour, and recorded eight other wins besides. He has also played in the Presidents Cup six times, represented South Africa in the Dunhill Cup in nine consecutive years, and in the World Cup five times.He topped the European Tour’s Order of Merit in 2003 and 2004. He has also won the World Matchplay Championship a record seven times. Gary Player is tied with Seve Ballesteros for the second most wins, with five.Long before he turned professional, Els began making his mark and his name first sprung to prominence in 1984 when he won the 1984 Junior World Golf Championship in San Diego by beating home town golfer Phil Mickelson in the final. It has indeed been a long journey.Impact beyond the golf courseHis impact, however, extends beyond his achievements on the course. South African golf is going through a purple patch at present, with Charl Schwartzel the current Masters champion and Louis Oosthuizen the British Open champion. Both of them were members of Els’ junior golf foundation, now known as the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation.Oosthuizen told Helen Ross on the PGA Tour website: “If it weren’t for Ernie Es, I would not be where I am today. It’s as simple as that.“I spent several happy years at Ernie’s foundation and whenever I wanted help since I have been out on Tour, Ernie has happily given it. I could not have found a better role model.”‘A great inspiration’Schwartzel said: “Ernie has been a great inspiration and friend to me for years. He is always happy to give his time and expertise, and I have been the grateful beneficiary of his generosity.”It is not only the younger generation of South African golfers that appreciates what Els has done. Gary Player, too, was full of praise for him.“I was so pleased to hear the news that Ernie has been selected to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame,” he said. “Ernie certainly deserves this recognition, as he epitomises a ‘world’ golfer.“He is a credit to the game and an ambassador for the sport. Ernie has been a wonderful friend over the years and I am very fond of him and his family.”Champion for autismApart from his excellence as a golfer and the opportunities he has created for youngsters through his foundation, Els is also striving to make a difference in the lives of people who have autism, or who are affected by it.Duncan started with the Ernie Els Wines team in 2003, and has recently re-joined the group as Ernie Els Group Brand Manager focussing on the South African market.His son Ben is autistic and Els has used his profile to raise money for charities devoted to the condition, whilst also establishing the Els for Autism Foundation.In 2009, he hosted the first annual Els for Autism charity golf event, which featured many PGA Tour and Champions Tour players. That year, he raised $725 000 (R4.9-million) for the Renaissance Learning Center, a non-profit school for autistic children, near his residence in West Palm Beach, Florida.The pace of fund raising at the charity golf event has been maintained, and after it was recently held for a third time the money raised by it had topped $2.2-million (R14.9-million).Els Center for ExcellenceEls, along with his wife Liezl, has established the Els Center for Excellence which, it is planned, will combine the Renaissance Learning Center with a research facility. It is a $30-million (R203-million) project and the couple has committed $6-million R41-million) of their own money to it.To top things off, mention must be made of Els as a successful golf course designer, with top class layouts in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and southern Africa. They include, among others, the Savannah course at Mission Hills in China, the re-design of Wentworth in England, The Durrat al Bahrain in Bahrain, The Els Club in Dubai, Hoakalei in Hawaii, and Oubaai in South Africa.
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LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa AFP official booed out of forum PFL-Sportradar deal to ‘clean’ matches “It was a great feeling. I can’t ask for more. The players gave it their all,” said Acaylar.It was a double treat for Perpetual as it swept the juniors finals series following a 25-17, 25-17, 25-17 triumph over Letran early in the day.Ivan Encila and Noel Kampton scored a combined 31 points for the Junior Altas to dominate the best-of-three finals.ADVERTISEMENT Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving The Altas lost the opening set, fought tooth and nail to level the match after two frames and then saw themselves in a deep 19-12 rut in the fourth set before unleashing a strong finishing kick.“We didn’t want to give up the fourth set and risk playing a fifth-setter,” said Perpetual coach Sammy Acaylar, who sobbed unabashedly in the din of revelry at the jam-packed FilOil Flying V Centre.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutTaneo, Jobert Almodiel and Ronniel Rosales conspired late in the fourth set to complete the comeback which was highlighted by three straight kill blocks that sapped the energy of the Chiefs.Taneo was named Finals MVP, which was a fitting tribute to his contributions to the school, which regained the title it last won two years ago. MOST READ Read Next Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Perpetual Altas spikers. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Dennis Abrina/UPHThroughout the final series, Perpetual needed to come from behind to stay afloat. On Thursday night, it went through the same route to finally finish on top.John Patrick Ramos buried a smash off a perfect quick set by graduating setter Junjun Taneo to complete an epic comeback against Arellano, 23-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-23, as the Altas claimed their 11th NCAA men’s volleyball crown.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
Untainted by life’s experiences, Lucy Mathen, 57, is as fresh as a teenager out to change the world. A decade ago she founded Second Sight, a non-profit organisation that raises funds for cataract surgeries for the underprivileged. Not only did she find hope everyday, but also gave some to thousands,Untainted by life’s experiences, Lucy Mathen, 57, is as fresh as a teenager out to change the world. A decade ago she founded Second Sight, a non-profit organisation that raises funds for cataract surgeries for the underprivileged. Not only did she find hope everyday, but also gave some to thousands of people in vast parts of rural India- Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa, the worst affected cataract belt in the world.Ten years after its inception, Second Sight now has a database of 100 experienced eye surgeons from the UK and India, including herself. All of them volunteer to spend short periods of time in India, providing free surgery to the blind. True to her nature, adding a little spunk to her job was inevitable. Being a sports enthusiast, raising funds by running in the London Marathon was the obvious choice. “I hate the celebrity culture that dominates TV and the media, particularly when it impinges on humanitarian work. I believe it is deeply cynical to think that people will pay attention to social causes only through celebrities,” she says.But this was not what she started out to do. For Mathen, life came full circle with a dramatic twist of fate. A journalist for the first 15 years of her career, including a fairly long stint with the BBC, she went to Afghanistan in 1988 to shoot a documentary on women. It was there that she met a doctor and realised that he was risking his life to speak to them. “I suddenly felt like a bit of a fraud. That’s when I vowed that if I were ever in a war zone again, I would be a medic and not a reporter,” says Mathen. In 1989, she enrolled at the St. George’s Hospital Medical School, London. At 36, she was almost double the age of the average student in her class. But that did not deter her from becoming a doctor. “My mother is the greatest influence in my life. She has always taught me that one can achieve anything one wants to with a bit of determination.” And determined she was. Being a mother of a six-year-old, Leyla, and pregnant with her second child, Calum, Mathen finished her studies without a break thanks to her mother, who, like Mathen, never thought age should be a deterrent while choosing one’s path in life. “I think the toughest time for me was breast-feeding Calum during my term as a medical student. It was always a run for the only private room for doctors. But my fellow students would stand guard and firmly ask the doctors to stay out till I was done,” reminisces Mathen. While this was obviously not the easiest path to take, her husband, Mark Rees, an IT consultant, always motivated her to follow her heart. Studying medicine was just the beginning of a long journey. She went on to specialise in ophthalmology and her reason is simple. “The eye doctors I met seemed so much happier than the other specialists,” she says. But the going got tougher. While she was struggling to get surgical experience in her first ophthalmic job, she came to India to train in a surgical course. It was here that she encountered the magnitude of the problem. Even though she returned to England to work with the National Health Service, she knew she had to come back to contribute substantially towards eliminating cataract blindness.After four years, she returned and travelled extensively through the northern part of India. With 80 per cent of the country’s blind living in rural areas, she was shocked to see that most of the ophthalmologists were based in cities. “I found that there were many eye hospitals with the required equipment in place. What was missing were the surgeons.” After working in the rural areas of six northern states, she finally narrowed down her work to areas that were the most affected-rural Bihar and Orissa. On one of the busy days at the Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital, run by Mrityunjay Tiwari in Mastichak, Bihar, Second Sight’s main partner hospital in the region, she and Tiwari sat down and planned a target to eliminate blindness from certain parts of Bihar by October 14, 2010, which is also World Sight Day.Apart from being actively involved in eradicating cataract blindness, Mathen is also the catalyst behind the idea of the Akhand Jyoti Football Academy, a project that started as a whim but ended up doing a lot more than just teaching village girls how to play football. “A downside of getting older is that one’s peers seem to give up on team games. That is why I feel like I’m in heaven when I play football with the girls in Bihar,” says Mathen. In this area, where poverty drives the families to marry their daughters way before the legal age, this academy trains 60 girls (often malnourished) in lieu of a promise from their families to stave off their wedding age to nothing less than 21. The hospital also pays the tuition fee for their schooling apart from providing nutritious mid-day meals, English language and IT classes and an internship at the hospital.Women like Mathen, who carve out their own unique path in the world, lead by example and compel others to question their priorities. Passionate and driven, a vision like hers will help people look at the world in a new light.advertisementadvertisement