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GCSAA (Golf Course Superintendents Association of America), has announced that four-time major champion Ernie Els has been named the recipient of the 2018 Old Tom Morris Award from the GCSAA.

The Ernie Els Autism Foundation was formed in 2009, one year before Els was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Els also created in his home country of South Africa, the Ernie Els Foundation in 1999, that has since joined the Fancourt Hotel and Golf Estate, that works with underprivileged teens and gives them a chance to get involved with golf and improve their education skills.

The GCSAA has presented the OTM award since 1983 to the individual, who through the game of golf, has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris.

Morris a four-time Open Championship winner, was the superintendent at St. Andrews until his death in 1896.

“I am honored and humbled to be asked to receive the Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association,” said Els. “As I have grown in my involvement with the game of golf, from professional golfer to golf course designer, I have come to value the role of golf course superintendents. They are vital to this game as ever, and as vital to this game as anyone.”

Ernie Els

Els, known as the “Big Easy” from his soft but fluid swing, has 70 career world wide wins, and has spent 788 weeks ranked in the top 10 in the world.

Els has won two U.S. Opens and two Open Championships.

In 2009 Els and wife Liezl learned their son Ben was Autistic. This lead Els to help lead efforts in building the 30 million dollar Center for Autistic Children in Florida. The center provides both professional and medical resources to the over 300 students.

“Years from now people may remember me as a golfer and a major champion. But I’d like to be remembered a somebody who took the issue of Autism and did something with it,” said Els. “The rest of my life I’ll be fighting this thing. I hope you will join me.”

For more information and a list of past winners, see www.gcsaa.org.

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both Chicagoland Golf and the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine. Rory has played over 460 courses in 37 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.