Golf Foundation honors Els for his work in aiding growth of junior golf

ernie els
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Ernie Els set up his own foundation in South Africa and two of its products have become major champions.
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PA Sport

Series: Industry News

Former British Open champion Ernie Els received a special award on Tuesday at the British Open to mark his contribution to developing talent.

Els, the champion in 2002, received the Golf Foundation 'Spirit of Golf' award from the charity's president Colin Montgomerie.

2011 BRITISH OPEN

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The South African, who is paired with youngsters Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler in the first two rounds this week, set up his own foundation in his home country of South Africa and two of its products have become major champions -- Louis Oosthuizen at the 2010 British Open and Charl Schwartzel at the 2011 Masters.

"Ernie has been a great ambassador for the sport and a positive role model,” said Mike Round, chief executive of the Golf Foundation. "We are delighted to present him with this award to acknowledge all he's done for children and young people both inside and outside the sport."

Oosthuizen fondly recalls getting started with Els’ foundation back in 1999.

"He helped with flights getting to Johannesburg,” said Oosthuizen. "Before that my dad used to drive me all around South Africa. I got to play a lot more events -- all the amateur events I could.

"It was just a great thing he did for us, helping with clubs and golf balls, clothing, things like that, and it just took a lot off my family,” he explained. "I was in it for three years until I turned pro, and it definitely was a great, great foundation to my pro career."