+ 1 888 3004407 support@alwaysthefirst.com

Presidents Cup on the horizon

  • Ernie Els is a Captain’s Assistant for this year’s Presidents Cup. (Getty Images)

Editor’s note: Ernie Els is writing a blog in 2017 and this is his latest installment. For more information on the World Golf Hall of Famer, visit www.ernieels.com.

There’s a lot to catch up on in this report, although we have to start with news of a disappointing outcome for me at last week’s Wyndham Championship.

I’ve been struggling on and off with a rib injury for a while now and it basically flared-up again on Friday morning. We kind of struggled through the front nine, but it was just too painful to carry on. I couldn’t make a proper swing with the long irons and obviously, you need to be careful not to make things worse, so I had no other option but to withdraw. I just want to take a moment to say thanks again to tournament director Mark Brazil and all the staff who do such a great job with this event. I love this golf course and the fans always give us such a warm welcome. I look forward to returning again in 2018.

Last week did bring more good news on the Els for Autism front, though. It started with an event at Princess Anne Country Club at Virginia Beach. John Gibson and Steve Van Horn, a former Navy Seal, did a really wonderful job there. They organized the whole day, got all the members from the club involved, and I believe we exceeded the fundraising goal, which will benefit Els for Autism and other selected local charities. I had a great time and I want to thank John and Steve for making this event happen and, of course, everyone who supported us on the day.

Meanwhile back in Florida, Liezl and the team at Els for Autism were officially cutting the ribbon to celebrate the opening of the brand-new Shanken Education Wing at the Upper School at The Els Center of Excellence. It was a proud day and another exciting milestone for Els for Autism. Again, we say a heartfelt thanks to our supporters, partners and donors who made this beautiful building a reality for the students. These are exciting times at the Center. For all the latest news, follow us on Facebook.

Returning to the tournament scene, I’ll be missing the FedExCup Playoffs this year, which puts me out of action on the PGA TOUR for the next couple of months. There’s still quite a bit to look forward to, though. In mid-September we’re entered into the KLM Open on the European Tour, an event that I first played in all the way back in 1992 and most recently in 2001. Funnily enough, I remember Bernhard Langer won on both of those occasions…and he’s still going strong!

Then a couple of weeks after the KLM Open we’ll be at Liberty National GC in New Jersey for the 12th playing of The Presidents Cup. As one of Nick Price’s captain’s assistants, I’m looking forward to that. It’s going to be a new experience not playing, but I’m excited about this new role, embracing that whole team vibe and all of us pulling together to try to win this thing for the first time in a while. It’s always a special week.

Besides all of that, there’s plenty to keep me busy throughout the next 6-7 weeks. I want to stay on top of my fitness, so that we can hopefully shake off this rib injury. Obviously, I haven’t played my best stuff this season, but it’s my nature to always look forwards, never back. Let’s see if we can get something going in the latter part of this year.

Finally, before we sign off I must just give a quick shout-out to one of my sponsors, Boeing, as the company gets ready to once again host the Champions Tour’s Boeing Classic over in Seattle at beautiful Snoqualmie Ridge. I am a proud ambassador of Boeing and, on one of the occasions I was last in Seattle, we were lucky enough to visit one of the factories. For an aviation fan such as myself, that was an amazing experience! Anyway, I know from talking to some of the guys that have played this tournament in recent years that it’s always a wonderful week. Boeing clearly does a great job there. I send everyone my best wishes for another successful staging.