Muirfield, Scotland: Ernie Els, a four-time Major champion and a World Golf Hall of Famer, has accepted an invitation to become an honorary member and international ambassador of the Asian Tour.
The South African star, who will defend his Open Championship title at Muirfield this week, said he was delighted to receive the recognition from Asia’s premier Tour, which is celebrating its milestone 10th season as a players’ organisation this year.
“It is a great honour for me to receive an honorary membership from the Asian Tour. This is absolutely wonderful. I’ve played in Asia for many, many years and for them to do that, to basically be their international ambassador as well, is something which I will take seriously,” said Els.
A former world number one, Els has been a huge supporter of the Asian Tour, where he has featured in a total of 26 tournaments across the region dating back to 2004, when the Tour was established by the players. He has an impressive record with two victories and 16 other top-10s in those appearances.
This season the 43-year-old, who has 70 professional victories worldwide including the recent BMW International Open in Munich, has featured in two Asian Tour tournaments, where he finished tied 14th at the inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic in Thailand and runner-up at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters.
“I’ve played in Asia twice already this year. I’ve played over there since I’ve been a professional golfer. I’ve seen a lot of the players coming through. Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, you know, he’s my age, and he’s played his whole career with a lot of success and to also see the youngsters coming through from the Asian Tour is wonderful,” said Els, who is nicknamed the “Big Easy”.
Els will join Fiji’s Vijay Singh, Jeev Milkha Singh of India and Korean duo Y.E. Yang and K.J. Choi as honorary members of the Asian Tour.