Jan 9th, 2017
Sir Nick and Ernie working together
To promote junior golf globally
Words: John Dean Photography: Getty Images
Sir Nick Faldo and Ernie Els are bringing together teams from their foundations, the Faldo Series and the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, together with a team from the South African Golf Development Board, to compete in a unique event to promote junior golf globally.
The competition will be hosted by the Major champions themselves, and will feature international teams of boys and girls competing on January 8-9 at the Ernie Els Signature design The Els Club at Copperleaf.
The individual winner of the 36-hole stroke-play event will get to play in the Pro-Am of the BMW SA Open Championship next week.
Speaking from Herold’s Bay near George, Ernie Els said, "Sir Nick and I have spoken many times over the years about creating an event that provides our members and others with a great opportunity to compete with other international elite amateurs.”
This first event in South Africa fulfills that role and more importantly, it enables our members to embrace new experiences, cultures and friendships. It is about developing the ‘whole' rather than just one element of their games.
Faldo, who is keen to see the event grow, said: "Ernie and I have long discussed an event which includes South Africa and further globalises junior golf.”
“We are planting an acorn and we expect an oak tree will grow. Our Faldo Series, which includes participation from players in Europe, the US, Asia, Australia and South America, now includes another continent.
"Ernie and I share an interest in the future of this game and he is a true role model through his work for young people. Together we want to lead a collaboration which creates future heroes and corporate commitment to junior golf."
Els went on to say, “Thanks to Wolfgang Raffalsky of Plastomark, a dear friend and long-time supporter of the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, we have been able to turn this dream into a reality.
We are also very grateful to The Els Club at Copperleaf for hosting the tournament. This course is particularly close to my heart as it is built on land where my grandfather Ernie Vermaak once farmed.
Six-time Major winner Sir Nick Faldo will then join tournament host Ernie Els and World Number Two Rory McIlroy in the field of the 106th BMW South African Open later in the week at Glendower Golf Club.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in over 30 countries worldwide, touching thousands of golfers each year.