Ernie Els Honored with Prestigious Payne Stewart Award
Every year since 2000, the PGA Tour has honored the professional golfer who best exemplifies the late Payne Stewart’s values of character, charity and sportsmanship. For 2015, that award has gone to Ernie Els.
This past August, Ernie and his wife, Liezl, opened the Ernie Els Center of Excellence, a 26-acre campus for autistic children in Jupiter, Florida. The center is the culmination of the Els’ long commitment to helping children with autism that began when their own son Ben was diagnosed and they saw the challenges that those children and their families face.
“It’s only fitting that we announce this award on the heels of an amazing milestone in his charitable work through Els for Autism,” PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem said. “The number of lives that will be – and have already been – impacted through his passion and dedication to this cause is immeasurable.”
The Els’ invested $6 million of their own money in the center and helped raise much of the $30 million required to build it.
Terlato Wines proudly supports Els for Autism with every bottle of Ernie Els wine sold.
“The work that we do is a massive team effort, and I thank my wife Liezl and everyone at the foundations for their work and commitment, as well as all the individuals and corporations that support us in helping improve the lives of kids, young adults and families who need and deserve our help,” Ernie said upon receiving the award.
The work goes on, however: Els is now focused on raising the necessary funds to complete the full vision of the Center which includes an Upper School, extensive sports and recreational facilities, a medical and professional services building and an adult services component.
More information on the award can be found here.