Els accepts honorary membership

Wed 17 Jul 2013

Els accepts honorary membership


Muirfield, July 16: 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 from 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 across the region.

This season, the 43-year-old, who has 70 professional victories worldwide including the recent BMW International Open in Munich, featured in two Asian Tour tournaments where he finished tied 14th at the inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT 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”.

“Well, who knows where the Asian Tour will be in 10 years’ time? I can only see it growing. It’s just an amazing part of the world. Golf is so spectacular over there for the people. They are so excited about it. Golf courses are going up all over the place there where I’m designing several courses in Southeast Asia. It just keeps growing. It’s such a big part of the world with a huge population. Golf is one of the really growing markets in Asia,” he added.

Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han, who presented an Asian Tour badge to Els to signify the new and exciting partnership, said the Tour and the players were excited to welcome the South African star into the Asian golf family.

Han said: “We are extremely honoured and privileged that Ernie Els has agreed to become an Honorary Member and our very first International Ambassador of the Asian Tour. Ernie is truly one of golf’s most famous stars and is widely respected globally for his achievements in the game and also contribution to various community and social projects that he is involved in.

“Through this wonderful partnership, we are delighted to officially welcome Ernie into the Asian Tour family. His views on the development of golf are widely respected and we look forward to his continued input and contribution to this great game and also on the Asian Tour.

“This year, the Asian Tour is celebrating our milestone 10th season as a players’ organisation and with this positive development with Ernie, we look forward to 10 more successful seasons.”

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.

About the Asian Tour

In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Canon (Official Imaging Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf