The South African is known as ‘The Big Easy’ due to his physical stature and fluid golf swing, a swing which has won him a phenomenal 70 professional career victories to date, including two on the Asian Tour (2005 BMW Asian Open in China and 2005 Qatar Masters).
He is hoping to add another victory in October after making his debut at the Venetian Macau Open last year where he tied for third place at 12-under-par 272, four shots behind the champion Scott Hend of Australia.
Els, who is an Asian Tour Honorary Member and International Ambassador, turned professional in 1989 and his stellar career includes four Major Championship wins (US Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open Championship in 2002 and 2012), two World Golf Championship events and seven World Matchplay titles. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
He is relishing the opportunity to compete at Macau’s most iconic sporting event again, this time while sporting the logo of his new sponsor, The Venetian Macao.
“I am really excited to be coming back to Macau. I had a great time last year and the tournament was extremely well organised. The city is amazing with world class hospitality and entertainment. I had my 44th birthday there last year which was fantastic fun, in fact I enjoyed it so much that I’ve recently become a global ambassador for The Venetian Macao and will be working with them on a number of golf initiatives over the forthcoming months,” said Els.
“I have always enjoyed playing in this part of the world and especially to play at the Venetian Macau Open which is one of the most prestigious events on the Asian Tour. I know that Lee (Westwood) and Colin (Montgomerie) have won there in the past and I hope to emulate them and lift the trophy this year!”
The Venetian Macau Open is jointly organised by Macau Sport Development Board of Macau SAR Government (MSDB) and Golf Association of Macau. It is sanctioned by both the Asian Tour and the Golf Association of Macau, and promoted by IMG. The Venetian Macao is the title sponsor of the event for a third successive year.
José Tavares, President of MSDB, was delighted to hear of Els’ participation at this year’s Venetian Macau Open again.
“We are honoured to welcome Mr. Ernie Els to Macau again this coming October. He is without doubt one of the world’s greatest golfers and having a player of his profile at our event is a true reflection of how the Venetian Macau Open continues to grow in stature. The ‘Big Easy’ will definitely be a big draw for golf fans from Macau and further afield.”
Charles Lo, President of the Golf Association of Macau, added, “We are very happy that Ernie Els will be playing in Macau again this year. He is a living legend in the world of golf and a lot of golfers look up to him. I hope our players can make good use of this opportunity to learn from a true champion.”
Gunther Hatt, Executive Vice President of Operations for Sands China Ltd. believes the participation of Els at the Venetian Macau Open will help generate increased profile and interest for the tournament and the city of Macau itself.
“The tournament is a popular stop on the Asian Tour schedule. Both players and golf fans love coming to Macau. Ernie’s presence will definitely attract a crowd to watch him play and it will be an opportunity for all to experience Macau’s wonderful hospitality and entertainment. Having a world class golfer such as Els in Macau further enhances Macau’s reputation as a top destination in Asia for sport, leisure and business travel. And we’re very excited to be sponsoring Ernie this year as he wears The Venetian Macao logo.”
Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han said: “We look forward to Ernie’s participation in the Venetian Macau Open. As our Honorary Member and International Ambassador, it’s great for him to come back to support one of our most prestigious tournaments in the region. His achievements in golf are truly an inspiration to many players. We believe his support will further develop the game in Asia.”
Grant Slack, IMG Senior Vice President added: “The Macau Open is now recognised as the city’s premier annual sporting event and IMG has been involved with the tournament since 2011. Every year the tournament continues to grow with greater prize money and a stronger field. This is a tournament the players want to play and the participation of Ernie Els is a great reflection of the Venetian Macau Open in terms of competition quality and reputation.”
Entry to the Venetian Macau Open is free so golf fans from around the region can enjoy live, world class golf by Els and many leading Asian Tour players, in one of the best loved destinations for leisure and entertainment travel in Asia.
Since its inauguration in 1998, the tournament has been graced by the presence of some of the best golfers the world has ever seen, including Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Nick Faldo, Padraig Harrington, Fred Couples, Ian Woosnam and Mark O’Meara. This year’s event boasts a total prize fund of US$900,000, an increase of 12.5% compared to last year.
Sponsors joining The Venetian Macao in support of the tournament include Rolex, Air Macau, Blue Girl, Lamborghini and Hong Kong Descente, which carries both the Le Coq Sportif Golf Collection and Munsingwear.
Source: Asian Tour