Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Els Makes Note of Message from Countryman G. Player

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Els Makes Note of Message from Countryman G. Player

Article excerpt

A message of encouragement from South African golfing legend Gary Player helped to inspire Ernie Els in Monday's U.S. Open playoff.

"Gary sent me a little note this morning. It was hanging in my locker. He wished me all the best," Els said.

Player was the first South African to win the U.S. Open, in 1965 at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.

"It's great to follow in his footsteps," Els said. "It's nice to be the first South African since Gary to win this championship."

Els says he hopes his victory is received well in South Africa, where newly elected President Nelson Mandela has set out to initiate various social reforms in the strife-torn nation.

"It keeps our country on the map. I hope it spreads good cheer throughout our country," Els said.

Els said he thought the television transmission of the Open was on a delayed basis back to South Africa. "We'll find out in a few minutes when we call home," he said.

Els was said to be a formidable athlete growing up. He played high-level tennis, rugby and cricket. His dad, a low-handicapper, introduced him to golf at age 9 or 10.

"I was never any good until I was about 13," Els said. "I won a nice tournament at home, then came over here to San Diego and won the junior world 13-14 age group. That got me on the road. I concentrated solely on golf from that point and forgot the other sports."

Movable Or Not? You can be sure Dr. Trey Holland has learned the difference between movable and immovable objects on the golf course.

He did not know Sunday and suffered much embarrassment because of it. Whether Holland's bad judgment affected the outcome of the U.S. Open never will be known.

It all began when Els hooked his drive on the first hole and faced a difficult second shot from thick rough with a television camera tractor smack in the middle of things.

Holland, working his seventh U. …

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