Son Ben was in mind while putting: Ernie Els
Ernie says his autistic son Ben was on his mind while he worked his way to victory at Royal Lytham
Ernie Els, back as Open champion, remembered his nine-year-old autistic son at Royal Lytham late on Sunday night.
Els spoke with the Claret Jug alongside him while arrangements were being made for a helicopter flight back to London to see his family — a big change from 12 days earlier when he flew on Easyjet to the Scottish Open.
“I made a lot of putts today with Ben in mind because I know Ben’s watching,” the 42-year-old South African said. “He loves when I hit golf balls — he’s always there. He comes with me. He loves the flight of the ball and the sound.
“I know he was watching today. He gets really excited and I wanted to keep him excited today, so I made a lot of putts for him. Since revealing Ben’s condition four years ago the Els family have put all their energies into fund-raising and are hoping to open a multi-million pound centre in Florida soon.
Els also paid tribute to South African leader Nelson Mandela: “If I win, I told myself, I’d better thank President Mandela because I grew up in the era of the apartheid and then changing into the democratic era President Mandela was right there.”