Wednesday, 06 March 2013
Ernie Els   (Getty Images)
Ernie Els (Getty Images)

Ernie Els announced today from the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship that registration is now open for the third annual Els for Autism Golf Challenge; the largest international charity-driven amateur golf tournament in history.

In 2013, the Golf Challenge - an international season long event series, will be comprised of over 20 events at a selection of North America’s finest golf courses. Host venues for 2013 include PGA TOUR stops; Harbour Town Golf Links, TPC Boston, Conway Farms Golf Club.

Other prestigious host venues include a fabulous selection of courses from the Trump Golf portfolio; and Major Championship venues including Hazeltine National Golf Club and Baltusrol Golf Club. The 2013 series will fittingly kick-off with its first event on April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day, at the highly acclaimed Floridian. 

Since its inaugural 2011 series, the Els for Autism Golf Challenge has raised over US$4 million for autism thanks to 3,300 rounds of golf and over 13,000 donors pledging funds. The series has also helped raise awareness of a disorder that that now affects a staggering, one in 88 children and one in 54 boys.

In this event series, a team's fundraising ability is valued as much as their performance on the golf course. Teams will compete in a combined low-net event for a selection of first class Regional prizes and all teams that fundraise $13,000 or more will join Els and his friends from the PGA TOUR at the series Finale in Las Vegas in October. 

Els, whose 10-year old son Ben is severely touched by autism, and who set up the Els for Autism Foundation in 2009 with his wife Liezl, said: “This year is a big year for the Foundation as we prepare to start construction on the Centre of Excellence. We are so grateful for the support we have already received but this year we really need everyone to join us to make this happen, so please, come out and support this great cause and help us make a difference to the lives of thousands of families affected by autism. 

“To help us in our mission this year we are honoured to welcome new sponsors; The Trump Organization and Breitling USA, who join an exceptional family of Organizing Sponsors led by Presenting Sponsor SAP; who have been with us from the beginning and have been instrumental in the growth and success of the Challenge so far."

Els also announced his plan to get his fellow professionals to help him shine a light on autism this April during Autism Awareness month: "In April this year I'll be asking my friends on the PGA TOUR to join me in helping raise awareness about the benefits of early detection and show support to the autism community by wearing an Els for Autism blue and white puzzle piece pin at tournaments during April. Pins are also available via our website for members of the public who wish to show their support.”

The proceeds from Golf Challenge benefit the Els for Autism Foundation and the funding of a state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence that will combine the vital components of education, medical and professional services and transition to adulthood. The Centre will also be a hub for a global digital learning program that will make therapeutic best practices available to children and families touched by autism in the U.S. and internationally.

Due to break ground this year, the first phase of the Centre's development, will focus on an academic village offering a powerful combination of traditional educational resources, state-of-the-art technology and specially designed spaces that inspire creativity and individuality for children on the autism spectrum. Committed to a global mission, the Centre also includes facilities for international visiting scholars and researchers who will contribute to the global autism community's offerings of best practice in education and therapy.

For more information about the Golf Challenge, the full events schedule and to register visit: www.e4aGolf.com 

To find out how to support Autism in April and to secure the Autism Awareness pin that Ernie wearing at PGA TOUR tournaments during the month of April, visit: www.elsforautism.com/april 

About The Els for Autism Foundation

The Foundation was established in 2009 by Liezl and Ernie Els shortly after their son Ben was diagnosed with autism. The Foundation has since embarked on a catalytic project; the establishment of a state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence with a local, national and global reach. Els for Autism is a US 501(c)(3) public charity (EIN #26-3520396).
• Foundation website: www.elsforautism.com 
• Golf Challenge website: www.e4agolf.com.com 
Can be downloaded for editorial use at: www.elsforautism.phanfare.com/5948584 
• To donate by check: make out checks to Els for Autism and address to: Els for Autism, 3900 Military Trail, Suite 200, Jupiter, FL 33458
• To donate online visit: www.elsforautism.com 

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