Ernie Els is a South African professional golfer. Growing up in Lambton, Germiston, South Africa, he played rugby, cricket, tennis and, starting at age 8, golf. He was a skilled junior tennis player and won the Eastern Transvaal Junior Championships at age 13.
A former World No. 1, he is known as "The Big Easy" due to his imposing physical stature, along with his fluid golf swing. Among his 71 career victories are four major championships: the U.S. Open in 1994 and in 1997, and The Open Championship in 2002 and in 2012. As of 2021, he is one of six golfers to twice win both the U.S. Open and The Open Championship. Other highlights in Els' career include topping the 2003 and 2004 European Tour Order of Merit (money list), and winning the World Match Play Championship a record seven times. He was the first member of the tour to earn over €25,000,000 from European Tour events. He has held the number one spot in the Official World Golf Ranking and until 2013 held the record for weeks ranked in the top ten with 788.
He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2010, on his first time on the ballot, and was inducted in May 2011. When not playing, Els has a golf course design business, a charitable foundation which supports golf among underprivileged youth in South Africa, and a winemaking business. He has written a popular golf instructional column in Golf Digest magazine for several years.