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Golf greats raise money for 2nd annual Ernie Els' autism event

Els For Autism charity event is held at Black Diamond Ranch golf club
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Posted at 2:23 PM, Feb 15, 2022

LECANTO, Fla. — A dream team of 11 professional golfers got together on the course Tuesday to raise money for the “Els For Autism” foundation.

“The players on the Champions Tour, for the most part, are all legends,” caddy and event organizer Martin Courtois said.

They don’t get any more legendary than Fred Couples, John Daly, Rocco Mediate, Jim Furyk, Nancy Lopez, and Els.

“He’s one of the game's greatest players ever, 19 wins, 4 majors,” Courtois said. “His resume is certainly up there in the top 10.”

When Els is not on the course, his focus in on “Els For Autism,” his charitable foundation that spans worldwide. It was created in 2009 with his son Ben being impacted by an autism disorder.

“Our son has autism so we decided to build a center for kids that have autism,” Els told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger. “It’s an ongoing process, but we have the capacity for 300 kids and they range from ages 3 to 64.”

The center is located in Jupiter.

“He and his wife do a phenomenal job,” Couples said. “My wife-to-be is playing with Nancy Lopez.”

Black Diamond Ranch is hosting the charity golf event for a second straight year.

“It’s really exciting. It was really exciting last year to see all these names we known for years,” club member Sandy Hanson said. “You know, famous people coming to play on our course, warm-up on our range, and talk about the game.”

These 11 legends have combined for 151 tour wins, and 15 majors. Lopez has 48 of those wins on her own. But, they’re all on this one course with some breathtaking views.

“They put us out overlooking that quarry,” Couples said. “So spectacular. I played it for the first time last year. Came out early, played nine holes yesterday. It’s beautiful.”

This dream team of pros helped to raise over $300,000.

“They are very giving of their time and the public doesn’t really know it, which is true philanthropy, when you don’t let people know,” Courtois added.