Genesis Scottish Open

The Renaissance Club


Ben Els' Autism

March 13, 2008

From Little Rock Reader James Henson comes this question and complaint:

I am writing to ask why there is not more mention or attention to the recent announcement of Ben Els' autism on the Golf Digest website.  About all that I have seen is the AP story from Ferguson and Rich Lerner's column on the TGC website.

Have you and others been aware of his illness? Has this been a "respect the privacy of the family" type deal? If it has not been known, doesn't this put Ernie's performances on the golf course in a different light?

We have corresponded before relative to Els a few years ago after he won his British Open is 2002. I really thought that win would mean big things for Els. But now I understand that Ben turned 2 in 2004 during his near Saturday Slam year. He probably found out sometime that year of Ben's condition. Says a lot about his inability to stay focused on his game.

I would like to know who it is that said that "Tiger has a timeshare in Ernie's head".>

Whoever came up with that little gem is despicable and ignorant.

I believe that Ben Els has a place in Ernie's head and his heart and that is how it should be.

God bless their family.

Thanks, James. I think you are right that this weighed heavily on Ernie's mind.  I think there is reporting about it now because Ernie has made it public and wants to use the coverage to raise awareness and funds to fight the disease. The Ben Els story leads our weekly, Golf World, this week in the "Bunker" section. You'll also find it online.

--Bob Carney