Ernie Els uses golf to shine a light on Autism this April
April 1, 2014
JUPITER, Fla.– World of Golf Hall of Fame member and four-time major champion, Ernie Els will once again this year be showing his support for those affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) throughout the month of April (Autism Awareness Month) by wearing a blue and white puzzle pin designed to provide international awareness about the disorder. Els will wear the pin to PGA TOUR tournaments in April including the Shell Houston Open, the Masters, the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Els will also be inviting fellow PGA TOUR players and fans to join him in wearing the autism awareness pin in the hope that the effort will shed light on the critical need to detect autism as early as possible. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, Els is also turning his signature Daphne’s lion head cover blue for the month and will wear a blue Els for Autism I-ONICS Power Sport Band. In addition, Els for Autism will release autism facts each day throughout April using social media outlets to educate fans and supporters about the cause.
To support Els’ efforts, tournament organizers for both the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing PGA TOUR events, have teamed up with Els for Autism again this year on a number of initiatives to; raise awareness of autism, highlight the importance of early detection and raise funds to help build The Els Center of Excellence which will serve people on the autism spectrum from ages 3-21.
The RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing has designated Friday, April 18 and the Zurich Classic has designated Saturday, April 26 to be the tournaments’ “Blue Out” days to support autism awareness. PGA TOUR professionals, spectators, volunteers and media will be asked to wear blue on the respective ‘Blue Out’ days and will have the opportunity to donate and receive Els for Autism’s blue and white puzzle pin, which was designed to provide international awareness about the disorder and show support for those affected.
Els’ family of sponsors will also be stepping up to support Autism Awareness Month in various ways. Swiss watchmaker Breitling, Els’ official watch sponsor, will be donating 20% of proceeds from the sale of any timepiece with a blue dial at their U.S. Boutiques for the entire month of April to the Els for Autism Foundation.
“Last year was the first year that we rallied our friends on the PGA TOUR to help us shine a light on autism in the month of April and the support we received was incredible from TOUR players, tournament organizers, fans and media alike,” said Els for Autism founder, Ernie Els.
He added, “A huge thank you to my sponsors and to the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing and the Zurich Classic in particular for helping our efforts to use golf as a platform to raise awareness of this disorder and show support for the many individuals and families impacted by autism. I was pleased to see that last year both the winners of the RBC Heritage and the Zurich Classic tournaments were wearing the pin the entire week so hopefully that will be a motivating factor to get the guys on TOUR on board again this year.”
This year’s Autism Awareness month follows the recent release of new prevalence statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that estimates 1 in 68 children in the U.S. and 1 in 42 boys has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a 30% increase from 1 in 88 children two years ago.
For more information on Els for Autism initiatives taking place in April and to secure the Els for Autism Awareness pin, visit: elsforautism.com/april.
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