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RBC Heritage, Ernie Els Foundation turn golf blue in support of autism awareness

April 16, 2014

2013 RBC Heritage champion Graeme McDowell showed his support last year by wearing the autism awareness ribbon and pin all week.
(photo by: Tyler Lecka/Getty Images)

JUPITER, Fla.- The RBC Heritage has stepped up to support Els for Autism this Apri by recognizing Autism Awareness Month at the PGA TOUR's annual stop in Hilton Head Island, S.C. this week.

Tournament organizers, in conjunction with Els’ sponsors, have partnered with Els for Autism on a number of initiatives to help drive awareness of a disorder that now affects 1 in 68 children in the United States, including 1 in 42 boys, as well as show support to the estimated two million individuals affected by autism and their families.

The RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing has designated Friday, April 18, as the tournament’s Autism Awareness Day or ‘Blue Out Day’. PGA TOUR professionals, caddies, spectators and media will all be asked to wear blue on Friday and join World of Golf Hall of Fame member and four-time major champion Ernie Els in showing support for those affected by autism spectrum disorder.

Blue and white autism awareness ribbon pins will be available to players and caddies at the 1st and 10th tees on Friday. Pins will also be available to members of the media via the tournament’s media center on Thursday and Friday of the tournament. A number of lucky spectators wearing blue on Friday will be rewarded with their own autism awareness pin by roaming Els for Autism representatives at the tournament. In 2013 the winner of the RBC Heritage, Graeme McDowell, wore the blue and white autism awareness ribbon pin for the entire week.

Spectators can also keep a look out for Ernie’s custom blue April autism awareness kit. Els’ signature lion headcover has been turned blue for the month of April, Ernie’s sponsor I-ONICS has produced a special blue charity wrist-band and long-term sponsor SAP will be giving up their spot on the front of Ernie’s hat to Els for Autism on the Friday of the tournament. The SAP logo will be temporarily replaced by the Els for Autism Awareness Puzzle Piece Ribbon that will be embroidered onto the front of the hat. Els for Autism will be giving away some of Ernie’s blue kit to one lucky winner at the end of the tournament via their Twitter page ElsForAutism.  In the meantime, fans can find out how to secure their own Els for Autism blue and white puzzle autism awareness ribbon pin, the I-ONICS charity wristband, as well as a very limited supply of the custom blue lion headcovers, by visiting elsforautism.com/GoBlue.

“I am delighted that once again RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing is joining with us this April to help promote autism awareness and show support to the millions of individuals affected,” said Els for Autism Founder, Ernie Els.

“As many of you will know the prevalence stats have very recently gone from 1 in 88 children affected in the U.S. to 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys," Els continued. With this kind of figure in play autism cannot be ignored – everyone needs to sit up and take notice. One of the key things we are doing this month, with the help of partners like RBC, the Heritage Foundation, Boeing, SAP and my other sponsors, is using golf as a platform to promote not only awareness but the importance of early detection. The earlier we can diagnose our kids and secure the help that they need, the better chance they have of leading productive and rewarding lives. So please join with us this week to show support and help spread awareness.”

“The RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing and the Heritage Classic Foundation are honored to help Ernie spread autism awareness," added RBC Heritage Tournament Director, Steve Wilmot. "We hope all spectators join us by wearing blue on Friday.”

Throughout the month of April, Els for Autism will raise awareness and educate fans and supporters via its social media outlets by sharing educational facts about autism, promoting how the PGA TOUR and sponsors are turning golf blue, and conducting special giveaways.

For more information, please visit elsforautism.com.

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