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Zurich Classic teams with Ernie Els Foundation in support of autism

2013 Zurich Classic champion Billy Horschel showed his support last year by wearing the autism awareness ribbon and pin all week.
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

April 22, 2014

JUPITER, Fla.- The Zurich Classic has stepped up to support Els for Autism this April to recognize Autism Awareness Month at this week's PGA TOUR event to be held at TPC Louisiana in New Orleans.

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 Zurich Classic has designated Saturday, April 26, 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 Saturday 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 tee on Saturday. Pins will also be available to members of the media via the tournament’s Media Center from Thursday and the first 250 fans though the gates on Saturday will also receive their own autism awareness pin. In 2013 the winner of the Zurich Classic, Billy Horschel, was wearing the blue and white autism awareness ribbon when he raised the trophy on the Sunday.
As part of the partnership, Els for Autism, the Zurich Classic and The First Tee will be hosting a #GameON Autism Golf Clinic for children on the spectrum from two local schools; St Michael Special School and the Chartwell Center. The clinic will be held at the Zurich Golf Academy at TPC Louisiana at 3.30pm on Tuesday April 22. Els for Autism ambassador, Ernie Els, is hoping to be in attendance at this clinic. Made possible through a partnership with The PGA of America Foundation, The First Tee, The Honda Classic, Adams Golf and Southwest Airlines, these clinics are especially tailored for individuals on the spectrum and use golf as a medium to develop life skills, encourage social interaction and promote healthy living.
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 this Saturday. The SAP logo will be temporarily replaced by the Els for Autism Awareness Puzzle Piece Ribbon; embroidered onto the front of the hat. Els for Autism will be giving away some of Ernie’s blue kit via its 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:
“A huge thank you to our friends at the Zurich Classic for getting on board again this year and helping us to promote autism awareness and show support to the millions of individuals affected. Not only will we be turning golf blue on Saturday but we have teamed up with the Zurich Golf Academy to host a #GameON Autism Golf Clinic for local kids on the spectrum on Tuesday before the tournament starts.” Said Els for Autism Founder, Ernie Els. 
He added: “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. 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 Zurich, RBC, the Heritage Foundation, Boeing, SAP, Breitling, Adams 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.”
“Zurich is proud to continue our support of the Blue Out and Autism Awareness Month,” said Randall Clouser, Head of Marketing, Distribution and Regional Management for Zurich North America. “Both Zurich and Ernie are passionate about golf. This is a unique opportunity to use the game we love to help children on the autism spectrum build self-esteem and confidence.”

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 our sponsors are turning golf blue, and conducting special giveaways.

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