HSBC World Match Play ChampionshipOMEGA ambassador Els celebrates victory
With the applause of the delighted crowds who witnessed his stunning victory at the OMEGA European Masters in Crans-Montana in September still ringing in his ears, Ernie Els has celebrated yet another win in a string of golfing victories that have made this the most successful year of his career to date. After beating Thomas Björn at the final of the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth Club in Virginia Water, Surrey, Els has joined the ranks of Seve Ballesteros and Gary Player to become a five-time winner of the prestigious title.
As in his earlier victories over Tim Clark and Vijay Singh, Els took the upper hand early on in the match. Despite the fantastic performance of fellow European Tour member Thomas Björn – who himself achieved the third hole-in-one in the 40-year history of the World Match Play Championship – the great South African never let his guard down. Ernie was clearly delighted with his achievement, saying, "It is great, just great. It has been a wonderful championship and there has been so much history in this tournament: it started forty years ago with Arnold Palmer as the first champion and there have been so many great champions since then, the who's who of golf have really won this tournament. What can I say? I had a really great week".
Indeed, it has not only been a great week, but a fantastic 2003 for the Number One seed, who has won seven titles in a calendar year for the first time in his career. Fellow European Tour member Danish Thomas Björn paid tribute to the talent of Els, saying, "It is no shame to lose to this guy. They don't come any better than him and he knows how to handle himself in this tournament. I had three or four holes this morning where I got momentum going but I never got it going for a long enough stretch and then he is just too tough a cookie to get through. I feel I've come a long way this week with the support of the crowds but it just wasn't enough to beat Ernie today".
OMEGA warmly congratulates Els on this latest victory in an exceptional year of golfing success. The brand looks forward to sharing more celebrations with its star ambassador in the near future.