On the face of it, it was a simple logo on a golf bag: Autism Speaks. But when The Big Easy walked onto the course 13 years ago with this American organisation’s logo on his bag, it was also a silent statement of intent.
This is how Ernie Els first told the world about the challenges facing his son Ben (then 5). Until that American PGA tournament in 2008, the only people who knew that Ben was on the autism spectrum had been Ernie, his wife Liezl, their daughter Samantha and family and close friends.
By revealing his son’s condition in this way, Ernie took his first steps on a long journey to raising awareness about autism.