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Els for Autism Tournament Raises More Than $500,000

David Savona
Posted: March 27, 2009

The inaugural Els for Autism charity pro-am golf tournament, held Monday at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, brought some of the biggest names in golf together for a wonderful cause—to raise money to combat autism. The event, cosponsored by Cigar Aficionado and Wine Spectator magazines, owned by Marvin R. Shanken, and Johann Rupert, the chairman of Richemont International S.A., raised more than $500,000 for the charity, which underwrites research in search of a cure for autism, a disease affecting an increasing number of children every year, particularly boys.

The tournament was the brainchild of Shanken, who had the idea for the pro-am after watching Els reveal to the world last year that his then 5-year-old son, Ben, was autistic. (Read Shanken's blog for more on the event's creation.) Els and Shanken gathered together a group of 84 professional golfers and amateurs. The pro golfers included present and former PGA Tour players, including Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, Tim Clark, Luke Donald, Stuart Appleby, Robert Allenby and Justin Rose, and, of course, the host, Els. The amateur field included such high-profile personalities as Rush Limbaugh, Jason Taylor and Bobby Orr.

The brilliant, windy day and fast-paced course (the spot where Els made his declaration about Ben, after winning the 2008 Honda Classic) proved a difficult challenge. To lift everyone's spirits, fine cigars were provided by Alec Bradley, La Flor Dominicana, Padrón and Rocky Patel Cigars, plus libations from Moët Hennessy, Grey Goose Vodka, Patrón Tequila and Johnny Walker Scotch.

For complete coverage of the event, see the June issue of Cigar Aficionado. For a comprehensive photo gallery of the day, click here. Also, click here to check out Cigar Aficionado editor and publisher Marvin R. Shanken's blog.

To see television coverage of the event, click here.

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