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Ernie Els to take well-deserved spot in Hall of Fame

Ernie Els got what he deserved this week - a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

There's a solid case to be made against inducting players still in the relative prime of their careers into Halls of Fame but, that aside, Els was a lock to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I voted for him.

He's been among the game's best players for the better part of two decades, winning three major championships, threatening in many more and collecting trophies around the globe.

Could he have won more had he spent less time hopscotching the globe and settled in one place? Probably, but he chose a jet-lagged path and he's made the most of it.

His record shows 18 PGA Tour victories, including two U.S. Opens and a British Open, as well as more than 40 other worldwide wins. Once he turned 40, the threshold for Hall membership, Els' selection was a foregone conclusion.

Els got the official word in a phone call two weeks ago but didn't tell anyone, even his family "because I knew my daughter, she wouldn't be able to keep it quiet," he said.

He broke the news to them Monday night before heading to Atlanta.

A win in Atlanta at the Tour Championship would probably lock down the player of the year award for Els, stacking it on top of his early-season wins.

"Obviously, this makes the year," Els said. "It makes you feel very good about what you've done.

"You'd like to think you could have done more and can still do more but, obviously, (I'm) very, very honored to be inducted."

Els will be enshrined May 9 along with Doug Ford, Jock Hutchison and former president George H.W. Bush.

Ford and Hutchison were selected in the veterans category while Bush was honored in the lifetime achievement category.