During a practice round ahead of the CJ Cup, India’s Shubhankar Sharma was paired with Hall of Famer Ernie Els, who also happens to be the 2019 International Presidents Cup captain.
Afterwards, Sharma talked about the time he first met Els, as a 13-year old at the now defunct Emaar-MGF Indian Masters in 2008. Sharma said he followed Els’ group that weekend, and then was lucky enough to be called upon to hit a few balls using the South African star’s 9-iron at a youth clinic, which followed.
“I still remember the day very well. I traveled a long way just to get to Delhi and to watch that tournament,” said Sharma.
“I walked with Ernie first round and I think after the second round is when he had his clinic. There were so many kids there and I was one of the lucky ones to go up to him and say hi and then obviously hit a few shots with his 9-iron.
“So that definitely pushed me and inspired me to get where I am today. And he gave me his card, he signed his card and gave it to me and he said, ‘You’ll be a good player one day, just keep working hard.’ So we were talking about it yesterday and it’s always nice when I remember that day.”
Here’s a neat then and now image posted by the PGA Tour to accompany Sharma’s story: