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Ernie Els Set Another Scoring Record for Fourth Victory with Titleist Equipment.


Fairhaven, MA (February 17, 2003) - Ernie Els demands a lot of himself and from the equipment he trusts. And he places his trust in Titleist equipment from tee-to-green. Just weeks after shattering the PGA Tour scoring mark in relation to par at the season-opening Mercedes Championships (-31), Els achieved the same accomplishment on the PGA European Tour, firing a record 29-under par 259 to win the Johnnie Walker Classic by 10 strokes. He smashed the tournament scoring record set in 2001 by four strokes after shooting four consecutive rounds in the 60s. Els now has claimed four victories and one runner-up finish in the first five events in which he has played this year.

''The way I'm playing now is some of the best golf I've ever played,'' said Els following his landslide victory in Perth, Australia, where he shot a final round 6-under par 66 to secure the victory and the record. ''The whole package is pretty good at the moment.''

Els' equipment ''package'' includes the new Titleist Pro V1x prototype golf ball, Titleist Titanium 983K prototype driver, Titleist 980F prototype fairway metal, Titleist Forged 690MB irons and a Scotty Cameron by Titleist Studio Stainless putter. He also wears a Titleist golf glove and FootJoy shoes. A true international ambassador, Els now has won 42 times around the world, including the Mercedes Championships and Sony Open on the PGA Tour and Heineken Classic and Johnnie Walker Classic on the PGA European Tour this year. He finished second at the Singapore Open by one stroke.

In addition to Els' success, victories by Vicente Fernandez on the Champions Tour and Anders Hultman at the season-opening Classic on the Canadian Tour, increase Titleist's golf ball victory count across the worldwide professional tours to 19, nearly four times more than the nearest competitor with 5.

Fernandez relied upon the new Titleist Pro V1 en route to a 4-under-par 68 to win the ACE Group Classic by three strokes. It marked the fourth career victory for Fernandez, who joins fellow Titleist golf ball loyalists Dana Quigley (MasterCard Championship) and Dave Barr (Royal Caribbean Classic) in this year's winner's circle. Fernandez, who sank a 61-foot putt to seal the victory on the final hole, played bogey-free golf over the final 53 holes of the 54-hole event. Des Smyth, who turned 50 years old last week, finished in a tie for second place in his Champions Tour debut relying upon the new Titleist Pro V1 golf ball.


MOMENTUM CONTINUES: With the recent Tour introduction of the new Pro V1 and Pro V1x, Titleist golf ball momentum continues across the worldwide professional tours. On the PGA Tour, Titleist was the choice of 90 players, more than three times the nearest competitor, and 4 of the 6 players who finished among the top four and ties. On the PGA European Tour, 81 players joined Ernie Els in trusting Titleist golf balls, as did 54 of the 81 players on the Champions Tour. Titleist golf balls have been played by 5 of the first 6 winners on the PGA Tour, 5 of the first 7 on the PGA European Tour and a perfect 3-for-3 on the Champions Tour.

PERFECT PUTTERS ON PGA TOUR: For the sixth time in as many events on the 2003 PGA Tour, a Scotty Cameron by Titleist putter was the choice of the champion. The Buick Invitational winner relied upon a Studio Stainless Newport model and was one of nearly half the field, 73 of the 156 players, who trusted their putting prowess to Scotty Cameron by Titleist putters. The winner was joined by Brad Faxon (3rd), Phil Mickelson (T 4th) and Arron Oberholser (T 4th) as 4 of the 6 players who finished among the top four and ties relying upon a Scotty Cameron by Titleist putter.

EQUIPMENT SWEEP: With another fairway metal, wedge and putter victory at the Buick Invitational, Titleist has been the choice of more champions than any other competitor through the first six events on the 2003 PGA Tour across every major equipment category. More players have won with Titleist golf balls (5), drivers (3), fairway metals (4), irons (3), wedges (3) and putters (6). The Buick Invitational marked the third straight event at which the winner relied upon Vokey Wedges for his short game success.

TRIFECTA: The Johnnie Walker Classic marks the third consecutive week that a Titleist full line equipment ambassador won an event on the 2003 PGA European Tour. Ernie Els started the streak with his victory at the Heineken Classic followed by Paul Casey's first win of the year at the ANZ Championship. Through the first seven events on the PGA European Tour, Titleist has more victories across the golf ball (5), driver (3), iron (4) and putter (3) categories than any other competitor.

BROKEN RECORD: While Ernie Els' win after win after win across the worldwide professional tours sounds like a broken record, his performance at the Johnnie Walker Classic broke more than just the PGA European Tour scoring mark in relation to par. The event also was sanctioned by the Australasian and Asian tours, and Els was credited with breaking the Asian record of 26-under par as well. The previous Asian Tour mark was set at the 1996 Phillip Morris Asian Cup. Thus, Els has set scoring records on three different tours (PGA, PGA European and Asian) since switching to the new Titleist Pro V1x golf ball and a full bag of Titleist equipment this year.

ANOTHER ACE: After a pair of aces by John Senden and Robert Gamez with the new Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x, respectively, at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last week, Darren Clarke joined the club at the Buick Invitational. Playing with the Titleist Pro V1x in the first round of his first PGA TOUR tournament of the season on Thursday, Clarke scored a hole-in-one on the 160-yard third hole of the North Course at Torrey Pines.

RISING ROOKIE: Rookie Arron Oberholser posted his best career finish on the PGA TOUR with a fourth-place tie at the Buick Invitational. Like tour veterans Brad Faxon and Phil Mickelson, who also finished among the top four, Oberholser trusts the Titleist golf ball (Pro V1x) and a full bag of Titleist equipment (Titleist Titanium 983K driver, DCI 990 irons, Vokey Design wedges, Scotty Cameron by Titleist putter), for his early-season success. Oberholser was the only player in the field on Sunday without a bogey. He has made the cut in all four events in which has participated this year.

Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra comprise the major golf brands of the Acushnet Company, an operating company of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE - FO). For more information, please visit us online at, or contact Joe Gomes, Director of Communications (508.979.3211).

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