Cape Town - United States president Donald Trump has heaped praise on South African golfer Ernie Els for the foundational work he has done for autism.
Els's son Ben has autism and the star golfer has been active in charities devoted to the condition.
Trump, himself an avid golfer, took to Twitter on Tuesday to laud Els for his work.
"Great golf champion & friend, Ernie Els (@TheBig_Easy), has done a tremendous job in assisting those w/ Autism through his Els for Autism Fdn, focusing on Education, Research, Global Outreach, Recreation Services, Therapy Services, & Adult Services. #NationalAutismAwarenessMonth," Trump tweeted.
Els, who won four golf majors in his career, responded to Trump's tweet: "Thank you Sir, the generosity from the American people is amazing! Look forward to continue our journey."
In 2009, Els and his wife Liezl launched an annual charity golf event, the Els for Autism Pro-Am, held at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens near his South Florida residence during the PGA Tour's March swing into the area.
The first event, which featured many PGA Tour and Champions Tour golfers, raised $725 000 for The Renaissance Learning Centre, a non-profit charter school in the area for autistic children.
The couple also established the Els Centre of Excellence, which began as a drive to build a new campus for the aforementioned school in Jupiter, Florida, but has since expanded into a $30 million plan to combine the school with a research facility.