This according to the Laureus World Sports Awards on Thursday.
Having failed to qualify for the US Masters in April for the first time since 1993, Els, aged 42, bounced back to win his fourth Major Championship at the Open Championship at Lytham in July.
The Big Easy started the final day six shots behind Australian Adam Scott and ended winning by one – 10 years after he had won his last Major Championship.
Els, the 2002 Open champion and the 1994 and 1997 US Open champion, had dropped to 65th in the world rankings earlier in the year.
Also nominated with Els for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award are the European Ryder Cup Team, after their last day fightback against the United States.
South Africa's most successful golfer Gary Player hailed the comeback of his countryman, and the performance of the European side at the Ryder Cup.
"In my own sport of golf it was an exceptional year for comebacks, with Ernie Els showing that he is still a force to be reckoned with when he won the Open Championship, and then that unbelievable final day at the Ryder Cup," said Player. – Sapa