Fri. Aug 23rd, 2019

Masters 2019: Jovan Rebula – Ernie Els’ nephew keeps golf in the family

Jovan Rebula ernie els nephewJovan Rebula, Ernie Els’ nephew, will make his debut at the 2019 Masters in Augusta. He’s only an amateur, but he’s making strides.

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Jovan Rebula will make his Masters debut on Thursday. Paired to tee off alongside Vijay Singh and Billy Horschel, the amateur golfer has already made his mark on the international stage. And he’s not finished yet.

In 2018, Rebula became the first South African since 1966 to win the British Amateur championship. That win earned him his place at the 83rd Masters and uncle Ernie Els has been with him every step of the way. Els will be one of the patrons at this year’s event and will serve as cheerleader in chief for his nephew.

The 21-year old South African managed to get a few practice rounds in at Augusta in the lead up to this year’s Masters. And, while Els has been giving him some advice, nothing compares to actually playing on the green, green grass of Augusta.

Rebula was quoted by amateurgolf.com as saying:

“As an amateur, you’re blessed to be able to do something like this,” Rebula said Sunday near the practice green. “To make sure I enjoy the week is the biggest thing on my mind.”

Competing as an amateur, when surrounding by big-name players like Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler, to name a few, can be intimidating, but Rebula is keeping it cool. He added:

“Obviously I’m a big competitor, that’s my nature. Everywhere you tee it up you want to have the thought of winning the golf tournament. But to be able to enjoy the experience is something I want to do because this is an amazing opportunity.”

Els twice finished as runner up at Augusta (in 2000, losing to Vijay Singh and in 2004, losing to Phil Mickelson) and Rebula admits that it’s been “pretty cool” to pick his uncle’s brain for some tips.

Rebula practiced with fellow South African and 2011 Masters champ Charl Schwartzel on Sunday at the range, and the two planned to play a nine-hole practice round together on Monday.

Uncle Ernie has close bond with the rookie, Rebula told golfdigest.com:

“We have a very tight relationship,” said Rebula of Els. “He’s always motivating me. He just said go out and have some fun and grab the opportunity with both hands. You’ve got this opportunity only once and it will open doors for you. He’s awesome. Just a great human being.”

Rebula was born in George, South Africa and studies at Auburn University. He represented Team South Africa at the prestigous 2016 World Amateur Team Championship in Maya Rivera, Mexico.

Jovan Rebula: Quick facts about Ernie Els’ nephew

He’s never actually had a formal swing coach but credits both his father and his grandfather as being some of the most influential in his career.

His favourite food is Mexican and views Roger Federer as his personal rolemodel.

If he wasn’t playing golf, he’d like to be a professional fisherman.

Biographical insights sourced from Rebula’s university profile.

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