All the latest news and stories from the world of golf, Ernie Els Design, Ernie Els Wines, and across Ernie’s philanthropic interests.
1. Ernie Els Wines New Vintage Release
Ernie Els Wines has just released its latest vintage of the multi-award winning Ernie Els Signature 2015. This iconic Bordeaux-style blend is a powerful wine with aromas of ripe black fruits, violets, tobacco and a touch of leather. All of the grapes are sourced from the Ernie Els Wines vineyards in Stellenbosch and each variety is matured separately in oak before final blending. Skilfully crafted, this wine is worthy of its impressive 94-point rating from the esteemed Tim Atkin, a wine writer and Master of Wine with over 30 years’ experience. The Signature 2015 is now available to purchase from the winery’s online shop and is packaged in a striking gift box; it’s the ideal present for a loved one or indeed as a well-deserved treat to yourself! Click here to order.
2. Jovan Rebula earns a place on inaugural pro golf tour
Ernie’s nephew Jovan Rebula, winner of the 2018 Amateur Championship, was among the top-15 players on the inaugural PGA TOUR University ‘Class of 2021’ when the final rankings were announced after the recent NCAA Championship. It earns the young South African a place on the newly created Forme Tour, which will provide Official World Golf Ranking points and is planning an eight-tournament schedule this summer. The top-five points earners will then gain 2021-22 Korn Ferry Tour membership.
Rebula, a senior on the 2020-21 Auburn men’s golf team in Alabama, missed part of the season due to a shoulder injury but his excellent ranking reflects some strong performances including a two-time all-SEC First Team selection (2019, 2020) and setting the Auburn single-season record for stroke average at 70.19. In 2019 he became the fifth Auburn Tiger to win the SEC individual crown. He was also a member of the 2018 and 2019 International Palmer Cup Teams.
“It is huge for Jovan to get into the top 15,” commented Auburn Head Coach Nick Clinard. “PGA Tour U is basically an inaugural draft for college golf and I think it’s great for the game. I’m really happy for him. He deserves it and has worked hard for it. Now he has an opportunity to take his game to the next level.”
Uncle Ernie posted his congratulations via social media: “Well done @JovanRebula on a strong season @AuburnMGolf and securing a spot in the top-15 on the inaugural @PGATOUR University Class of 2021. Good luck @FormeTour #pathtosuccess”.
PGA TOUR University is a program designed to strengthen and elevate the path to the PGA TOUR through the Korn Ferry Tour, Forme Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. This program rewards elite collegiate play with varying levels of playing access to Tours operated under the PGA TOUR umbrella, while upholding the principles and virtues of collegiate athletics.
3. ASM student sprints on to the South African Olympic team
ASM Scholarships was founded in 2018 by Christopher Vidal and Ernie Els, with the intention of placing talented athletes in US Colleges. The company has since secured places for over 1,000 students. And one of them, Phatutshedzo ‘Shaun’ Maswanganyi, just sprinted his way on to SA’s Olympic team.
Maswanganyi produced a stunning display at the the NCAA West Preliminary rounds last month to qualify in both the 100m and 200m. The 20-year-old from Soweto, currently residing in Texas where ASM secured him a place at the University of Houston, won the 200m with a personal best of 20.19 seconds. He then clocked 10.04 in the 100m. Ticket to Tokyo duly punched!
Maswanganyi took to Twitter to post the qualification videos, writing: “The road to the Olympic Games is no longer a dream but a reality for me. 100m & 200m Qualifier”.
Ernie congratulated his fellow South African: “Big congrats to Shaun Maswanganyi @tshedzom one of our @AsmScholarships athletes who qualified for @Olympics in 100m & 200m at the weekend. Great job. Making South Africa proud! #Tokyo2021”.
Nine-time Olympic gold medal winner Carl Lewis also congratulated Maswanganyi on Twitter: “#HTownSpeedCity. Great job this weekend”.
ASM now has a team of 27 staff members, all whom have been on sports scholarships in America, working in offices in the US, Portugal, UK and South Africa. In addition, the company has over 250 agents operating worldwide.
4. SAP donates $55,154.50 to Els for Autism
SAP’s pledge to donate the sum of $2,500 for every birdie made by Ernie Els and Cameron Champ on the Fridays of tournaments played on the Champions Tour and PGA TOUR through April, resulted in a $55,154.50 boost to The Els for Autism Foundation. It was one of many fundraising initiatives involving Ernie and his sponsors, fellow players and the PGA TOUR during Autism Awareness Month.
For SAP this was part of a wider campaign under the title #DriveChange, a slogan reflecting the company’s commitment to creating an autism inclusive workplace. “We’re so happy we were able to raise over $55,000 for the Els for Autism Foundation through Cameron and Ernie’s birdies throughout Autism Awareness Month”, commented Erica Atkinson, Global Sponsorships at SAP. “Fostering an inclusive community both in and outside of the workplace is ingrained in SAP’s culture and helps make us a better company which is why we partner with two golfers who have such a passion for autism inclusion.”
Ernie said, “Many of you know how important autism acceptance is to me. As a father to a son with autism, I am able to experience first hand the value and acceptance of people with autism. SAP have long been wonderful supporters of Els for Autism and it’s genuinely inspiring to see what they’re doing to help provide opportunities in the workplace for people on the spectrum.”
For more information on Els for Autism visit: https://www.elsforautism.org/.
5. From the Archives
There are a couple of standout moments from this week in Ernie’s career. In 2004, on June 6, he shot a final round 66 at Muirfield Village to win the Memorial Tournament in a score of 18-under par (pictured below left). His four round total of just 100 putts was the lowest by anyone in the then 29-year history of the tournament. “One of the best putting weeks of my life,” recalls Ernie. The very same week in 1996, Ernie won the first of two back-to-back Buick Classics (pictured below right). His stroke average for those eight rounds in 96/97 at Westchester CC was an impressive 67.37.