Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
It has been a long, bumpy journey for Trevor Immelman after the South African won the 2008 Masters.
It has been a long, bumpy journey for Trevor Immelman after the South African won the 2008 Masters.

Immelman completes his outside loop with Web.com golf win

South African breaks 'majors' curse with win to return to top-tier golf, writes Steve Elling.

A nice tale of redemption and affirmation surfaced over the weekend, starring a prominent player who had lost his way, yet won in the United States to reclaim a place in the table.

No, not Sweden's mercurial Henrik Stenson, who beat a stacked field in Boston to complete a stellar summer run, finally shaking off all vestiges of the second mystifying slump of his career.

The other morale-boosting victory took place on the second-tier Web.com Tour, where the 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman won to reclaim his US PGA Tour card.

Once considered the best player from a cadre of talented South Africans, Immelman suffered a hand injury that required surgery and has laboured to reclaim his game since.

Gary Player once gushed that his compatriot had the best swing since Ben Hogan, and that once might have been true.

Yet Immelman had not registered another win until Sunday, at an event that kicked off the revamped US qualifying process. He at least has a place in the big leagues for 2013/14.

"It's been a long, frustrating road," said Immelman, who finished 143rd in FedEx Cup points this year to lose his card. "I'm not going to lie. I've been wondering if I'd be able to get back to playing the way I know I can play."

His five-year exemption for winning the Masters passed in a heartbeat, yet the notion that a major champion could experience a drought is no longer surprising.

Immelman's case is extreme because of the wrist issues, but a growing group of players have not exactly used major victories as springboards to stardom. Starting in 2001, 15 players who won majors have yet to win again on their primary tours.

Winning a major as a swansong of sorts? It is not so much a curse as it is a curiosity. David Duval in 2001 started a stretch of five years of players who claimed majors, only to be blanked in stroke-play events thereafter. Remember Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Todd Hamilton and Michael Campbell? Perhaps not.

After Immelman came YE Yang and Stewart Cink in 2009, both winless on the PGA Tour since. They were followed by Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Darren Clarke, slam winners in 2010/11, although US tour members Schwartzel and Oosthuizen have won on the European or lesser tours.

Immelman, 33, is the latest to punctuate the fact that while winning a major means a pile of endorsement cash, it is not a guarantor of future earnings on green grass.

"There's no doubt this is huge for me," Immelman said.

Plenty of recent major winners would not argue the point.

selling@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE and @ellingyelling

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National