Immelman, a native of South Africa, will be shooting to pull off a rare feat in trying to repeat as champion one week then attempting to capture back-to-back victories, all the while in his home country.
The 24-year-old begins 2004 by reaffirming what is being seen as the changing of the guard on the European Tour. Stalwarts Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie are being nudged out by the likes of Immelman, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Adam Scott.
Of those, however, only Rose and Immelman will be on hand this week.
England's Mark Foster will hope to continue the trend of repeating as champion, as seen by Ernie Els victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii and the aforementioned Immelman win at the South African Open.
Foster, incidentally, beat Immelman last year in a wild six-man playoff after rolling in a 40-foot eagle putt on the second playoff hole.
Rose, 23, is in search of his first victory since his break-out season in 2002. After four wins worldwide in 2002, including two on the European Tour, Rose was shut out last year, though he did post four top-5 finishes.