After we finished this time around, Trevor Immelman was preparing to be escorted back upstairs to a gathering held by Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne. Trevor saw the locker room supervisor and then realized he didn't have any cash on him. It's customary to tip the staff at any event. Trevor stopped his representative, Jon Wagner of IMG, and with obvious concern asked how they could see to it that the gentleman could be taken care of. Trevor was adamant. Only after an Augusta National official assured Trevor that they would make a suitable arrangement did Trevor move on, but not before thanking the attendant.
I get asked often about players, 'What's he like?' It was plain to see in that moment an undeniable decency in Trevor Immelman. If form holds, he'll go from Augusta to New York for Letterman. Dave would've likely found easier comic material with Brandt Snedeker, poking fun at his name and Opie Taylor features. But Dave's a major championship level professional in the world of funny, and he'll no doubt pull the smiling best out of the photogenic new star. It would be nice too if the Late Night audience, assuming not all are golf fans, heard the serious side of the Immelman story.
When doctors saw the initial X-rays back in December, they didn't know if the growth on his diaphragm was benign or malignant. That's pressure, and thank goodness the tumor turned out to be benign. Fifteen-footers take on a different look when you realize how quickly and randomly your health can be stolen. And maybe Gary Player was right. Player compare Immelman's ball striking to Ben Hogan's, heady stuff when you consider that more than a few experts would argue that Hogan's swing has not been improved upon in 60 years. If Player is correct, then there's no telling what Immelman could do with the kind of confidence boost that will come with this victory.
Hogan didn't win his first major until he was 34. Immelmans 28. Tiger owns 13 at 32 but is zero for his last three at Augusta and one for his last six. If they haven't Tiger proofed it, they've at least put the breaks on what looked to be a runaway 18 wheeler when Tiger hit sand wedge to 15 and won by a dozen in 1997. No this is no longer just Tiger's Masters and it's certainly not your father's Masters. Your father's Masters likely delivered more birdie and eagle roars. Especially in windy conditions, this becomes an exercise in defense, a brutal examination. But then Trevor Immelman came through a more daunting test late last year. People who've experienced that kind of trauma often remind others not to sweat the small stuff. Sometimes, though, the small stuff does matter.
That was evident Sunday night as I saw a young man in a green jacket look into the eyes of a man who had cleaned his shoes all week and say, thank you.
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