The True Side of Trevor

By Rich LernerApril 14, 2008, 4:00 pm
Every year about 10 o'clock on Sunday evening at the Masters, the winner comes downstairs to the grill room in the clubhouse to sit for brief interviews with ESPN, CNN, CBS and GOLF CHANNEL.
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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    Three of world's top 5 MC; not 60-year-old Langer

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 7:04 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three of the top five players in the world missed the cut at The Open.

    Bernhard Langer did not.

    The 60-year-old, who is in the field via his victory in last year’s Senior Open Championship, shot even-par 71 on Friday. At 2 over through 36 holes, he safely made it under the plus-3 cut line.

    "You know, I've played the Masters [this year], made the cut. I'm here and made the cut. I think it is an accomplishment," he said. "There's a lot of great players in the field, and I've beaten a lot of very good players that are a lot younger than me."

    Langer had three birdies and three bogeys in the second round and said afterwards that he was “fighting myself” with his swing. He’s spent the last few days on the phone with his swing coach, Willy Hoffman, trying to find some comfort.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Despite his score, and his made cut, Langer the perfectionist wasn’t satisfied with the way he went about achieving his results.

    "I wasn't happy with my ball-striking. My putting was good, but I was unlucky. I had like four lip-outs, no lip-ins. That part was good. But the ball-striking, I wasn't really comfortable with my swing," he said. "Just, it's always tough trying stuff in the middle of a round."

    Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has never won The Open. He does, however, have six top-3 finishes in 30 prior starts.

    As for finishing higher than some of the top-ranked players in the world, the World Golf Hall of Famer is taking it in stride.

    "I'm not going to look and say, 'Oh, I beat Justin Rose or beat whatever.' But it just shows it's not easy. When some of the top 10 or top 20 in the world don't make the cut, it just shows that the setup is not easy," Langer said. "So I got the better half of the draw maybe, too, right? It wasn't much fun playing in the rain, I guess, this morning for five hours. I had to practice in the rain, but I think once I teed off, we never used umbrellas. So that was a blessing."

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    Kisner doubles 18, defends not laying up

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It was only fitting that Jean Van de Velde was there working as an on-course reporter on Friday as Kevin Kisner struggled his way up Carnoustie’s 18th fairway.

    Rolling along with a two-stroke lead, Kisner’s 8-iron approach shot from an awkward lie in the rough from 160 yards squirted right and bounced into Barry Burn, the winding creek where Van de Velde’s title chances at the 1999 Open Championship began to erode.

    Unlike Van de Velde, who made a triple bogey-7 and lost The Open in a playoff, Kisner’s double bogey only cost him the solo lead and he still has 36 holes to make his closing miscue a distant memory. That’s probably why the 34-year-old seemed at ease with his plight.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “It just came out like a high flop shot to the right. It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened,” said Kisner, who was tied with Zach Johnson and Zander Lombard at 6 under par. “You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”

    Like most in this week’s field Kisner also understands that rounds on what is widely considered the most difficult major championship venue can quickly unravel even with the most innocent of mistakes.

    “To play 35 holes without a double I thought was pretty good,” he said. “I've kept the ball in play, done everything I wanted to do all the way up into that hole. Just one of those things that came out completely different than we expected. I'll live with that more than chipping out and laying up from 20 feet.”

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    Wind, not rain more a weekend factor at Open

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:39 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After a half-day of rain in Round 2 of the 147th Open Championship, the weekend offers a much drier forecast.

    Saturday at Carnoustie is projected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 62 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Sunday calls for much warmer conditions, with temperatures rising upwards of 73 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.

    Wind might be the only element the players have to factor in over the final 36 holes. While the winds will be relatively calm on Saturday, expected around 10-15 mph, they could increase to 25 mph in the final round.

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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”