08 Apr 2020 | Professional golf |

Immelman to captain International team

by Mark Hayes

Trevor Immelman shares a joke with Aussie Cam Smith at Royal Melbourne during the 2019 Presidents Cup.
Trevor Immelman shares a joke with Aussie Cam Smith at Royal Melbourne during the 2019 Presidents Cup.

South African Trevor Immelman has been named as International team captain for the 2021 Presidents Cup.

Immelman, an assistant to captain Ernie Els at Royal Melbourne in December, won the 2008 Masters and would have been competing in the tournament this week had it not been postponed.

He will attempt to join the late Peter Thomson as the only International captains to win as the United States leads 11-1-1 when the teams reconvene at Quail Hollow Golf Club, in North Carolina, from 23-26 September next year.

"When I learned I was in the running and the final decision was made, I was very humbled," said Immelman, 40, who will become the youngest captain in the event's history.

"I have a massive respect for the game of golf and the history of the game ... (and) thoroughly enjoyed playing in the Presidents Cup.

"I thrived and enjoyed a team environment and being part of a team. To get a taste of that again in Australia with these guys was awesome. I want to try and carry that on."

The International team nearly pulled off the upset at Royal Melbourne, taking a 10-8 lead into the Sunday singles before the Americans, led by playing captain Tiger Woods, rallied for a 16-14 victory.

"I've looked up to Ernie my whole career going back to a junior starting the game," Immelman said.

"Got to know him well over the years. To be there (in Melbourne) as part of the support staff was a lot of fun. We almost found a way to cause a massive upset.

"What Ernie did was find a way to bridge that gap from a standpoint of really creating great team chemistry going into the event.

"There was a lot of work and planning from everybody involved to buy and get to know each other. Once we got down there, we were focused on the strategies we had. There wasn't any time wasted trying to get to know everybody. That was a master stroke on his part. And we almost pulled it off."

He is the seventh International captain, following Els, Nick Price, Greg Norman, Gary Player, Thomson and David Graham.

"Trevor was an invaluable member of our team and completely bought into what we were trying to do at Royal Melbourne, so it is gratifying to see him take this next step and lead the International team," Els said.

As a player, Immelman competed in the 2005 and 2007 Presidents Cups. He also has two PGA Tour titles, including the Masters, and now works primarily as an analyst for CBS and Golf Channel.

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