European Tour

Immelman's career at a crossroads

Trevor Immelman (AFP)
Trevor Immelman (AFP)

London - South Africa's Trevor Immelman accepts he is reaching a crunch point in his career with the former Masters champion admitting he can no longer routinely compete with the world's best despite the odd "glimmer of hope".

One of those "glimmers" came with a second round of 64 in the Scottish Open at Gullane, near Edinburgh, on Friday.

It was a reminder of the quality the 38-year-old Immelman displayed in holding off Tiger Woods to win at Augusta National back in 2008.

But the past decade has seen Immelman, who now combines his on-course career with work as a television analyst, win just one tournament and, beset by injuries, drop so low in the world rankings that earlier this year he was listed at 1 959.

A top-10 finish at Gullane would give Immelman a chance of qualifying for next week's British Open at Carnoustie, but the player himself was under no illusions about whether his game was good enough to deliver another major title.

"I'm quite sure that it's not," he said. "That is a very difficult time mentally for an athlete, and everybody faces it at some point. The tricky part for us is it sort of becomes our life.

"It becomes a massive part of you and the danger is you start to live and die by every shot and every tournament. Am I in the Rolex Series events? Am I in the Open? Am I in the majors? You do that for a decade and that starts disappearing. All of a sudden you're like a man without a country.

"But this game has been really good to me. I have nothing to complain about whatsoever. I was lucky to play my best when Tiger was playing his best so I rode his coat-tails for a few years and did quite well. This is my 20th year out on Tour and in any other sport it's kind of unheard of.

"That passion and sort of glimmer of hope, it's always going to be there. But doing the TV stuff has been a fantastic distraction for me from that standpoint because I can still go and speak about the game that I love and try and explain how good it is, what these guys and girls are doing and how tough it is."

As for the chance to play at Carnoustie instead of commentating, Immelman added: "Yeah, my boss may not be too happy about that.

"If I'm on the 18th tee on Sunday and a chance of that, it might cross my mind, but there is a long way to go here.

"So I'm just going to go enjoy this 64. It's the best round I've shot in a long time, and see what happens."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
42% - 10126 votes
Cricket
11% - 2716 votes
Football
19% - 4582 votes
Athletics
2% - 600 votes
Boxing
1% - 230 votes
Cycling
2% - 559 votes
Golf
5% - 1199 votes
Motorsport
8% - 2015 votes
Tennis
3% - 816 votes
Water sports
1% - 215 votes
American sports
1% - 300 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 783 votes
Vote