Immelman on Els: He's still a huge part of the team

Trevor Immelman (AFP)
Trevor Immelman (AFP)

Trevor Immelman praised his fellow countryman Ernie Els after succeeding him as the International team captain for the 2021 Presidents Cup. 

Immelman becomes the third South African to captain a Presidents Cup team after eight-time major winner Gary Player and Els.

The 2008 Masters champion was Els' assistant at last year's Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, which saw the International team suffer a narrow defeat to Tiger Woods' US side.

Immelman, who has competed in two Presidents Cup as a player, becomes the youngest ever International team skipper in Presidents Cup history.

The 40-year-old admitted that although Els has stepped down from his role as International captain, the 50-year-old will still be a part of the team's preparations leading up to Quail Hollow.

"Ernie is one of my best friends. I speak to him regularly throughout the course of my life, quite frankly, since I was about six or seven years old when I first met him," Immelman told reporters via a tele-conference on Tuesday.

"He's going to be a huge part of our team, albeit from a distance. He will always be there for us.

"I actually spoke to him yesterday and had another chat with him regarding today and exactly how things were going to unfold. I just wanted to show him the respect of keeping him up to date with everything.

"What he has created for our team, I think, is going to be so massive, not just in Charlotte but I'm talking about three, four, five, six President Cups down the road. I think what Ernie did for our team, giving us something to build off of, we sure are hoping that that is going to be some kind of turning point for our team to where we can find a way to finally win this Cup again."

READ | Els quick to congratulate Immelman on Presidents Cup captaincy

Immelman admitted that it will be a massive task to fill Els' shoes.

"There's a lot of things that I learnt from Ernie... Ernie's not always a man of many words. He kind of likes to just fly under the radar a little bit and let his clubs do the talking," said Immelman.

"But when he came into the team room, first of all, the size of him, the aura and the presence that he comes in with is something that the whole team could feel. We could feel his intensity. We could feel his emotion. We could feel how badly that he wanted to turn this thing around and get our team to be competitive and that really rallied our troops. Those are literally and figuratively massive shoes for me to fill.

"I'm going to be drawing on all sorts of different things that I've picked up over the years... But you know, it's going to revolve mainly around, look, we're going to be having a great time. But we're going to have great communication. Just like everything in my career, there's going to be a lot of attention to detail."

The 2021 Presidents Cup will be staged at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte from 30 September to 3 October.

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