Trevor Immelman, South Africa

South African golfer Trevor Immelman has enjoyed a series of notable wins since he turned professional in 1999, perhaps most notably his victory over former world number one Tiger Woods at the 2008 Masters at Augusta.

During the thrilling tournament, the 31-year-old managed to seal a three-stroke win over his US opponent and played steadily to retain his place at the top of the leaderboard from the halfway stage.

With many talented competitors falling away under the immense pressure of the contest, Immelman managed to keep a safe distance clear at the front despite a glitch on the 16th hole, where he endured a bogey following a water landing.

"This has been the ultimate roller-coaster ride and I hate roller coasters," Immelman said after claiming his first major title. "Here I am ... Masters champion. It's the craziest thing I've ever heard of."

Born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1979, the talented professional enjoyed golfing from a young age and took up the sport at the age of five. His father, Johan, is the former commissioner of the country's native Sunshine Tour.

In 1998, Immelman claimed victory at the US Amateur Public Links, which stood him in good stead for the numerous competitions he took part in after turning professional during the following year. By 2000, the player had become a force to be reckoned with playing mainly on the second tier professional tour in Europe, as well as the Challenge Tour that saw him finish tenth on that year's Order of Merit.

He has frequently competed in charity events arranged by his mentor Gary Player, who was full of praise for the 31-year-old upon his first major championship title.

"I am so proud of Trevor. What a thrill it was to see him come back from major surgery and beat Tiger," said Player after the 2008 Masters. "I can't wait to see him and shake his hand personally."

Immelman's mentor famously left him a voicemail before the final round of the competition, reassuring him of his ability and speaking of their history together.

He is one of many South African professionals to have lifted the trophy at his country's native Open competition at the Serengeti Golf Club in Ekurhuleni. Ernie Else, Retief Goosen, Bobby Locke and player himself have also triumphed at the highly prestigious event.

This year's event saw compatriot Hennie Otto take the crown after overcoming a nervous back nine to beat Austria's Bernd Wiesberger.

Trevor Immelman became only the second South African, after his mentor and role model Gary Player, to win the Masters Tournament after his courageous wire-to-wire victory at Augusta National in April 2008. He won three titles on The European Tour before making his US PGA Tour breakthrough with victory in the 2006 Cialis Western Open. That helped him finish seventh on the Money List to become the first rookie since Jerry Pate (1976) to finish in the top ten as he claimed Rookie of the Year honours. Followed in the footsteps of Player in January 2004 when he became the first golfer since the legendary Black Knight in 1976-77 to successfully defend the South African Open Championship. The victory a year earlier had proved a pivotal moment in his career when he won his maiden European Tour title in emotional circumstances in front of friends and family at his home Erinvale Golf Club in the Western Cape, the place where he learned to play the game.

Ever since he started swinging a club at the age of five he wanted to be a golf professional and followed in the footsteps of his older golf teaching professional brother Mark. He accorded Honorary Life Membership of The European Tour in 2008.

Career Wins 

2008 – The Masters Tournament
2004 – Deutsche Bank SAP Open of Europe
2004 – South African Airways Open
2003 – South African Airways Open
2000 – Tusker Kenya Open

What's in the bag? - Trevor Immelman

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