JOHANNESBURG, (Reuters) – Former Masters champion Trevor Immelman is hoping a trip home to South Africa will help reignite a career that has slumped dramatically over recent years.
The 37-year-old, who won at Augusta in 2008, plays on the European Tour at the Joburg Open this week as he seeks to rekindle a career that held much promise but has been blighted by injury and a loss of form.
“It’s always exciting to come back. As soon as those aeroplane wheels touch the ground, there’s something inside you that knows that you’re home,” said Immelman, who is based in Florida and last played in South Africa one year ago.
“I’m looking forward to playing and hopefully I can play some good golf while I’m here. My game is improving and so I’m hopeful. But I wouldn’t say with the results I’ve produced over the last little while that expectations are all that high,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“But I’m always working hard and I’m hopeful, and I’m looking forward to a good couple of weeks. The body’s fine and I’m good to go.”
Immelman will also play in next week’s Tshwane Open in Pretoria.
Not long after his Masters triumph at the age of 28, where he finished three strokes ahead of Tiger Woods, Immelman battled with tendonitis in his left wrist and elbow, missing much of the following seasons and then losing form on his return.
He has not won a PGA and European Tour event since. Last year he made the cut in just two PGA Tour events and his earnings for the year were just over $20,000.
Last month he played in three European Tour events in the Middle East but failed to make the cut in any of them.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson, Editing by Mark Trevelyan)