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Masters win still not sunk in for Trevor Immelman

South African Trevor Immelman discovered the hazards of becoming U.S. Masters Champion on Wednesday when he made his first golfing appearance since being fitted with the green jacket at Augusta National.

“You see all the Sharpie (pen) marks on this hand,” he said raising his black ink-stained left hand. “That’s from all the Masters flags I signed today. It must have been over 100. That’s not something that usually happens to me.”

Immelman, who captured his first major championship on April 13 by three strokes over Tiger Woods, was the centre of attention from fans and media before his first official tee shot on Thursday in the Byron Nelson Championship PGA Tour event.

“It definitely has not sunk in yet,” he said. “It’s going to take a long time to sink in. This is all new to me.”

Immelman said he had exchanged text messages with his idol and biggest fan, three times Masters champion and compatriot Gary Player, but had yet to speak to him in person.

Immelman added that he was already thinking about the opportunity of joining Player at the Augusta Golf Club next year as a fellow Masters Champion.

“Maybe I can sit next to him in the champion’s locker room next year. Do you think they will let me do that?,” he asked.

The low-key Immelman said he had been overwhelmed with the trappings of celebrity status since winning the Masters.

His rewards included reading a comedy Top 10 list on a national late night TV show to getting prime seats in New York to watch a professional basketball game.

“My least favorite was reading the (Top 10) one about President Bush. I still need to continue to get visas here. I knew Tiger would think the line about him was really funny.”

Immelman said he had received a call from Woods just last week congratulating him on the Masters victory.


April 24, 2008

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