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Trevor Immelman trying to regain Masters form

Still grappling with the aftermath of his U.S. Masters victory, South African Trevor Immelman accepts he needs to spend some time away from the game.

He has struggled for form since becoming the first South African to triumph at Augusta National in 30 years, missing two cuts on the PGA Tour in his last two starts.

Desperate though he is to take a break with his family, he was never prepared to miss this week’s Players Championship, an event widely regarded as the unofficial fifth major.

“This is a huge tournament and it’s important for us to try and get the strongest field possible,” Immelman told reporters at the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass on Wednesday.

“If you look at the guys who have won this event, they’re all damned good players. Also it’s only an hour-and-a-half from my house, so how could I skip it?”

Immelman, whose American home is in Orlando, has asked several of his peers for advice on how to deal with his raised profile since winning his first major title.

“I probably get about 30 to 40 Masters flags arriving at my house every day,” the 28-year-old said. “I never had to deal with that problem before, not that it’s a problem.

“Those are just little adjustments that I am going to have to learn to deal with and take some advice on, try to figure out how the other guys go about it.

“I spoke to Zach (Johnson) because he and I we’re in a similar situation,” Immelman added, referring to his predecessor as Masters champion.

“We hadn’t been seasoned winners and all of a sudden to go and win the biggest tournament in the world was a huge step for us.”

Immleman, who won last month’s Masters by three shots after coping with swirling winds in the final round, plans to take two weeks off after the Players Championship.

“It’s going to be nice to get home and just decompress,” he said. “After I won, it was just going from such a huge high to coming down and then having to deal with everything that I had to deal with. I had no clue what to expect from that aspect.

“And then going out to play again and not being focused when I was playing. My game has kind of gone sideways since then, too, so that’s been a little disappointing.

“I need to get some time away just to think about how I’m going to start building again from here.”

Immelman is scheduled to tee off with British Open champion Padraig Harrington and American Woody Austin in Thursday’s opening round.

 

May 8, 2008




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