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How Trevor Immelman Builds and Becomes a Presidents Cup ‘Franchise’

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Trevor Immelman, defender of the shield and captain of the international team at the Presidents Cup.

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These days, Trevor Immelman’s cup isn’t just overflowing, it’s overflowing. The 2008 Masters champion is one of the busiest guys in golf, the rare player whose frequent flyer miles have grown up retired.

But all that fuss is about to pay off. Over the next six months, the 42-year-old South African’s life will be turned upside down twice. First, he will captain the international team at the 2022 Presidents Cup, a responsibility that spanned three years and many thousands of hours of focus and hard work. Then, in early 2023, he will make his debut as the new senior golf analyst at CBS Sports, taking over from Nick Faldo after 16 years as Jim Nantz’s gossipy sidekick.

Before chaos ensues, Immelman has found the time to share some thoughts on the rocket ship that is his post-game career and the creepiness that recently has become pretty much unwavering.

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By:

James Colgan



GOLF: You’ve been preparing for the Presidents Cup for what seems like forever. Now that it’s finally happened, can you say that you enjoyed the process and the preparation?

Trevor Immelman: It was very fun. You know, we had an extra year because things got pushed back because of Covid. My wife [Carminita] and I decided that we would use this extra year for the team. We wanted to build franchise—to find a way to push our new [International team] logo out there in every possible way. It was fun with the players too – spending a lot of time with them and their families, having socializing when we could. Now that’s just exciting. After a long wait, we have finally arrived at the critical moment.

G: How would you describe “the franchise”? What is the identity of the international team?

IT: I have to take my hat off to Ernie Els. It was one of the things he decided to change ahead of the 2019 Presidents Cup. He went out and designed a logo – the team shield – and when he did, finally, for the first time, we had a flag. Our players come from all over the world, but when we play for this team, we play for the shield. It might sound silly to Americans, because you’ve always been an incredibly patriotic country, but to us, coming together under one logo and playing for the same thing means a lot. Seeing people wearing the logo of an international team at a regular stage of the Tour is cool. That was my vision from the start.

G: I’m glad you mentioned Ernie Els, whom you helped lift the international team to their best performance in years, in 2019. What’s one big lesson you’ve learned as an assistant at Royal Melbourne?

IT: His calm. The players absolutely responded to that. We had the youngest team in Presidents Cup history – seven rookies – and those youngsters were like sponges around him. The fact that there was no panic – I think the rookies really reacted to that.

G: Obviously, these are interesting times in golf. As captain, how have you navigated the landscape over the past few months?

IT: LIV has been tough, there’s no doubt about it, but there’s not much I can do about it. Ultimately, these players have to make up their minds and decide what’s best for them and their future. You have players who have left, and I absolutely respect that. But on the other side, you also have players who have decided to stay. On my side, as captain of the Internationals, the 12 who camp in Charlotte, they are the 12 who wanted to be there, and they are the 12 that I want to be there with.

G: What do you hope your legacy is on this team?

IT: Our plan is, Let’s see if we can build something– not just with this Presidents Cup, but with future ones. Let’s actually win this fucking thing. That’s the point.

G: Off the course, things have been pretty busy for you too. In January, you will succeed Nick Faldo as the new senior golf analyst at CBS. Have you ever seen yourself landed such a prominent role on golf television?

IT: I did – and I hope it will not be seen as arrogant. When I started doing TV in 2017 and realized how much I loved it, I knew it was going to be my next career. I realized I was all-in from then on. Following in the footsteps of my hero, Sir Nick, and people like Ken Venturi and Lanny Wadkins, is pinch me.

Immelman will succeed Nick Faldo as CBS Golf’s senior analyst in the new year.

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G: CBS President Sean McManus is a big fan of yours. How was the interview process for golf TV’s most coveted job?

IT: [Laughs] I didn’t even know I was interviewing, which is probably a good thing. I guess I’ve been doing interviews since I started doing television. I don’t pretend for a second that I know what works and what doesn’t. I feel like I’m still so early in the process and learning as I go, but I’m working very hard on it. For some reason, Sean and his team decided I was ready for this huge job, and I’m very grateful for that.

G: Looking ahead, is there an event you have circled on your calendar that you can’t wait to stream?

IT: I just got goosebumps hearing you ask that. The Masters is going to be amazing because of my past in this tournament. And I’ll also add Genesis. I have always loved Riviera. This stuff is so cool, sometimes I can’t believe it’s happening.

G: Luckily, the Presidents Cup is on NBC, so you can at least focus on some work that week. Before you leave, finish this sentence for me: The international team wins at Quail Hollow if ____.

IT: We rode well. [Laughs] Seriously. That’s really it.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is associate editor at GOLF, contributing articles to the website and magazine. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and uses his experience broadcasting across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and obviously, his golf game — is still thawing after four years in the snow. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddy scholarship recipient (and crafty looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.

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