Thirty years ago golf legend Gary Player, now 72, won his third and last Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Yesterday, a second golfer from South Africa won the Masters. "Finally!" said Gary, proudly.
Sunday, April 13, was cool and very windy. Only nine of the 45 golfers managed to shoot par or better. Trevor Immelman, 28, struggled throughout the day. But he managed to maintain his lead, finally beating Tiger Woods by three strokes. Tiger finished in second place for the third year in a row.
Trevor was PGA Rookie of the Year in 2006. But since 2006 he had won only one PGA tournament. He missed the first two months of the 2008 golf season after surgeons removed a benign tumor on his diaphragm. The tumor, coincidentally, was the size of a golf ball. Trevor played poorly in the tournaments he entered after recovering from the surgery.
In the Houston tournament just one week before the Masters, Trevor missed the cut. In professional golf tournaments, the cut occurs after the first 36 holes. Half the golfers, the ones with the worst scores, are dropped from the tournament. They earn no money.
In Britain, where bookies always post the odds for the Masters, Trevor was a long shot. But anyone who bet $10 on him before Thursday would have won $800 on Sunday. In two weeks, Trevor had gone from worst to first, from failing to win a dime in Texas to wearing the prized green jacket in Georgia (and $1.35 million). When asked what contributed most to his victory, Trevor said it wouldn't have been possible without his parents' loving support during his years as a junior golfer.