Immelman says Masters in November presents new challenge

FILE PHOTO: Trevor Immelman of South Africa receives the green jacket from former champion Zach Johnson after Immelman won the 2008 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta

(Reuters) - Trevor Immelman may not be putting the finishing touches on his Masters preparations this week but the former champion already has a good understanding of what to expect should the postponed tournament be contested in November.

Augusta National Golf Club said on Monday that it had identified Nov. 9-15 as possible dates for this year's Masters, which was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Immelman, speaking on a conference call to discuss being named captain of the International team for the 2021 Presidents Cup, said the biggest wildcard of a November Masters will be Mother Nature.

"If you look at the golf course in a bubble, I think the course itself won't play all that differently. They have ways to control it from an agronomy standpoint," said Immelman.

"But playing in November, which I have done a number of times, the scoring won't quite be as low as it has been the last few years."

According to the 2008 Masters champion, lower temperatures along with a northerly wind will make a number of holes play longer than they would in April and that should result in fewer birdies and eagles.

Had the Masters, which was supposed to begin on Thursday, not been postponed Immelman would have been gearing up for the traditional Champions Dinner at Augusta National on Tuesday.

Immelman said the dinner, which this year would have been hosted by defending champion Tiger Woods, is one of the things he misses most about not being at Augusta National this week.

"For me over the last 10 or 11 years to have been able to be a part of that group in that room with players that quite frankly I've idolised and been my heroes ever since I started playing this game as a five-year-old in South Africa is just -- it's second to none," said Immelman.

The 40-year-old, who tied for 51st at the Masters in 2019 having missed the cut in each of the previous five years, said Magnolia Lane, the tree-lined drive that members use to enter the grounds, is what he misses most.

"Every player that has designs on being a professional, that drive down Magnolia Lane is something that they will never forget," said Immelman. "It doesn't matter how many times you've been there."


(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)