CRANS-SUR-SIERRE, Switzerland (AP) — Trevor Immelman is making his latest comeback at the European Masters, even though he knows he’s unlikely to mount much of a challenge.
The 29-year-old South African, who won the 2008 Masters title at Augusta National, is coming off another physical setback, an injury to his left wrist that has decimated his 2009 season and left him uncompetitive.
“Unfortunately, that is the state of my situation right now,” Immelman said Wednesday. “I have been struggling since about February with left wrist issues.”
The injury, diagnosed as severe tendinitis with tears in the cartilage, is the latest in a string of setbacks that have plagued Immelman over the last three years.
“I had a tumor the size of a racquetball extracted from my diaphragm at the end of 2007. Before that, earlier that year, I had a stomach parasite and lost 25 pounds. The last few years from a health standpoint have been pretty challenging,” he said. “But what can you do? You have to keep moving on and hope all of this is out of the way now.”
Immelman has played only 11 events this year, a tie for 19th at the Transitions Championship in March marking his best result. He tied for 20th in defense of his Masters title.
“The season as a whole has been, from a golfing standpoint, very frustrating,” he said. “Kind of been on and off, obviously more off than on.
“I’m hoping I’m through all of that now. I’ve come here obviously not being able to practice as much as I would generally like to. I haven’t obviously been able to play my way into form. But from a health standpoint, I’m hoping it’s all done.”
Immelman will play this week in the tournament where Europeans begin their qualifying process for next year’s Ryder Cup. He will also play next week at the Mercedez-Benz Championship in Cologne, Germany.
“I haven’t played enough for anywhere to be a gentle re-entry,” Immelman said. “But there are reachable par-5s and some par-4s that aren’t too long.
“But at the end of the day the fields in these tournaments have become so strong over the years. There are always so many great players competing so you are going to have to play phenomenal golf to win.”
Because of his injuries, Immelman also expects to miss the Presidents Cup in San Francisco.
“It has been on my radar the whole season but unfortunately I haven’t done enough to make the team, to make that top 10,” said Immelman, who played on the international team in 2005 and 2007. “So there’s nothing I could really be upset about there. I’ve always felt that in a team competition, you need to play your way on the team fair and square.”
International captain Greg Norman will complete his team by naming his captain’s picks next week.
“I’m not even sure I’m on his radar, to be fair,” Immelman said. “I’ve been in contact with Greg through the season, keeping him updated on what was going on. But unless you’re out there competing and playing, you can’t really expect too much. And so I expect him to pick two players in form and playing well.
“Maybe if I were to win this week that would change.”