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For a long time — most of his playing career, actually — Trevor Immelman never really wanted to get into the broadcast booth.
“I never thought about it at all while I was playing,” Immelman told Yahoo Sports. “I was extremely single-minded, focusing on myself and my own game and how I could try to get better and achieve the goals I set out for myself.”
But on Friday, Immelman will take over as one of golf’s biggest analysts. The former Masters champion is set to make his debut as CBS’s lead golf analyst at the Farmers Insurance Open, which started on Wednesday, at Torrey Pines in San Diego.
“I’m mega excited,” Immelman said. “I’m like, extremely excited. I’m humbled by the fact that I get this opportunity. I’ve only been doing TV for five or six years, and to all of a sudden find myself in this position with this opportunity is extremely humbling. But I can’t wait.”
Replacing Nick Faldo
Immelman hasn’t been in television for very long. He was still competing as recently as 2019.
The 43-year-old South African won twice on the PGA Tour in his career, most notably at the Masters in 2008. Immelman beat Tiger Woods by three strokes that year at Augusta National in what was by far the biggest win of his career.
Immelman has also won six times internationally, played on two Presidents Cup teams and was the captain for the International Team at the 2022 Presidents Cup in North Carolina.
While he hasn’t played seriously on a Tour for several years, Immelman was still competing in 2019. His last time out was at the Portugal Masters that year on the DP World Tour, which came after just four appearances on the Tour that season.
But as his playing career was wrapping up, Immelman started working with the Golf Channel in 2017, and then joined CBS as an analyst two years later.
Moving into broadcasting, Immelman said, was something he never even thought about doing while he was still competing. Then, the next thing he knew, Immelman was right in the mix.
“I really, really got into it quite quickly,” Immelman said. “It only started to germinate once I got into the TV, and it’s been an awesome ride for the last five or six years.”
He quickly rose up the ranks at CBS, and he got the call last fall — just minutes before he was going to go on the air at the Golf Channel — that the network wanted him to replace Nick Faldo, who was retiring after a 16-year run in that spot.
Trevor Immelman joins exclusive club in lead golf analyst role
The job itself is one that hasn’t been held by many. In its 66 years covering the PGA Tour, Immelman will be just the fifth person to hold its lead analyst role — something he said he only learned last week.
“I was blown away … that was one of the moments when this all became more real as we’re counting down the days to Torrey Pines,” Immelman said.
Immelman will be thrown into the mix immediately this week at Torrey Pines, which is the first of 23 events CBS will broadcast this season. The network will broadcast both The Masters and the PGA Championship, 11 of the 17 new “elevated” events and all three FedExCup Playoffs events this fall.
Though he’ll be alongside longtime broadcaster Jim Nantz throughout the season, Immelman’s first time out in this spot will be a bit unique. Nantz will be calling the tournament remotely from Kansas City, where he’ll be calling the AFC championship game between the Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
“It’s gonna be different, absolutely … We’ve got Jim Nantz, maybe the most legendary sports broadcaster in American history shepherding us through this,” Immelman said. “I trust him and his experience for sure.”
Immelman knows he has big shoes to fill. But, at least at the beginning, he’s trying not to focus on anything but being himself.
“I can’t try to act like, or say things like others have done in this position,” Immelman said. “I have to be myself. I have to be authentic. I have to be honest. I have to allow my love for the sport to shine through. I think if I do that, and if I take the shackles off so to speak, then we’ll see what happens from there. … Most importantly, at the end of the day, you have to be entertaining.
“If somebody is going to go ahead and sit down on the couch and invest their precious time watching PGA TOUR golf on CBS, it’s got to be entertaining.”
Even though is playing career ended faster than he may have expected, Immelman is fully embracing this second act in golf.