Immelman pampered after winning Masters

Masters Tournament winner Trevor Immelman on Tuesday wears the champion's green jacket as he views New York from the 86th floor observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building.

For someone who's on top of the world, Trevor Immelman has spent a lot of time looking up the past few days.


One day after becoming the Masters champion, Immelman was courtside at Madison Square Garden for the Boston Celtics' 99-93 victory over the New York Knicks. He was invited to the Celtics' locker room at halftime by coach Doc Rivers, who wanted his team to shake hands with a champion.

"There might have been a trainer that was shorter than me," said Immelman, who stands 5-foot-9 with the help of golf spikes. "But I'm standing next to Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and I'm belt-high. It's pretty incredible that human beings are that damn big."

Tuesday morning, he was taken by limousine to the Empire State Building for a photo shoot atop the tallest building in Manhattan.

There also were TV and radio interviews on the agenda, including his reading of a Top 10 list on the Late Show with David Letterman and an appearance on Live with Regis and Kelly .

The highlight, though, might have been halftime.

Born and raised in South Africa, he now lives in Orlando, Fla., and loves the NBA. Immelman is a regular at Orlando Magic games. Even so, he found it surreal to be among giants.

"They were telling me they were in Atlanta and watched the end of the tournament and that they were proud of me," Immelman said. "It's kind of weird to see superstars congratulate me on something I've done."

Until his Masters victory, Immelman said his greatest golfing achievement had been winning the Nedbank Challenge four months ago in South Africa, an event he regards one notch below the majors.

That celebration wasn't quite like this one.

Immelman wasn't getting a whirlwind tour of New York, rather he was in a hospital listening to doctors explain that the pain he felt in his rib cage turned out to be a tumor in his diaphragm -- he later found out it was benign.

"Since I was a young boy, very deep down I felt I was good enough to win a major," Immelman said. "As crazy a game as golf is, you go through periods where you doubt yourself. After the surgery, I pretty much had to start at Level 1 again and build my game up again.

"It was unbelievable timing to find my form last week."


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