Masters 2023: ‘I can’t wait’—Inside Trevor Immelman's transition from former champ to lead TV analyst at Augusta
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Having won the Masters Tournament in 2008 and enjoyed all the spoils since that go with that achievement, Trevor Immelman isn’t inclined to be in awe of much anymore at Augusta National Golf Club, though his appreciation of it never wanes. And that hasn’t changed now that Immelman is set to succeed Nick Faldo as lead golf analyst for CBS Sports’ coverage of the year’s first men’s major.
“I’m ready. I can’t wait,” Immelman said in a recent interview. “I've had so many career-defining and life-defining moments at Augusta National, and I feel like this is going to be another one. From a standpoint of sitting in Butler Cabin, which is such a meaningful place in our sport, sitting next to Jim Nantz there and in the 18th tower, it's going to be quite incredible.”
Immelman, 43, has been seated next to Nantz since the start of the year during CBS' coverage of the PGA Tour after Faldo, a three-time Masters champion, vacated his lead analyst position at the end of 2022. (Faldo, interestingly, returns to television this week on Sky Sports in the U.K.) But just as there is a difference for players in regular tour events and majors, the same holds true for others with a tournament role, including broadcasters.
(Yes, this goes for writers, too.)
But from a television standpoint the Masters isn’t just any major. It’s an annual rite of spring, a happening, a celebration of golf that draws in the casual golf fan as well as all the fervid devotees, which is why the tournament produces the highest TV ratings in the sport. A lot of eyes and ears, some predisposed to critical scrutiny, will be focused on the photogenic South African. Immelman is the fifth man to serve as lead analyst for CBS at the Masters, following Cary Middlecoff, Ken Venturi, Lanny Wadkins and Faldo.
Immelman's playing career was defined by his victory at the Masters in 2008.
“No question it’s a different level,” said Immelman, who last year served as captain of the International team in the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina. “I have to be on top of my game. But it’s not like I have to carry the coverage all by myself. We have an incredible team.
“At the end of the day, when it comes to TV chemistry, you know, Jim Nantz is such a legend in the broadcasting space that he really does make it so easy on the rest of us just to fill in and feel at ease and then have a lot of fun broadcasting the golf.”
And it’s not like Immelman is some raw rookie, having been part of the CBS team since late 2019.
“Although this is the first year for Trevor to be our lead analyst, he had worked for CBS for almost four years prior to that,” said Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports. “Not only did he have the mechanics down of being a golf broadcaster, but he had the personal relationships with our entire team, not just Jim Nantz. So people like to talk about seamless transitions. This was pretty much in every way you can imagine a seamless transition for Trevor to assume this role. He was really a seasoned veteran by the time he took his seat next to Jim Nantz in the tower.”
Immelman, who has 11 professional wins, also promises to be prepared. He began that process as soon as CBS wrapped up its run on the West Coast at the Genesis Invitational five weeks ago, doubling down on the research ahead of arriving in Augusta this week.
“When you consider really there’s only two of these spots available in American TV … it’s NBC and CBS from a network standpoint … I for sure don’t take it for granted,” Immelman said. “When I sit back and think about it, it’s definitely quite cool to be in this position.
“Much the same as when I was playing, I’ve tried to think of everything I can to do this job properly,” he added. “I’ve spent a ton of time researching and watching and trying to figure out ways to be able to try to enhance the experience for the viewer. All that matters for me at this point is how can I make people enjoy watching golf more.”