Immelman quietly climbs the rankings after Players

Trevor Immelman has made as many cuts this year in 10 tournaments as he did throughout an injury-truncated 2010 in 19 tournaments.

His latest was a solid share of 33rd in the Players Championship, the much-ballyhooed ‘fifth major’ which did not feature the world number one nor the player who made the (real) first major, the Masters, such an engrossing tournament this year.

And while Immelman didn’t produce his best performance of the year in the absence of Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy – that came in the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he shared 12th – there is a pleasing trend emerging in the re-emergence of the 2008 Masters champion.

He spent 2009 battling his way back from wrist surgery, and made nine cuts in 13 starts. It was nine from 19 in 2010, and he slipped to 270th on the Official World Golf Rankings.

He’s made nine this year in 10 tournaments, and, although his performance in the Arnold Palmer Invitational is ostensibly his best, his 15th in the Masters was worth more to him in terms of cash, and almost certainly in terms of the confidence with which he is now playing.

He has three finishes inside the top 25 this year, one fewer than he achieved in 2010 and from just half the number of tournaments played.

The road back from injuries to body parts that wield the tools of golfers’ trade is often a fraught one, and Tim Clark is starting to understand that.

It seemed as if the promise that Immelman’s Masters triumph heralded had been dashed, and the nearly two years he spent inside the world’s top 20 had become a distant memory.

And the 155th place he has reached this week after the Players Championship is a long way from the top 20.

But it was an 18-position jump and he’s starting to look like one of South Africa’s top golfers again.

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