Trevor Immelman becomes the new face — and lead analyst voice — of CBS Sports golf
Trevor Immelman becomes the new face — and lead analyst voice — of CBS Sports golf

SAN DIEGO – Trevor Immelman was walking the South Course at Torrey Pines early on Thursday while tumbleweed blew across the greens and recycling bins rolled down hills because of the Santa Ana wind.

“It’s a great day to be a fan, but if you’re a player, you’re going crazy. “I just saw Patrick Rodgers put his third shot on hole 18 into the water,” Immelman said. “Kind of happy this week to just be in the tower.”

Immelman has won twice on the PGA Tour, including the 2008 Masters. He will be in the CBS Sports “super tower,” and starting Friday, he will be only the fifth person to be “The Eye’s” lead analyst, after Ken Venturi, Lanny Wadkins, and Nick Faldo, who left in August after 16 years in the big seat.

Faldo’s departure surprised Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports. McManus said he didn’t plan to replace Faldo until Faldo told him at their annual breakfast at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last February that he was going to retire and build a ranch in Montana.

“Trevor was the first name that came to mind,” McManus told Golfweek in a recent Zoom interview. “Then I thought, ‘You know, who can go into that booth without making a fuss?’ You know, he’s been on TV, and he’s shown that he’s good at it.

So, listen, we thought about other people and talked about other, you know, other people who could fill that spot. But no one could compare to Trevor. Every time I heard him, I thought, “Man, if I had a full-time job working with Jim Nantz on most of our tournaments and Andrew Catalon on the others, he’d be my choice.”

Nantz is starting his 38th year with CBS. He has broken in new partners before, but as he put it, “we don’t have to put the training wheels on here.”

Added Nantz: “I’m not getting a new partner because I already have a partner with a lot of experience. I’ve worked with him a lot, and he’s very good at what he does. He has a natural talent for communicating, and the way he acts shows that he has class and integrity. And he has a lot of warmth, so I think he’s going to be a big hit for people to have in their living rooms.”

Immelman didn’t think about TV until he started getting hurt and his game went downhill. In 2017, a producer for Golf Channel talked him into trying out at the Wyndham Championship, which led to a new opportunity.

“I love golf so much that I was trying to think of ways I could still be a big part of it,” he said. “Luckily, that’s when I got the chance to put my toe in the water by appearing on TV.” “I loved it very much, and I could feel the energy. At the tournament, it was exciting and gave me a rush of adrenaline to try to find the right words to describe what was happening on the field.

Nantz remembers that when Immelman started working as a hole analyst for CBS, he would call him up and ask for feedback on how he could get better at his new job.”He was so eager to be good at it, and I was shocked at how good he was right away,” said Nantz.

“He was always calling. I couldn’t think of anything to say. I didn’t know what to say to make him feel better. He was there already. I think there was a time when he thought I was making it up because he didn’t want to deal with the hard truth. What you need to do is this. I was telling him the truth. You are doing a great job. Just keep getting more reps…

He’s going to do a great job.” Immelman said that broadcaster Brian Anderson was a mentor and that his wife, Carminita, is his toughest critic. “My wife has always been straight to the point,” he said.

Since Nantz will be in Kansas City on Sunday for the NFL’s AFC Championship game, he and Immelman will have to call the Farmers Insurance Open from far away. But Immelman said that he thinks that when they are sitting next to each other at Pebble Beach next week, “I’ll be like, ‘Whoa, this is, you know, he’s the voice of my youth.’ I don’t mean that in a bad way.

Immelman is from South Africa. He remembered being six years old and staying up until after midnight to watch his first Masters in 1986. He heard Nantz call Jack Nicklaus’s heroics.
“That moment is like burned into my brain,” said Immelman, who sat next to Nantz in Butler Cabin 22 years later as the winner and got his green jacket.

Immelman was captain of the International team at the 2022 Presidents Cup, so he knows a lot of the players he will now be writing about. This fall, he got more work as an analyst for Golf Channel. He also went to Cincinnati in December to watch Jim Nantz and Tony Romo call a Bengals-Chiefs football game and sit in on their production meetings.

Nantz said of Immelman, “That was his idea.” “And it’s typical of Trevor to try to make himself better in any way he can.”

Immelman should make his debut at Torrey Pines because he first came here to play in the World Juniors when he was 13 and 14. He also won the U.S. Amateur Public Links here in 1998. In the years that followed, Immelman saw the ups and downs of being a professional golfer, and he thinks that will help him in his new job.

“I wasn’t a top player, but I was good, and I won the Masters, which is, like, a big deal. But I know what it takes to get there and what it takes to play at that level, so I know what it takes to get there.

He said, “And to play with the best.” “But I also know what it’s like to be on the other side, where things aren’t going as planned and you’re fighting to keep your card. And I can tell you for sure that they are two different worlds.

But when you’re in it, you don’t realise how thin the line is. So, I think that what I have to offer is an understanding of both ends of the spectrum. And I really love the game and care a lot about it. So I hope I can find a way to tell those stories with enough energy and excitement so that people at home will enjoy it.

As captain of the Presidents Cup team, Immelman was a leader who spoke his mind. Will he have that much power in the 18th tower and be able to criticise players with whom he has close relationships?

“I’m going to be myself, be real, and be honest. If I see something a player, caddie, coach, or anything else on our air that I disagree with or have an opinion about, it’s my job to say so. “I’m in that seat to do just that,” he said. “And if I don’t do that, millions of fans at home will be able to see that and call me out. So, it’s up to me to be honest and real.”

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