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Trevor Immelman always dreamed of winning the Masters Tournament. But he never grasped the global significance of that title until last fall, more than six months after Immelman’s dream became a reality in Augusta, Ga.

While walking through an airport in Japan with the champion’s green jacket in his garment bag, Immelman said he was recognized by a small group of fans. Immelman allowed them a peek at the coat.

"These guys started crying," Immelman said during a recent conference call. "They were so in awe of the fact that they were in the presence of the green jacket. To me, it was so humbling and it was so cool ... I realized that the mystique and the history that goes along with Augusta National is just something that not many sports have."

Immelman, 29, returns this week to Augusta National Golf Club to defend his title. He will arrive for Thursday’s opening round the same way he did a year ago — with no victories or top-10 finishes in any of his early-season starts at PGA Tour events. During the past year, Immelman has cracked the top 10 only twice in 19 tour starts, with no victories, since claiming his Masters title.

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