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Green jacket ceremony at Masters is one of sports best moments

There are some great moments in sports.Medal ceremonies at the Olympics as the American Flag is raised just a little higher than those of other nations while the "Star Spangled Banner" is played always sends chills through my body.

There's nothing more exciting in sports than the presentation of the Stanley Cup as members of the winning team skate around the ice with perhaps the best known trophy in sports.

The drama of watching a beautiful thoroughbred win the Kentucky Derby can hardly be put into words.

But to me, the best feel-good moment in sports comes on Sunday inside Butler Cabin at Augusta National at the conclusion of the Masters when a new champion is crowned with the presentation of his Green Jacket.

When Trevor Immelman sank his last putt on hole No. 18 Sunday during the tournament's final round, the young South African came from obscurity to join the sport's elite.

Until 2007 winner Zach Johnson helped Immelman on with his green jacket, most thought Gary Player was the only South African with ties to the pro tour.

Immelman changed that notion in an instant.

Maybe it was the phone call from Player, a former Masters champion in 1961, 1974 and 1978, and great player in his own right on Saturday night, that inspired golf's newest champion to go out and take care of business on Sunday, but Trevor Immelman made sure there was no Sunday collapse.

Even as Tiger Woods made one of his famous final-round charges, Immelman wasn't to be outdone. Despite a double bogey on No. 16 during Sunday's final round, Immelman rose to the occasion, holding off the man most thought might win.

Winning the Masters always makes for a great story regardless of who it is, but for Immelman, just being out there and leading one of the sport's majors wire to wire is cause for celebration.

Just four months ago, Immelman underwent surgery for a lesion on his diaphragm. The young golfer and his family held their breath, hoping not to hear the word cancer.

It turns out the test showed the tumor was benign as he was able to get back to playing winning golf.

Sunday he joined the likes of Woods, Nicklaus, Mickleson, Watson and Palmer as a Masters champion.

Only time will tell if Immelman ever wins another major title, let alone a Masters championship, but at least for one magical four-day period, he was on top of the golfing mountain.

Doug Gorman is sports editor of the Clayton News-Daily and Henry Daily Herald. His column runs on Thursday. He can be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com.