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April 21, 2006

Trevor Immelman


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Current leader in the clubhouse at the Shell Houston Open after the second round, Trevor Immelman. Two rounds in the 60s, plenty of players left to play today, but must feel good to be leading right now and have your first two rounds done.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, thanks. It's a great feeling to be finished. Obviously we all got up early this morning anticipating a nice early start because the weather had been so good. Well, maybe some of the guys were smart enough to look at the forecast, but I wasn't so I got up early (laughter).

You know, obviously I was a little disappointed to get delayed because I thought maybe we could tee off early enough to sneak out without any wind. The way the weather is today there wasn't as much breeze today as yesterday. But all in all, really happy with the last two days' play and looking forward to the weekend.

Q. Where did this come from? I mean, you've been struggling a little bit coming into here, and I wonder what you felt like you found recently that kind of got you back on track.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Not much really. I actually had been playing a lot better than what my scores have shown. I just really haven't been scoring very well. So not much has changed from a ball striking point of view. Obviously I holed a few more putts and kept the momentum going over the last two days, didn't make any silly mental errors, so all in all, I feel like it's the same golf that's being played, just a different score on the board.

Q. You've been doing this for a couple years now, splitting your time between the European Tour and here?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, this year I'm going to play a lot more over here. This is the first year that I'm actually a full member of the PGA TOUR, and so yeah, I'm going to end up playing more golf over here than what I have the last few years.

Q. I know you've been questioned about that before, especially from the guys over across the pond, but was that a decision just because you were eligible you were going to try and do it and play more over here?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, it's always been a dream of mine to play the PGA TOUR. I really enjoyed my time playing in Europe, but for me, my goal was always to try and get over here. So once I had the opportunity, I really wanted to give it my best shot and see what I could do.

Q. A lot of guys get criticized for doing that but they don't care. Do you get criticized, as well?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Criticized for leaving?

Q. Yeah.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Not as yet. I haven't been back there to play this year. I've only played two events in December in South Africa. I think it would be a little bit different for me because I'm South African, not European. I don't think they can expect us to stay there if we don't have to.

But I'm going to try my best to still support the European Tour and still support the South African Tour. My goal would be able to be what Ernie and Retief do and play an international worldwide schedule, but obviously at that point you've got to be Top 10 in the world, major champion, got to be able to have exemptions all over the place. I'm just taking it one step at a time.

Q. Did you talk to Ernie at all? I know you guys are friends. Did you talk to him at all about your decision to go ahead and come over here now and just go ahead and go full bore on the PGA TOUR?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: No, not really. Like I said earlier, I felt like it was always my goal and my dream to come over here and play. I played a lot of junior golf over here, a lot of amateur golf, and I enjoyed it. I love America, love living in America.

You know, like I said, once I had the opportunity, I was always going to do it. There was no real deliberating over my decision.

Q. When you go through a patch like you had where you feel like you're playing pretty well and not getting results, what was your frame of mind like and how did you kind of keep

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, obviously I would say frustration kind of sums the whole thing up because, like I said, I really felt like the whole year I've hit the ball quite well. You know, I've hit the ball a lot worse at times and got a lot better results.

I was really frustrated because I felt like I was playing good enough to at least make it to the weekend and even compete at certain events, so I was really frustrated, but I knew that I had put the work in, I've really been working on every part of my game, every aspect of the game, and once you put the preparation in, you've really just got to try and be patient and wait for your turn.

That's kind of what I've been telling myself.

Q. Was there a point in the last couple days where you've felt like, a ha, it's clicking?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, after yesterday's round, I think that was a nice start, to shoot 69 in really windy conditions. I think it was the second best score in the afternoon, so I was really pleased with that.

You know, nice solid front nine today and then I birdied 10 and 11, and I was like, okay, this is nice, this is how you'd like to play. Then I finished strong, too.

I would say the last two days, yeah, I feel like I've hopefully turned the corner. Hopefully I'll have a good weekend.

Q. That looked like it had to be a really comfortable 67. You hit your last 12 greens, just kind of not really in any trouble the whole day.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, that was pretty much how it felt. I would say the one mistake that stood out to me, if I had to think about it, was the three putt on the par 3 on the front nine. I think it's about 7.


TREVOR IMMELMAN: That was probably the only mistake. I missed a three footer there, just pushed it. Other than that, it felt comfortable. You know, you can never count your chickens before they're hatched with this game. We all know that. All it is is two days of solid golf. I'm going to have to go out there and produce the same thing on the weekend.

Q. How does this course fit your eye and all that?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I love it. I think it's pleasing on the eye. It's a great design. I was really excited to see how quickly the course drained today. I didn't think we would start playing as early as what we played with all the rain we had. That's obviously really well thought out and really well designed.

You know, the course is in absolutely perfect condition. We're not going to play a course all year that's in better condition. You know, I think every pro you ask will say that he enjoys playing this course.

Q. You've played on this Tour between 12 and 14 times a year for the last couple of years. This year you're going to do 20, 22 events?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Around about there, yeah.

Q. I know you've won over in Europe but not here. Do you feel that's because you've played so limited and do you think that this is the year that you could break through?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, hopefully. Obviously the more you play, the more chances you've got. Like you said, the 12 or 14 that I've been playing the last three years, it makes it a little more tricky when you play in like the match play, Doral, Bay Hill, TPC, Augusta, Memorial. When you're teeing it up against the best fields every week, it makes it a little more tricky when you're trying to find your way on the Tour.

Hopefully this year I can get more comfortable and just work my way through a season without traveling backwards and forwards so much, and hopefully that win is around the corner. That's what I'm working towards.

Q. So you're not that disappointed you haven't won on this Tour yet it sounds like?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I'm 26 years old. I'd love to win, there's no doubt about it, and I'm hoping that I'm going to win and win many times and win big tournaments. You've just got to do your thing and see what happens, really.

Q. You were a captain's pick for The Presidents Cup at a pretty nice young stage in somebody's career. I would think that's a big career boost, confidence boost. I'm wondering how long does something like that stay with you? Is that something that's still been kind of a part of your makeup?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, that's a good question. Obviously at the time that was fantastic. It was a week that was probably the best golfing week of my life, and I really enjoyed it. Obviously I would have loved the result to have been different. Yeah, that's a confidence booster. It was great for me to spend the week with guys like Mike Weir and Goose and Vijay and all the other players on the team, and really learn from those guys. Obviously guys like Vijay and Mike and Michael Campbell and Goose, guys like that have won so many tournaments around the world, you're definitely going to be learning from those sorts of guys.

Q. What did you see from that week that kind of sticks with you maybe that you've tried to bring forward, maybe their habits or whatever?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I think when you look at the top players there's one common denominator and that's how relaxed they are on the golf course, how relaxed they are off the golf course. There's no drama. There's no real massive emotional changes. Those guys are pretty constant, they're level, they believe in themselves, and they get the job done.

Q. You talked about putting the work in for the season. Can you explain to me how much and what kind of things you were working on, and is it all technique for you or just how you feel?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: You know, I felt pretty comfortable with my swing coming into the season, really just little bits, working on a few things, trying to sharpen up.

For me and for any professional really, it's all about the short game. The more shots you can save, turn three or four into two shots from 100 yards in, that's when you're really going to have a chance. I think a perfect example over the last few weeks is Phil Mickelson. He turns more three into two than anybody right now. He's won the last two tournaments he's played quite comfortably.

I'd say that has been what I'd like to just keep improving on.

Q. Did you settle over in the Orlando area?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I've had a place there for the last three years, so it's nice to spend more time there this year.

Q. You went from the long putter to short putter this year? Was it this year?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: No, that was two years ago. I used a belly putter for maybe six or seven weeks, and I won a tournament with it and got a lot of attention through that. But it was just something that I wanted to give a try at the time, and that week it felt really good and I just managed to hole everything.

But the more I putted with it, the worse it felt, so it got put back in the garage.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: If we could touch on your round, take one or two final questions. You started on the front side, birdied the first par 5, No. 4.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: What does that hole look like? Yes. I actually pulled my driver. It's reachable today. I pulled my drive kind of into the left rough and hit a 6 iron out and then hit a wedge to about ten feet.

Three putted No. 7, tough little hole today, wind off the left and the flag is back left, and I kind of pushed a 7 iron out to about 35, 40 feet and left it three feet short. Actually it was right on line, and then pushed the second one, so that was a little disappointing.

Next hole I hit a real nice drive and 3 iron into the green side bunker and holed about a six footer for birdie.

10, I hit a 3 wood and a wedge to about two feet.

11, I hit that's a real tough hole today. I hit a drive and a 5 iron to about 15 feet.

15, I hit a 3 wood off the tee and then hit a 5 wood for my second and a sand wedge to about three feet.

And then the next hole I hit a 5 iron to about eight feet.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You played with Bubba Watson today who you played back in 1995, '96


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: in a junior golf match in Orlando. I don't know if you guys talked about that at all.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, we played a lot of junior golf together. He's an incredible talent. We did a lot of talking on the tees and on the greens but when we were on the fairways he was always like 60 yards ahead of me so I wasn't going to shout in case I put anybody off (laughter). He's a great talent. We need guys like that in the game who kind of take it by the scruff of the neck and they're characters, and we had a lot of fun that was like ten years ago we played together in the final of a match. It was good fun.

Q. You didn't even out drive him once? What's wrong with you?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I did a couple times. Those are the ones he mis hit. I would say on average he's a good 40 by me.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Trevor, good luck the rest of the week.

End of FastScripts.

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