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May 13, 2006

Trevor Immelman


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Trevor Immelman, great round today, career low 64 on the TPC course, and you played your way into contention today and you're in great position heading into tomorrow. Maybe some opening comments.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I mean, obviously today I played really well and I'm excited about my position heading into tomorrow. You know, I'm really looking forward to it. I think it'll be fun. Hopefully the weather won't be too severe and we'll be able to get out there with no delay and play. Yeah, I'm looking forward to it.

Q. You've really taken off the last few weeks. I guess it started in Houston. Kind of explain what happened there and how you've managed to keep it going.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, pretty much like I said in Houston, I feel like I've actually played pretty similar all year, other than the scores that I've produced. I know that might sound a little crazy, but I felt like I played pretty solidly all year but just wasn't scoring very well, so I paid a little bit of attention to that going into Houston and started to turn it around a little bit. I think that was a nice breakthrough week for me to get in the hunt after two days.

Then I just tried to continue to do the same thing. I had a week off after that and just kept trying to feed myself with positive thoughts. Obviously last week I came pretty close. I'm starting to play better and score better.

Q. What did you take from last week, disappointment that you didn't win, or excitement that you were right there down to two guys with a chance to win? What was your mental take on what happened at the playoff last week?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: 100 percent excitement. It's my best finish on the PGA TOUR. I think for me to finish tied 1st in one of the strongest fields of the season was a massive step for me to prove to myself that I could do it, especially on a golf course of that stature. So it was 100 percent excitement.

Obviously I wouldn't be human if I wasn't disappointed not to win; that's why we're all here. But there were so many positives that it really would have been silly of me to think of it in a negative fashion.

I came here knowing that I was playing well, and my goal was just to try to get rested before the week started and try to play well again.

Q. Earlier in the year when you felt like you were playing well and not getting results week after week, did you have to convince yourself that you weren't crazy, that you were playing better than you thought or than the numbers were

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I mean, that's a pretty good comment. I mean, my driving distance was great, my driving accuracy was not too bad, I was hitting enough greens. But like I said, if you look at the Top 10 players in the world, even the Top 20 players in the world, those guys, from 100 yards and in, they turn 3 into 2 so many times to keep rounds going, to make birdies on par 5s, and I think that's what separates the top 20 in the world from the rest of us. So that was something that I tried to pay attention to, and obviously I've been doing that a little better the last few tournaments.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how big the PGA was last year? You had a big finish that led to you being picked for The Presidents Cup team which got you an exemption onto this Tour. And had you wanted to play on this Tour before that, or was it just too good of an opportunity to pass up? That's like three questions in one.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I'll try my best. I was going to be on the PGA TOUR anyway because I made enough money to get my card. So I didn't get onto the PGA TOUR by being in the Presidents Cup. I think The Masters last year, finishing 5th, being in the second to last group on the last day, I think that started getting a feeling that maybe I was improving, getting to where I wanted to get.

British Open, 15th; as you said, the PGA 17th I believe it was. Last year for me to play well in those big tournaments, in the majors, was the first time I had done that. So that was a step up for me to realize that I was having an outside chance to compete in those events.

Yeah, that definitely made me more comfortable. Obviously the week at the Presidents Cup, spending a week with guys of that caliber was an unbelievable experience. So I think I've just kind of been making a steady climb.

Q. Did you learn anything about Jim Furyk, the way he handled his business or his demeanor going to the playoff maybe that you could use next time you're in a playoff situation?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: No, not really. I think I was pretty calm getting down to the tee. You know, I had been struggling with my swing all day, just not really feeling comfortable with my rhythm, and I just hit a bad tee shot, and from there on I was struggling a little. I don't really think it was a mental thing, I think it was just a bad swing that put me behind the 8 ball.

Obviously when you're playing against a guy of Jim's caliber, you can't give him too many opportunities; he's going to close the door. It's just one of those things.

Q. Was it a little more than that? He's a very popular player where the tournament was being played. Of course you aren't exactly from nearby.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Absolutely. I think that's a good point. But also, being a South African, how many home games do I get to play (laughter)? Let's be honest, I've played in Europe all my professional career, so I've always kind of been up against it there not up against it, but to answer your question, you know what I mean, I haven't been the favorite player if you're playing against Justin Rose in England let's say. It's really not something that bothered me.

I've got my fans and my family and the people close to me, and that's all that matters really.

Q. You weren't hearing a lot of "go get 'em, Trevors," today?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Maybe some slurred ones (laughter). You know, I love America, I love the fans in America, I love the PGA TOUR. You know, this whole country has been fantastic to me and to my family, and I haven't got a bad thing to say about it. I love being over here and love living here. I really don't mind if somebody is shouting for me or not.

Q. Talk about the evolution of your putting. I know you used a long putter for a while. When did you give that up? It sounds like you're really rolling the ball well with a standard length putter.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I was a really good putter when I was an amateur. You know, when I turned pro I just don't think I adjusted well enough to playing on different greens all the time, week in and week out. You know, by the time I started using the belly putter I had probably won five pro events, so it wasn't like a last resort type of thing, it was more of an experiment. I was messing around with a friend of mine and it felt good and decided I'd take it to a tournament, and somehow I made the starting lineup and then managed to win the event. I think it kind of all hit the news without me even thinking about it.

It kind of went sour very shortly after that, which was pretty disappointing because that was probably one of the better putting weeks of my career. Once I came over to the States and putted on faster greens I really started struggling with my speed, and I gave it up probably after six weeks of using it, and I've been with the short one ever since. It was just, like I said, an experiment, and I've just been working on the same things since then.

Q. That was early last year?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I used it in 2004 for about six or seven weeks, sort of around this time.

Q. Of '04?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Of '04, yeah.

Q. What would winning for the first time on this Tour mean to your career?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I think it would mean a great deal. I think winning on the PGA TOUR is probably the ultimate for any touring professional, simply because you're playing against the strongest fields week in and week out. But, you know, I've just got to stay patient and keep doing the same things that I've been doing and just hope that my time will come. I really can't think too far ahead. I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing and hope it'll happen sooner rather than later.

Q. So many guys bunched up here going into tomorrow, and with this course people can go low. What kind of excitement does that create for you or what kind of day do you expect tomorrow?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I think it'll be very exciting. Hopefully the weather passes and we get some nice weather. As usual hopefully the fans will be out here in bunches and they'll be vocal, which is great. So I expect it to be a great day. I think it'll be fantastic.

Obviously Adam is playing real well and all the other guys that are up there. I haven't looked at a leaderboard so I'm not too sure, but I think it'll be a great day. Every Sunday is for somebody.

Q. I mean, do you think you have to go low out there? How do you approach it?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I can't answer because I don't know what's in store for us, if it's raining or windy. This is a tough golf course. The rough is really thick, the greens are tricky, and so if the conditions are tough, it really makes it difficult. We'll just have to wake up in the morning and see how it goes.

Q. Have you had much experience playing with Adam from time in Europe?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, we've played a lot together.

Q. Have you gone head to head with him in a Sunday showdown?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Never head to head down the stretch of a tournament, but we've played a lot of golf together, a lot of practice rounds. We've spent a lot of time together off the golf course, practicing together. I know him really well, and obviously vice versa. You know, I expect him to play really well. That's what he's been doing for the last three or four years, and I expect no different from him tomorrow.

Q. How would you compare y'all's games? Are they similar at all?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I would say he probably hits it further than me. I think I might hit a little straighter than what he does, so obviously that's a trade off because the guys who hit it further don't hit as many fairways, which you can understand.

Other than that, there's not too much different really. As you guys well know, he's got one of the best games, one of the best swings, and he's just a very solid young player. You know, in a way I'm trying to emulate what he's achieved here over the last few years.

Q. You've obviously won elsewhere around the world, had a lot of success. The times you've played over here the past few years, did you ever feel like you were the same player? Were you playing the same as you played elsewhere in the world?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: That's a good question. I definitely wasn't. I think the position I was in, because I could only come over here and play a limited amount of tournaments because I wasn't a member, I think I put way too much pressure on myself coming over here to play. You know, I was coming and playing starting at the Match Play, and then I was playing Bay Hill and TPC and Memorial and all real top notch events where you're playing against the Top 50 in the world basically.

So I think I put way too much pressure on myself, and I think that's what's been great for me this year. I was able to set a schedule and just to be able to relax and gain some momentum as the year went on. I wasn't feeling like I was trying to rush to make $600 or $700 grand to get my card or anything like that. That was nice to get over the hump last year and make enough money to get my card and this year just kind of feel like I paced myself a little bit.

I definitely think this year has been more of a relaxed mental approach for me than years past.

Q. How different was the scoring out there today than what we've seen the first two days?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: It wasn't all that different.

Q. Comparable to yesterday more so?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, obviously yesterday there wasn't as much breeze in the early morning, so some of the guys went really low, some great scores on the other golf course. But like I said, this is a pretty fair golf course. If you drive it straight, you're going to have some decent looks at the green, and once you hit the green, you might roll a few in. I think the key is to really hit it straight and be in play and try and attack it from there.

Q. That lake on the 18th hole this year, I was wondering what are your thoughts on that hole and how significant is that, if the change is that significant?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I personally thought the hole was tough enough the way it was (laughter). I don't think I fared too well there last year. I think I made maybe a bogey and three pars. They used to have that big tree there, so if you hit it down the left, you were behind the tree on a sidehill lie anyway. Obviously it's a very intimidating shot, especially with the wind coming out of the left. You almost have to hug that lake and kind of bleed it into the fairway. It's an intimidating last hole.

With 16 you can maybe make an eagle or maybe have a two shot swing; 17 is just a great par 3; and obviously 18 is a pretty tough one now. It's a great finish to the course, really.

Q. You've got three holes now where you can literally have a two or three shot swing because you can double 17 and 18 pretty easy now?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I don't want to say it, but you could (laughter).

Q. Did you change your strategy on the tee on 18 because of that lake?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, like I said, yesterday the breeze was sort of in and off the right on 18 so you could aim for the right and hope for the best, but today you had to really suck it up and almost aim at it. I kind of left it out there but I got a nice break, was in sort of the trampled rough and I was able to punch something out. It's a tough hole, a demanding tee shot. It's fitting for this event.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Six birdies for you today. If we could touch on those. Started out with a birdie on the par 4.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: 1st hole, I hit a 3 wood off the tee and a lob wedge to about five feet.

4, I hit a 3 wood off the tee and a 9 iron to about ten feet.

5, I hit an 8 iron to about two feet.

7, I hit a drive and a 4 iron to about 15 feet and two putted.

Back side, 12, I hit a 3 wood off the tee and a wedge to about two feet.

And then 16, a drive and a 3 wood to about 30 feet and two putted.

Q. Can you describe what your dad's position is with the South African is he like Tim Finchem is over here?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: He's the equivalent to Tim Finchem to the South African Tour. He's the commissioner of the Tour down there.

Q. It sounds from your day that 64 is really about the highest you could have shot?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I wouldn't say that.

Q. I mean, you hit it close

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I hit a couple close, but the 2nd hole I holed a 10 footer for par, 3rd hole I holed a 30 footer for par. You're never going to catch me complaining about 64.

Q. I wouldn't ask you to complain.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't say that. I holed some good putts out there today.

Q. How did you get yourself in position to need a 30 footer at 3?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I hit actually one of my best drives of the day that landed on the fairway and kicked straight left maybe a foot into the rough, and it was like hitting out of that. I hacked it out to about 30 yards short of the green into a divot and kind of punched something out 30 feet past the hole.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Trevor, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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