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June 27, 2006

Trevor Immelman


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Trevor, for joining us for a few minutes here until the media center here at the Buick Championship. We were just chatting on your way over that this is your first time here, and maybe if you would just talk a little bit about how great your year has been and about coming to a place that you're not quite familiar with, but you're playing great.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, thanks. It's obviously great for me to be here. Every week, or most weeks for me, are the first time. So it's all very exciting and every week is kind of like living my dream because I always wanted to play on the PGA TOUR.

Yeah, it's been a great year, I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I got off to a slow start, even though I was playing quite well and things picked up for me a little bit and my confidence grew. The last couple months has been a nice experience for me, because it's a great feeling when you put so much work all of us work so hard at the tournaments, away from the tournaments when we're at home. It's nice to actually get some results and feel like it's all working.

Q. When you go out and see a golf course for the first time, do you scout it, do you make mental notes, do you rely on your caddie to do your notes for you, or the first year do you just basically play on feel?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I think it's a combination of all of those. I'll probably head out and play nine holes today and play the Pro Am tomorrow, so I'll have it under my belt. At least I'll know where I'm going come Thursday.

My caddie is a very experienced caddie; been on Tour a bunch of years, so he knows where he's going. So I'll rely on him. We've been working together for four years, so we have a really good understanding what each other expects from ourselves and he knows exactly what to say to me. So I'll rely on him for a little bit of advice, as well. So I think it's just a combination of a whole bunch of things.

I also think that sometimes not knowing the course that well can help. You don't know where all the trouble is all the time. I find sometimes going into majors, I might have overprepared and knew exactly where I definitely didn't want to be and I thought to myself, shooting away from those places. So sometimes it's nice to go out there and, you know, feel the shots, see what's out there, and just, you know, try and concentrate on your target and not get to involved into where you don't want to be.

Q. How far in advance do you set up your schedule, do you plan six weeks in advance, eight weeks in advance, and when did you decide to come here?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Probably try and set it up at the start of the year, I get a rough idea. I know that I want to play between 25 and 30 events. I try and mix them all in. I always try and get a few in South Africa, make sure I go down there and support the Tour. So I try and mix a few in.

It's been a little more interesting lately. My wife is reaching the end of her pregnancy, so we're expecting a little guy on the way here in a few weeks. So you know, I want to try and play as much as I can now and see if I can take some more time off when he arrives. So I've just been adding some in and taking some out sort of as so right now, I'm just going week for week just trying to see how things pan out.

Q. First child?


Q. Is she with you?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: No. The Memorial was the last event she was allowed to travel so. So no more flying. She's just got to stay at home and take it easy.

Q. Home is?


Q. What's your breakdown between playing in Europe and playing in the States and South Africa?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, in Europe, you need to play 11 events, including the majors and World Golf. So you've got to fit in another four.

One thing that really works in my favour is that we've got two co sanctioned events on the South African Tour that are actually played in December last year that counted for this year's Money List. So that's what I try and do. I try and play the 11, and you know, that 11 includes the two in South Africa, so they kind of cover each other.

Then I've just been I really wanted to play as big of a schedule in America as I could, my first full season on Tour, and I really was excited about it and looking forward to it. I just wanted to play as much as I could without wearing myself out.

Q. Would you like to play just on the PGA TOUR or would you like to be like Retief and Ernie going back and forth?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: You know, I think it would be fantastic for me to be able to be a global player. I think you need to get to their stature to be able to do that. I think you need to have won a major or won probably a major that gets you big exemptions on all the tours. At that point it takes a lot of pressure off and you can do some more traveling. I think that would be fantastic for me.

Being from South Africa, it would be nice for me to be able to travel, play down there, play in Europe, play in Asia, play in the Far East. But like I said, you have to have had the results under your belt to be able to do what they are doing.

Q. As a South African, you're aware of what Gary Player has done in his career. Do you envision yourself some day traveling as many miles as he did to promote the game, as well as be the Hall of Fame player that he is; do you see yourself aspiring to that goal, or is what he did just something that's I am come hen I believe in this day and age?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I think to start off the manner in which he did it is, I don't think anybody can understand. With the way that he was traveling on those sorts of airplanes and the time that it was taking him, a lot of time he did it with his family and kids, he told me at one point they had 27 pieces of luggage between them. You know, that's pretty crazy to be able to do that kind of thing on such a consistent basis and perform the way he performed and have such an incredible attitude towards everything.

So I don't think anybody will be able to emulate that. We've become so fortunate now with private jets and first class travel and all of these massive airplanes, I think it's a little easier on us now.

Obviously as a kid growing up, I always wanted to follow in his footsteps. So like I said in the previous question, if I had to get to the situation like Gary or Ernie or Retief where they have won multiple majors and really established themselves as household famous, then I think it would be fantastic for me to be able to try and travel and spread the game and just try and play wherever I could play.

Q. There used to be a time for 20 year olds the PGA TOUR was kind of like a schooling event. Now all of a sudden we have a rash of 20 year olds who are winning on Tour. What's the secret behind it? Do you have a theory on why?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I haven't won one yet, so I haven't figured it out yet. (Laughing).

You know, still think and I still believe that golfers reach their prime between the ages of maybe 28 and 40. I think a few years ago, a lot of the guys in the media, when all of us were in our really early 20s, 20, 21, 22, a lot of people in the media expected a little too much from us too soon.

Obviously all of us are looking at Tiger doing it in his early 20s and winning every tournament he played in and everyone thought that the rest of us would kind of do the same thing. I mean, he is like just an absolute phenom. And I think when the rest of us didn't perform the same way, you know, some people might have just got a bit frustrated with our performances.

But you know, I think experience is such a massive part of this game and playing on the PGA TOUR, experience is absolutely vital. Just going down the stretch a bunch of times, missing cuts by a shot, making cuts by a shot, all that sort of stuff that happens in your career, I think it's absolutely vital in making a good PGA TOUR pro.

So I still think that players, you know, they don't reach their prime until their late 20s.

Q. What have you done well in this recent stretch of six or seven of a row without missing a cut?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I think the difference the first few months of the season and the last few months has been really just my short game. I think I've hit the ball fairly similar. But I've just, you know, from 100 yards in, converted three shots into two more often; when I've hit good shots, I've converted and made the birdie putts. And when you're doing things like that, just really, you gather so much more momentum and your confidence grows.

You know, as soon as I got that first good week in Houston when I finished 11th, I kind of got back on track there and then after finishing second at Wachovia, I really started to feel like I was comfortable and I knew that I was playing well. I was really just trying to build on that. I think my short game has been the thing that has turned it all around.

Q. Do you plan on playing the British, or what does your wife do?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I definitely plan on playing. We'll just have to see if the kid is wanting me to or not. If he arrives, I'm going to be there for my wife and support her and, you know, you really look forward to that. At the moment, he's supposed to arrive after the British Open, so if he hasn't arrived by the time I need to leave, I probably would golf. Like I said, at this point we're just taking it week for week, really, because he could come any time now.

Q. What's your wife's name?


Q. You mentioned your confidence and how much it's improved. What did it mean to be elected to the Presidents Cup last year and how much did your international participation help you in that regard?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: That was fantastic for me. You know, to get selected into that team, it was probably the highlight of my career so far. I thoroughly enjoyed the week. And to be able to for a young guy, to be able to spend a week with guys of that stature, Mike Weir, Michael Campbell, Vijay, Goose, all those sort of guys, it was such a great experience for me. I learned so much from them and got to spend, you know, valuable time with them in a team room situation or practice rounds when they were sharing information freely. So that was an absolute fantastic week.

I'm sure all of the guys when play Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups, they all say the same thing. As soon as you've played one, you don't want to miss any of the others. It's just such a great it's great to be able to, you know, one time every two years, to play for something more important every week we're playing for ourselves, and it's great to be able to play for other players and for a team and a collective group of nations. It's an incredible feeling, so really, it's one of my goals for next year is to try to get back onto that team.

Q. You talked about growing in stature to the level of an Ernie, etc. What do you think you have to do career wise to make that next step?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, you know, without sounding arrogant, I think I just really need to keep doing what I've been doing the last few months. You know, I know that I'm working on the right things with my swing, and I know that my short game needs to keep improving. And so I feel like I've got what it takes. It's just a matter of me really doing it and allowing myself to do it.

Obviously the more tournaments I get under my belt, the more majors I get under my belt, so much more experience for me. A week like the U.S. Open is an incredible experience just to battle that golf course for four days. You learn a lot about yourself and about your game and about your mental approach, how you're stacking up to that sort of thing.

I think if I can just keep on the road that I'm on and just get some more experience, you know, I believe that I could maybe get a couple under my belt when it all said and done.

Q. The fact that you've come so close to winning already with your second place finish, was that frustrating or encouraging?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I think it's a little bit of both. Obviously when you come that close, it's tough not to finish it off. But I think it's satisfying because you know that you've played so well and only one guy has beat you. So you know you're doing the right thing.

It's just a matter, for me, I'm just trying to stay patient and keep playing the same type of golf. You know, I know that if I keep knocking on the door eventually I'm going to win a few events.

So that's really the mental approach that I'm taking, just to stay positive and enjoy the good golf that I'm playing or that I have been playing and you know, just hope that one is going to be around the corner.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Trevor.

End of FastScripts.

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