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September 1, 2005

Trevor Immelman


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Trevor Immelman to the 2005 Deutsche Bank Championship. Trevor recently picked up a special temporary membership with the PGA TOUR thanks to money earned earlier this season. First talk about that and your first step to maybe taking TOUR membership.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Obviously that was one of my goals for the year was to get across that hurdle of 450,000 to take up the special temporary membership, and at that point I could get unlimited sponsor invites and give it my best to try to get my TOUR card, which, you know, a long with the Presidents Cup, was two goals I had set for myself. I wanted to get my U.S. TOUR card and make the Presidents Cup team. All of that seems to be working out quite well, so I've been quite a happy guy the last couple of months.

TODD BUDNICK: You mentioned the Presidents Cup and of course you're a captain's choice by Captain Gary Player for the International Team. Talk about how important that is for and you what you're looking forward to in the next couple of weeks.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I was pretty surprised, really, when I got the call. You know, I thought I had an outside chance, but obviously you never want to play anything up in your mind too much and you don't want to get too disappointed.

When I got the call I was obviously ecstatic. Like I said it was one of the things I had set out for myself to try and achieve this year. Yeah, I absolutely can't wait for the occasion. It's going to be fantastic for me to represent my country and the International Team. And I think from a career point of view, it's going to be fantastic for me to be able to spend time with that caliber of players. Only being 25 years old, that's going to stand me in good stead for the future.

TODD BUDNICK: This course has gone through a few changes after a hard time the first year. You just finished up your Pro Am, can you talk a little bit about the course conditions out there?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I think the course is in fantastic condition. Obviously, you know, it's still a little wet with the rain that they had I think Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. So in patches it's still quite wet, but overall it's holding up quite well. The greens were in fantastic condition this morning.

Once again as we've seen quite often now, it's a long hitter's golf course, especially with it being a little damp. It should dry out; I hear we've got some good weather on the way. Yeah, the guys who drive it long and straight are definitely going to have an advantage this week.

Q. You said you were surprised at being picked by Gary, other guys are saying they are surprised, not you personally but just surprised someone with so little experience; do you think your experience could work against you?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: During the tournament?

Q. No, I'm sorry. The Presidents Cup.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: During the Presidents Cup? I wouldn't say I'm that inexperienced. I've been a professional for five years. I've played professional golf from Japan to China to all parts of Asia all around the world, so I've got to experience a lot of different golf. I've been playing the majors and the world golf events for the last few years and this year started getting good results in the majors.

So I definitely don't think I'm going to be intimidated by the situation, so from my point of view, you know, obviously everybody is going to be a rookie at some point, but I don't think that I'm inexperienced so to say.

Q. How do you feel this course suits your game?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I think I'm normally a pretty good driver of the golf ball. So I think, you know, from that point, it suits me.

And, you know, I think it's important, what I can remember from last year, as the weather will get better, the greens will start getting a lot firmer. I was starting to see that this morning. At that point you have to be hitting the ball from the fairway to be able to have any control on your iron shots to hold the greens. I think that would be my advantage. If I can keep it in play and on the fairways, then I'll be able to control the ball on the greens and hopefully roll a few birdie putts.

Q. Who did you think was your major competition when you said it was surprising, maybe one or two guys you thought was maybe a little ahead of you, who do you think they might be?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I thought everybody from the 11th position to about 20th had some sort of a shot when I looked at the list. Obviously Steve Elkington made a real late run of it there, and he's won a major and played in a few before, so he's got a lot of experience like you were talking about. You've got guys like K.J. (Choi) and Shigeki Maruyama, who have played in that same event, and also international players. I think, also, Geoff Ogilvy, who is kind of more in my situation. He's more of a youngster coming into it. Obviously he had a fantastic year this year.

So, you know, like I said, I felt like the guys from 11th to 20th had some sort of shot at getting a pick.

Q. Where were you when you found out, and what was your initial reaction when you talked to Gary? I assume he called you?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I was in Orlando, and he called me. I went on to the Web site and found out he was going to announce the team at 3:00 in a press conference, and he called me at about a quarter to 3:00. So I had no information whatsoever what was going to happen. The last time I had spoken to him was when we all had a meeting at the British Open, probably about 20 to 25 of us got together, kind of potential guys who were going to make the team, and that was the last time I had been in contact with him.

So he gave me that call, and, I mean, I was obviously so excited. I'm really looking forward to and I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure I'm firing that week.

Q. Do you wish he had maybe called you earlier; he maybe waited until the very bitter end there.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I'm pretty happy with the result. I was kind of hanging in there and obviously just checking on the Internet. And then when I got the call, you know, as soon as I heard it was him, I didn't think he would call me personally to say I wasn't on the team. So as soon as I heard it was him, I kind of got a little excited. And then when he told me, I got very excited.

Q. Looking ahead to next year, assuming you're going to probably play the majority of golf here, how much international golf do you still want to play, and do you have an idea which tournaments?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, that's a very good question and something that I'm still trying to work my way through. Obviously I'm in a fantastic situation right now where I've gained a two year exemption on the PGA TOUR through this Presidents Cup, and I've got a five year exemption in Europe for winning The Players Championship last year. At this point I can set a schedule the way I want to play.

What I'd like to do is really give the U.S. tour a chance. I've only been able to play seven, eight, nine regular Tour events a year for the last few years. I'd love to come over here and have a good go at it and try and get some momentum and get to play more of the tournaments I've always watched growing up.

So I would say that I'm going to play the majority of my golf here, and, you know, just kind of play the rest of it as it comes along. Obviously I'd like to try and kind of follow in Ernie and Retief's footsteps and make sure that I can play all around the world and help spread the game of golf.

Q. I assume you know these guys pretty well, how well do you know them and how much have they helped you or how much have you sought help? And also from your perspective, what's the biggest difference between playing the European courses and playing over here?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: The first part of your question, Ernie I've known since I was five years old. You know, he's really been kind of an elder brother mentor to me. He's taught me a lot, taken me under his wing and showed me a lot of different things on and off the golf course.

Goose is a little different, he's a little more quiet, but all the same he's helped me a lot. We've spent a bit of time together down at Lake Nona and on the range. Once you get him going, he's very, very helpful, wants to give you as much advice as possible. So both of those guys have been very instrumental from that point of view, but also just inspirational because I've been able to watch them win majors and play well in tournaments around the world. They are only sort of eight or nine years older than me, so I'm kind of in their age group, so it's very inspiring to watch them.

The second part of your question I've forgotten.

Q. The different courses?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, that's something that's kind of getting similar as the years have gone on. In the last couple of years on The European Tour, you've really seen the Tour officials make a good effort at making the golf course tougher. They have really started growing the rough up at all the tournaments. I think that's why in the last year or two you've started seeing guys who play on The European Tour play better in the majors, because the courses that we play over there on a weekly basis are really starting to get tougher. So when the guys get to the majors, it's not as big of a shock I think as what it was a little while back.

Other than that, I would just say the weather is a major part. In Europe you hit a lot of half shots, a lot of knock down shots, especially with the temperature, it's always a little cold, you know, in most places; whereas here, you always feel like you'd rather gear down and hit a full shot. So from a golfing point of view, that's the main difference I've noticed.

End of FastScripts.

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