home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 16, 2005

Trevor Immelman

Peter Lonard


JOHN BUSH: We'll get started. We've got Trevor Immelman and Peter Lonard. We appreciate you guys coming and spending a few minutes with us.

Trevor, we'll start with you as one of the captain's picks for The Presidents Cup, just comment on how it feels to be on the team.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, it kind of hasn't really sunk in yet, but obviously it was a tremendous thrill to get that call yesterday at about 2:30, kind of just before it was announced. To be honest, I wasn't really expecting it. I was hoping for it but not really expecting it, and so when the call came through, it was an incredible feeling.

JOHN BUSH: Likewise, Pete, just comment on being on the team.

PETER LONARD: Same sort of deal. I figure if you're in the Top 10 and if you're not in the Top 10 don't expect to play. That's pretty much what I was thinking. When Gary phoned me up I thought he was going to give me, "Well, you're a great player, thanks for coming," but he said, "I picked you." So looks like in five weeks I'm playing. I'm very excited.

JOHN BUSH: We'll open it up to questions.

Q. Can there be a greater boost to your confidence having somebody like Gary Player saying how much he rates you by picking you?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, you're right. That is a fantastic feeling, to have one of the greatest players ever invite you onto his team. I guess we've done something right over the last couple of years to make him think that. Yeah, you're right. It's a tremendous boost for your confidence, as well.

PETER LONARD: And I put in a lot of hard years, I polished his shoes, sent some flowers to Mrs. Player (laughter). It was a shock, but I enjoyed the last one, and at the last one I didn't think he even knew who I was when I got there in South Africa, so to actually be one of his picks this year was it's good for the hard work the last couple of years, the last three or four years. It's something to do. All The Internationals want to play in it I would have thought.

Q. Can you guys talk about the last one, watching it, competing in it, whichever role you had, what you remember about it?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I missed out, which obviously it was an event that I would have loved to have played, being in South Africa right in the Western Cape, which is where I'm from. Yeah, I was in Japan the week it was being played, and I was sitting up until all hours of the early morning and late evening to watch these guys and root for them.

It just seems like even when you watch the Ryder Cup, it just seems like such a fantastic thing to be involved in a team event, when you play in an individual sport like we do. That just made me want to get on this team even more, and to be given the opportunity, it's going to be fantastic.

PETER LONARD: Well, as far as playing, it was a great opportunity for me. I think I qualified in the top well, I wasn't one of the picks so I must have been in the Top 10 somehow. There's nothing more enjoying to an Australian than having a bunch of South Africans supporting him. I don't think that happens very often. They wouldn't say just say, "play well." That all is all the more enjoyable. The atmosphere was fantastic. Obviously America sat top dog as far as world golf is concerned probably, and it's nice to take on the bigwigs every now and then well, apart from the Europeans, of course, after the last Ryder Cup, thank you very much (laughter). Going on World Rankings possibly, that would say something different.

But the last one, the tie was a killer, we all worked real hard for the whole week, and coming into the last day I think we thought we were going to knock off the Americans, and it didn't work out that way and ended up a tie. I suppose there's a little bit of unfinished business, and when we left, it wasn't really finished last time.

Q. Can you guys talk a little bit about how fans in your countries are taking to this event? I know it's been in Australia once and South Africa once. How are the fans taking to it?

PETER LONARD: Well, when it was in Australia I think I was a club pro. It was a massive event as far as Australia is concerned. The days of the Tours, great players of the world going to Australia and South Africa, unless they're Australian or South African are pretty much ended, unless you're forking out a million bucks to get them down to play for a week. So to have those sort of events in our countries, bringing the best golfers of the world to our countries, Tiger, Mickelson, Goosen, all those guys, is something very special.

We had it at Royal Melbourne I think it was and I think we booked out the whole city for the week, and it was a major probably one of the biggest attractions Australia has had for a long time, and the fact that the international team won was even better.

Q. Did you say you were a club pro when that event was down there?

PETER LONARD: I think so. What year was it?

Q. It might have been 98?

PETER LONARD: No, I just quit my club pro job, sorry. And South Africa was awesome. South Africa was really good.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, with last year's event, we kind of had like I said, I wasn't there, but we kind of had a two week stretch where the guys played The Presidents Cup and the Million Dollar, and obviously those two events, one was down in the Western Cape and one was up in the Johannesburg region, so basically the whole of South Africa got to see some of the best players in the world. It was obviously very special down there.

Probably the biggest similarity between Australia and South Africa is you can have two cockroaches running along the ground and people are going to root for it. Somebody is going to be rooting for one of them. Any sporting event where you're going to get top sports men to either one of those countries, Australian Open tennis or the Million Dollar or something like that, it's very well supported, so an event like this is a big deal.

Q. Do you have to change your schedules at all to play The Presidents Cup?

PETER LONARD: I had a bit of sun biking to do, but I'll put that back a week (laughter).


Q. Your seasons have been relatively good this year but you haven't won this year if I'm correct, I think?


Q. I'm sorry, Peter. How are you playing right now going in? I know it's five weeks out.

PETER LONARD: I've been this year has been different like last year was just abominable. The couple of years before were very consistent. This year I've been a little inconsistent, but I've gotten myself into contention a few times, won one, so as far as consistency, it hasn't been, but when I'm on, I'm on.

I think that probably sets match play more than anything, so we'll see what happens. I've just had three weeks off coming into the British Open sorry, into the PGA, had to go home for three weeks, so I haven't really played much, but four or five weeks to get prepared for it is more than enough and I'll be ready to go.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I haven't won a tournament this year. I kind of think well, the highlight for me this year has been my performance in the majors. The three that I played I finished 5th, 15th and 17th, so I think that from my career's point of view has showed that I can at least step up and play well in those major events and give myself somewhat of a chance during the tournament.

So I feel like I'm playing well. I'm really looking forward to it, and I think every player who's going to be there on both teams is going to be very excited, and that's going to make them compete as hard as they can compete.

Q. When you talk about majors, do you put The Presidents Cup or your participation in it as like a major championship?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Oh, I would definitely say so, yeah. For me it's since its inception, I've been watching the thing or watching the tournament, and obviously have watched Ryder Cups since I can remember, and so to play in a team event like that is going to be a thrill.

But it also only comes around every couple of years which makes it even better, and with the tie last year, last time around, it's kind of all happening. So it's going to be the highlight of my year I would say.

Q. Trevor, your selection to the Presidents Cup team got you into this event, as well, I assume.


Q. How big is that for you and have you had a chance to play the course and what do you think about Firestone?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: It's fantastic. I've played this event the last two years, finished 9th a couple years ago so I know the course fairly well. It's one of my favorites. Yeah, I mean, it was obviously one of the nice things that came on the back of making The Presidents Cup team, so I'm very excited to be here. I just flew in from my home in Orlando, so it's fantastic. I really enjoy playing this tournament. So like I said, it was just icing on the cake, I guess.

Q. Did you have to rearrange anything to get here?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: No. I mean, it was kind of fairly simple. I had a flight booked probably ten minutes after I heard, so I was lucky enough there was availability and there was a direct flight from Orlando into Canton Airport. It couldn't having easier.

Q. You realized straight away when you were playing this week, did you?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I knew. Obviously the qualification for this event is Top 50 and Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, so as soon as Gary gave me the call I knew I was going to have a chance.

Q. What kind of schedules will you guys play between now and The Presidents Cup?

PETER LONARD: I'm playing next week, have two weeks off, then the Lumber and then the Cup.

Q. You're playing in the 84 Lumber you said?


TREVOR IMMELMAN: I'm going to be playing the Deutsche Bank, Canadian Open, then I'm going over to Wentworth for the HSBC Match Play, and then I'll play The Presidents Cup.

Q. I have an off the subject question if you don't mind. Last week there was a 650 yard hole, now you have 667. Is 700 close?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: At least this one is downhill (laughter). But I still can't get to it. Who knows.

PETER LONARD: I don't think anyone will ask us, they'll just make one.

Q. Do you have a philosophical problem with that, just keeping pushing it back?

PETER LONARD: No, I don't care. By the time it gets to 800 I will have retired anyway (laughter).

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Personally I'd like to see some sort of risk reward kind of deal going on. I'd like to see guys having to go with a 3 wood or a 2 iron but they might hit it in the water or something like that so you've got a 6 or a 7 or a 3 or a 4. That to me is what I want to be watching if I'm watching it on TV. That's kind of how I would look at it if I ever had to design a course. I'd try and keep that in mind.

Q. So last week's didn't really do much for you?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I wouldn't say it was a hole that I stood on it was a tee that I stood on and went, "damn, how am I going to do this?" But it wasn't a tee that I stood on and said "this is a fantastic golf hole." I think the other 17 I did but not that one.

Q. How many players went for the green last week?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I saw Tiger, Daly. On the third day you could do it and I probably should have done it. I had 270 yards to the front and ended up not going. It was straight downwind, the breeze was blowing as hard as it had blown all week on Saturday, and Davis and Vijay and all those guys went for it, Lee Westwood, they all kind of got it on or past or kind of right up there, so it was there were probably six or seven guys that went for it.

Q. Why didn't you do it?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I just didn't I was on the left side of the fairway and the ball was a little below my feet and I didn't think I could get the ball high enough to travel over those bunkers, so I decided not to. I made a 5 anyway, so I probably should have given it a go.

Q. Peter, you've been playing long enough where this whole surge of equipment and ball, back then you were playing where distances weren't the same. How much different is it for just you in your time frame of playing golf, how much further are you now with clubs than you were back when you first started playing?

PETER LONARD: With the irons I'm probably 15 yards longer. I'm a club longer basically. But for all those years, all those special woods and irons and all the rubbish that went with it, didn't really make much difference until that ball came out. When the Callaway ball came out, that red Callaway, that's when the smoke started coming off them.

Q. How about driver?

PETER LONARD: To be honest with you, I don't think the actual driver gave us that much. I don't think the driver necessarily goes that much further. I think it gives you you don't have to hit it as perfectly to get the most out of it because they're just bigger heads, but I think your ability to match the driver with the ball is far superior than what it was 15 to 20 years ago. 20 years ago you could find a driver that could really zip along and you could find an extra 10 or 20 yards but it was a fluke. You didn't go to the factory and smash 100 balls and they'd change shafts, change tips, flatten them, upright them, and then all of a sudden there's your launch trajectory, that's where you're going to get the most distance, there's your driver I think these days as far as the ability to match the player with the ball with the club.

Q. Launch monitor do that?

PETER LONARD: You touched on it that the U.S. players aren't going are not supporting events in Australia and South Africa. People talk about Tiger chasing Jack Nicklaus's 18 majors. They'll never catch his six Australian Opens until he plays in one, and the South African Open is a world recognized tournament.

Q. What are the Americans missing out on? These are events that they should play in, aren't they?

PETER LONARD: Well, as Australians and South Africans, if you want to play golf you've got to travel. That's just part of your deal. If you want to play the worldwide stage, you've got to move to America or move to Europe and live there and leave Australia or your homeland for 20 years, 30 years, some probably don't come back.

But in the old days with Nicklaus and Player and Palmer, all those guys, the major Tours of the world started in probably April and ended in September, and a lot of the tournaments were contracted through equipment sponsors like Spaulding and things and contractually number one, contractually they probably had to come to Australia and other places to play. Two, they probably if they wanted to play competitive golf, they had to go, whereas now it wasn't so much the money, it was either contractually or if they wanted to play competitively. Now we start the first week in January, finish the second week of November, you play for $5 million a week or however much you're playing for. Australian dollars is half of that. There's no incentive to go anywhere.

You know, it's just the law of the jungle, isn't it, survival of the fittest or whatever. If you play there, you really need six weeks off at the end of it. As Australians you don't get it, so you've got to chuck it in there somewhere in the middle of the American Tour and the Australian Tour somehow. That's just the way golf is, and all the other tours are struggling because of it.

Q. But are they missing out?

PETER LONARD: Well, I think they're missing out on seeing around the world, definitely. I think travel and learning to play traveling teaches you a lot, whether it's golf or just seeing the good and bad sides of the world. I'd say they're missing that, definitely. If you live in your own little world and don't see what's going on around the rest of the world, you're definitely missing out, whether you're a golfer or footballer or baseballer.

Q. What about the courses, Kingston Heath or Royal Durban or something like that? These are golf courses that are world renowned?

PETER LONARD: Well, they don't see it.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Just depends on the way you want to live your life, I guess.

PETER LONARD: You've got nice courses here, so they'll be all right.

Q. Do you think if the Tour, the discussion about changing schedules and moving the TOUR Championship to something like the end of September, middle of September, beginning of October, something like that, do you think in some way that might help the Australian and South African Tours?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I think it'll at least give them an opportunity to at least get some of their home grown talent back. I mean, I know we've had the same problem as what the Austral Asian Tour has had; we've got two guys in Ernie and Goosen, two of the top players in the world and we hardly ever see them down there, bar the Million Dollar. So for the exact reason Pete was saying, both of those guys are going to start at the Mercedes, which is the first week of January, and Million Dollar is the first weekend in December. I mean, it gives them absolutely no time to do anything.

I think if that situation were to occur, it would give guys more chances to be able to travel around and play.

JOHN BUSH: Peter, Trevor, thanks for coming by. Play well this week.

End of FastScripts.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297