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July 20, 2005

Trevor Immelman


RODDY WILLLIAMS: Welcome, Trevor. Defending champion, different course, different time of year, but the same tournament, how does it feel coming back?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, it's fantastic, and you know, it's great to defend any title. So I'm really looking forward to it, especially this tournament. This is one of our biggest ones here in Europe and we have a strong field, so I think it's going to be a good week.

RODDY WILLIAMS: After your win, good form in that stretch last year.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, it's been the biggest victory of my career so far, so it was very important. Like I said, to win one of the biggest events that the Tour has is, you know, it's a great feeling of accomplishment.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Coming to this week on the back of a pretty good week last week at St. Andrews, obviously you got off to a great start, talk about how you feel looking back on that week now.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I was looking forward to that tournament all season, to be able to play at the Old Course. And so, yeah, I was really, really fired up going into the event. I felt like I played really well. On the weekend, I didn't score very well and I felt like I hit the right shots and hit some good putts, but, unfortunately it just didn't quite go my way. All in all, I was pretty happy with the result.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Do you now feel your game is strong enough to be contending in majors, right up there?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I think I'm still a little bit of a baby when it comes to playing in the majors. I don't even think I've played it yet. I'm still getting used to the whole thing. It's definitely a lot different to any regular week.

But, you know, I think from my game's point of view, my game has gotten to the point where as things go my way, I can be in there with a shot. I think I proved to myself at the Masters and then at the Open last week that, you know, if things are going my way, I can play well.

Q. How difficult is it adjusting back to the regular tour greens this week, as opposed to the greens you were playing on last week?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, to be honest with you, the greens here are quicker than last week. I think the R&A had to be very careful last week with the amount of wind as to how fast they were going to get the greens, and I think they did a very good job because it was very windy on the weekend. If they had cut them down any more, they would have had to suspend play.

I was surprised this morning when I got out to the course, the greens here are very fast and very true and they are in fantastic condition. So I think that as a result of that, you're going to see good scores this week because the guys are really going to be holing some putts.

I guess I didn't really answer your question. I don't think it takes that long to adjust, maybe an hour on the putting green just hitting a few 30 , 40 footers, just trying to get a feel for it. I would say the guys on The European Tour are really good at adjusting, because we play in a different country every week, different grasses, different weather conditions, and it's something that we've had to get used to over the years.

Q. Given that advantage, Trevor, why do you think there has not been a European winner of the British Open? Surely that would be a huge advantage to the European players?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: To The European Tour players? Yeah, you would. So I really can't answer that question. It's just one of those things. And there's a guy by the name of Tiger Woods who is pretty damned good. (Laughing). I'm really not too sure about that.

Q. The emergence of Tiger Woods, you're so young, did the emergence of Tiger Woods alter your idea of how the game should be played, how you should approach the game, the physical element involved in the game, Tiger's physique, has it changed the way you've approached the game?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I definitely think that Tiger has changed the game from that point of view. He came out and really put a lot of work in the gym. The first guy to do it started way back was Gary Player. I think Nick Faldo and Greg Norman took it to a new level and then Tiger took it to a new level from those guys. He really just carried on from what they were doing.

I think when you go to Tour stops week in and week out, you go to the gyms at the hotels, you'll be very surprised how many Tour players are working out. I think it's something that's becoming more and more popular with the Tour pros. The guys are putting a lot of effort into it.

Q. How do you think John Daly performs at such a high standard?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: John Daly is a phenomenal talent. Somebody asked me that question yesterday with regards to Tiger compared to Monty last week, and I think you get to the point where, you know, Monty does what he needs to do to play his best golf. Nobody needs to tell him what that is. The guy has won seven Order of Merits in a row and he's won countless events on The European Tour and he knows what he needs to do to be at the top of his game. At the end of the day, we're not going out trying to punch each other's lights out. We're trying to put a little white ball in the hole. You have to do whatever it takes to make you do that. Some guys feel like they need to work out and other guys don't feel like they need to work out. It's different for all sorts of guys.

Q. John Daly also said that he suspected that this gym work wasn't helping much, anyway; most of the development of the game was coming from the development of the golf ball rather than the extra work the people are doing in the gym to get fit.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Absolutely. I would say it's a combination. There's no doubt that technology is playing a massive part, and you know, with the amount of money that the companies are spending to make the golf balls better and the clubs better and all that is phenomenal.

But, you know, I definitely think professional golfers as a whole are in better physical condition, and they look after themselves more, they eat better than they did 40, 50 years ago, without a doubt in my mind.

Q. Some people suggest that's why Tiger is most likely going to break Jack's record of 18 majors; that he will be able to sustain physically longer.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I think he'll improve his longevity. And I think you've just got to look at Gary Player. The guy is 70 years old and he's still competing on the Senior Tour. He definitely puts that down to the amount of time he's put in the gym. I think it's become, for a lot of guys, it's become a hobby. You've got a lot of time on your hands; you might as well go to the gym and get in good shape.

Definitely, you know, there's so much money to be made in the game, not just on the regular tour, but on the Senior Tour, that if you can keep your body in shape until the age of 60, you know, then you can really kick back and relax.

Q. You're always talking about getting into the Top 50 and staying there and establishing yourself even higher, this week is an ideal chance, as defending champion does that put extra pressure on you do you think? How easy is it to forget?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I think I don't think it puts too much extra pressure on. You know, for me, I enjoy the feeling because it's nice going to a tournament that you know you've won, and so, you know, I haven't had that opportunity all that often in my professional career. I've only won eight or nine events as a professional. It's something that I enjoy. I really enjoy going back to the South African Open as defending champion.

So I'm looking forward to the week. Like you said, it's a very strong field. We always do get one at this event, and the course is in absolutely incredible condition. It's really going to be a good one. I just hope the weather plays along with us.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Trevor, thanks very much.

End of FastScripts.

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