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November 17, 2004

Trevor Immelman


GORDON SIMPSON: It's 12 months since you and Rory won that magnificent trophy. Just give us your recollections of that week at Kiawah?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, it was terribly exciting for both of us. Rory played in the World Cup the year before, but it was my first one. We just hit it off right from the start and we both played well and ended up having a fantastic week. It was a lot of fun for both of us.

GORDON SIMPSON: It was a pretty tight finish in the end, wasn't it?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: We had a seven-shot lead after three days, and then the English guys, Justin and Paul, played really well on Sunday and got to within two or three shots at one point, which, you know when you have a seven-shot lead feels like you're behind. But we eventually won by four shots. It was fairly comfortable. Like I said it was just a fantastic feeling for both of us.

GORDON SIMPSON: I know you've won individual events, but how did this one compare to them?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, it was the first time that I had represented South Africa on a professional level, so, you know, it's always nice to represent your country. It's a special feeling. It's something you dream of when you grow up.

So especially coming from such a big sporting nation in South Africa. Yeah, it was fantastic.

Q. What sort of reaction did you get at home? Did people notice?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Absolutely, yeah. Without a doubt people notice. As you know, South Africa, people love being outdoors and love playing all sports and with, you know, our two greatest sportsmen are golfers right now, Ernie and Goose. They really know what's happening in the world of golf down there, so they did enjoy it.

Q. So you got invited to parties or chat shows or meet presidents or anything?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: No. Obviously there were different TV stuff and press things that we had to do, or that I had to do when I went down there. Rory didn't go down to South Africa because he lives in the States. I didn't get to meet the president.

Q. How difficult would it have been for you if you had to sit home this week and watch Ernie Els and Retief Goosen play for a title you won last year?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: That's a very good question. That definitely would have been a weird feeling. But I mean those are the rules and you've got to stick by them.

I think if Ernie and Goose had played, they would been very, very heavy favorites. Yeah, that would have been a weird feeling for us to actually be defending but not be here.

GORDON SIMPSON: Did you speak to the two of them about it?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: No, not necessarily, no. Ernie was kind of semi -- well, from what I know, Ernie was kind of semi-interested, and Retief's wife is very close to giving birth right now. So, you know, they kind of decided that they didn't want to do it together. So they thought they would give Rory and I another go at it.

Q. Do you think that had most to do with it?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I don't know to be honest. I didn't really speak to them about it at all. They just said they weren't going to play and that's why the two of us stepped in.

Q. Ernie spoke about that at the American Express. What he said was that he asked Retief if he would play, and when Retief said no he decided no, as well. I expect it's because he didn't want to break the two of you up; did you get that feeling?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: As I said I haven't spoken to the two of them about it, so that may be the case. So yeah I may need to write him a thank-you letter or something. (Laughter.)

Q. Who would you stay are the favorites this week? Are you the favorites as defending champions?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I think we've got a good chance. Our form is going to need to get a little better after the last two days if we're going to win, I would believe. But I think there's a few strong teams. The English guys look like a strong team, obviously the Spanish guys playing at home are going to be ready to go. Sweden has got a good team and obviously the Americans. Both of those guys have had good seasons and they are extremely experienced. So I would say there's probably five, six, seven, eight teams that have a good chance of winning this tournament.

Q. Your own season, how close have you come to achieving the goals you've set for yourself?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Fairly close. I mean, I won twice and obviously that's the main goal is to win tournaments. To win two was extremely satisfying.

You know, I only missed one cut on the European Tour all year, so I think that was pretty good. But for my liking, too many kind of 30th, 40th-place finishes, especially towards the end of the season in big tournaments like the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and the PGA, you know I was hanging around the Top-10 for quite a while and just didn't manage to finish those events off and have really good weeks, and turned all of those three majors into 30th, 40th place.

So that was a little disappointing for me. I would have just liked to have pushed on towards the end of the tournament. But obviously that's what I'm going to need to work on for next season to try to take my game to a new level and try and contend in those bigger tournaments.

Q. Is that mental?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I think it's a bit of both. I think it's inexperience and I think, yeah, I mean obviously a guy like me when I'm getting into that situation, it's not somewhere I've been before. So, obviously I'm a little nervous and I'm wanting to do well so badly, so it's just things that I'm going to have to work through as I mature in the game.

Q. If you could put in about ten or 12 words, or as few words as possible --

TREVOR IMMELMAN: That's difficult for me, but yeah.

Q. Well, I find it very difficult, but basically, what does it take to win this tournament in this format on the basis of what you guys achieved last year? What are the qualities you need?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I think just teamwork. And the second and fourth days when you play alternate-shot, I mean that's where you're going to separate the men from the boys. You can kind of hide in the best ball, you know, because I could go out and play terrible, but Rory could shoot 6- or 7-under and that's fine. But the second and fourth is where you both need to be playing half-decent. If you can keep it level-shot -- if you can do it alternate-shot, you're going to be in the hunt on Sunday.

Q. That's about 200 words.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: You can cut that down for me. (Laughing.)

Q. Where were you at 3 o'clock last Saturday?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I was watching us lose quite convincingly, thank you. But turned it around on Sunday.

Q. Did you think it was fair?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I think the Irish guys got on them they saw a gap and went for it, but I thought the referee should be a little smarter there. He tells our captain to go and have a word, and then he does so and the guy scores.

Q. Any tricks like that from McGinley and Harrington this week?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Possibly. That's another team I left out. Obviously played together in the Ryder Cup and they have a lot of experience and they have won this tournament before. So like I said, there's probably eight teams. Even the Danish team have good a good, solid team and could play well.

GORDON SIMPSON: Did you attend the World Cup in Erinvale in '96?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I was there as a spectator. Wayne and Ernie, they both played incredibly well.

Q. Is your schedule pretty much the same next year as this year?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: At this time I'm hoping to try to play a little more on the West Coast Swing. Obviously I'm going to defend the South African Open, and from there I think I'm going to try to play a bit more on the West Coast and then I'll head back over here when we get back to Europe.

Q. What is your strategy, had you and Rory played much foursomes before last year, alternate-shot?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, we had played a lot of foursomes but not foursomes together. So yeah, I mean, it's difficult because you struggle to get into a rhythm, but like I said last year, we just both felt very comfortable and we both played fairly well, so we kind of fed off each other. But this week it's going to be interesting because if you tee -- the guy who tees off first is going to have to hit the shots on all of the par 3s and three of the par 5s, tee-off. Which is quite interesting because normally it works its way out where you kind of share the par 3s. The only par 5 you would miss is 16 as the even numbers. So it's quite interesting. And the par 3s are tough here. They are all long and demand good iron shots.

GORDON SIMPSON: So have you made your decision?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Not yet, no. We're going to see how we go tomorrow.

Q. Maybe that's why he's hiding.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Possibly, yeah.

GORDON SIMPSON: Okay, thank you Trevor, very much.

End of FastScripts.

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