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May 26, 2004

Trevor Immelman


SCOTT CROCKETT: Trevor, many thanks for coming in. First of all, welcome to the Volvo PGA and congratulations on last week. Fantastic win and a great way to achieve the win but perhaps you can reflect on that for a few moments.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Thanks. First of all it's fantastic to be here. Thoroughly enjoy Wentworth and this tournament is always very well run. All of the players are looking forward to it.

Yeah, last week was obviously a fantastic week for me, obviously the biggest victory of my career. It really just was a great week, I enjoyed the course, the tournament is very well run. Obviously, I was very pleased with the way the week panned out, so hopefully I can build on that and use that experience going forward.

SCOTT CROCKETT: And of course, you came so close last year here, it would be a nice way to achieve the back to back by putting that to rest, as well.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, that would be I would probably retire if I were to do that. (Laughing).

Yeah, last year was close. As I've said to a few people already, I really enjoy the golf course. It seems to suit my eye and suit my game. I'm just very comfortable here. I have a place that we live in London and I can stay at home this week and a lot of familiar faces around. It kind of feels like playing at home. It's a lot of fun.

Q. It's very difficult to win in two successive weeks, sort of a build up and a letdown of emotions between the two tournaments; how do you deal with all of that?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, it's extremely difficult to win two weeks in a row. But, you know I'm really not thinking about that too much. You know, I'm just trying to focus on every day as it comes and every shot as it comes. There's an extremely strong field here this week and it's going to take some pretty incredible golf to win this tournament. I definitely don't think you can get ahead of yourself. You've really just got to try to go shot for shot and just hope that you are somewhere near the lead going into the final nine, and then, who knows what could happen.

Q. How close are you to what you want to be in terms of your golf game and your swing? I know you put in a lot of hard work with Claude; are you there or do you have a ways to go?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I don't know if I'll ever get there. But, yeah, my game feels pretty good. I feel like all departments of my game are working quite well at the moment, and you know in golf, it's just a case of just trying to keep the momentum going.

Obviously I have some confidence now after last week, and the game feels like it's on form. So, you've just got to try and keep the momentum going and just try to ride the wave. Obviously, golf just like anything, you know, runs in cycles, but you're going to have times when you're playing great and that's when you've really got to try and capitalize on that and times where you're struggling. Right now, I feel really good about it. I've just got to try and keep going and hopefully I can win a few while I feel confident.

Q. You won a few tournaments now, a multiple winner, how close in terms of your confidence do you feel as though you are to contending in the majors now?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I haven't had very much luck at all in the majors so far. I don't even think I've played ten majors yet. So, you know, I'm obviously still very young when it comes to that experience wise. But, you know, I don't really feel like I'm in the position to contend in a major yet.

I think if I somehow, if I played great for three days and I find myself with a chance to win, I definitely wouldn't feel out of place, if that makes any sense, but, you know, going into majors, I definitely don't feel like, you know, I'm somebody to watch at this point. But, as I said, you know, if by some lucky chance I find that I've got a chance with 18 or 9 holes to play, I definitely wouldn't be thinking, oh, man, how is this happening.

I think you've got to give me a couple of years when it comes to that for me to really feel like I can go into a major trying to win the thing.

Q. Vijay has just told us that he stuck a belly putter in Ernie's locker. You haven't done the same thing, have you?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: No. (Laughing) No.

Q. Have you talked to him this week?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I have. I mean, everybody's got their right to have their opinion on anything they want, and you know, that's his opinion on the belly putter. I don't think he thought that this would happen.

So, you know, what can you do? If that's the way he feels, then that's fine. I think there's a lot of guys who don't feel that way. But I think a lot needs to happen for long putters to get banned. I definitely couldn't see that in the future. Golf would take quite a big hit, I think.

Yeah, Ernie's fine. I've spoken to him. We've joked about it. You know, as long as I keep picking the ball up well, I couldn't really care to be honest.

Q. Is there something that you share in your background with Ernie that makes both of you love this course so much in terms of courses you played growing up?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, that's a good question. I don't know. But I don't think you'll find many players who don't enjoy this golf course. There's just something special about Wentworth. In a way, it's like Augusta National. There's just not you don't find many people that just don't come here and go, wow, this is incredible.

But, you know, Ernie grew up in Johannesburg and you play kind of a lot of parkland style courses. Yeah, I don't think there's anything down in South Africa that would really make us feel that comfortable as what we do here. Obviously, Ernie has a place here now and it's really home for him.

Q. And the first time you played the course, did you sort of immediately feel that your game was at home on the course?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, absolutely. I think also, when young golfers grow up, they watch so much so many Match Plays and all of the PGAs and stuff that you feel like you know the course before you've arrived here and I played the course for the first time in 1997, I played it, actually the week before I went to the British Amateur.

So, you know, I've played the course quite a few times, as well, and it's one of those courses, too, that the more you play it, the more you learn about it and the more you enjoy it. So, you know, it's going to be a good week, there's a lot of great players, and it's going to be exciting.

Q. You've emerged in the shadow of Ernie and Retief to some extent, has that been helpful to some extent, and where do you think you are in terms of eclipsing them at some stage?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I think it's been helpful from the point of, you know, here is two guys that grew up in South Africa and they grew up learning all their golf in South Africa and they have gone on to be the best players in the world, some of the best players in the world.

So, you know, I think that's nice, as a youngster growing up in South Africa, you kind of say to yourself, well, if they grew up in the same conditions I did and they went on to do that, that means I have a chance to do that, as well. So I think that was helpful.

I've got an extremely long way to go to eclipse what they have achieved in the game. You know, Ernie has won three majors and had a real close look in at a handful of others. He's been a Top 5 player in the world for almost a decade now.

I'm just trying to run my race. I'm only 24 years old, and I've got a long way to go and a lot to learn, and I'm in no hurry. I just want to keep plugging away and hopefully I'll be in their situation in 10 or 15 years.

Q. But is Ernie a benchmark in terms of where you could see yourself going potentially?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, that would be the goal. I mean, that would be the ultimate achievement for me, to win three majors is fantastic. I mean, it's definitely something I look to and I would try and emulate.

Q. One guy who doesn't go "wow" when he sees this course is Padraig Harrington; are you surprised not to see him here this week?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, very surprised. I'm not going to answer any questions on Padraig's behalf. I'm not 100% sure what his reasoning is for not being here, but I would have thought that this course would suit him. He's a great ball striker, good short game, and obviously one of the Top 10 players in the world.

So, it is quite interesting. I won't put my foot in it, but, yes, I would have thought that this course would suit him, but he obviously just doesn't feel comfortable here.

Q. You're talking about Ernie and Retief, but you're built more along the lines of Gary Player, to what extent, if any, has he had on your game?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I've known Gary for a long time. I met him for the first time when I was five, and we've kind of had some sort of relationship ever since then.

He's been a huge influence on not just golfers in South Africa but all sportsman. He's probably the greatest sportsman ever from South Africa, a great ambassador for the game. Definitely, I think all of us, Goose, guys like Dale Hayes, even going back to Mark McNulty, I would say, have looked up to Gary growing up.

Q. When was the moment you thought, hey, I'd better try one of these belly putters?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: It was actually watching Vijay in New Orleans when he shot 29 on the back nine and he kind of came from quite a few shots behind to all of a sudden win the tournament. He was just holing some incredible putts.

Like I've said to the guys last week, you know, it's not like I've got the yips or anything like that. I just have felt I mean, I've won five or six tournaments with a conventional putter, and I just felt like I wasn't holing enough putts.

So I was watching that on TV and I thought, hey, man, I might as well just give it a try. You never know exactly how things are going to work out unless you've tried it. So I just decided to give it a try and it felt good and for me. It was a bit of a technical thing because I've always had a forward press and then kind of held the blade through impact, and then the belly putter forces you to release through impact.

So it was a totally different feeling for me and something I would need to work on. But it just felt comfortable straightaway.

Q. Do some of the guys of your age give you a bit of schtick for using one, as an old man's club?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I definitely think that's how it's perceived. The guys didn't say too much, especially after last week. (Laughter.)

I think you'll find more and more nowadays, everybody is doing their own thing now. Nobody really pays too much attention to what's going on around them. We're playing for a lot of money and a lot of pride and a lot of World Ranking points, and you know, the guys, the guys are working hard. They are working out in the gym and they are coming to the course and they are getting their job done and going home. There's some banter, but it's not quite the way it used to be. So nobody really pays too much attention. They are too busy trying to sort their own games out.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Trevor, many thanks. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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