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May 20, 2004

Trevor Immelman


GORDON SIMPSON: Trevor lovely playing today, 7 under par, leader in the clubhouse at the moment and you made an incredibly fast start, five birdies in the first six. What happened there?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I'm feeling good with my game for a little while now. I knew it was just a matter of putting it all together. And, you know, so I've been trying to stay patient. We got off to a great start. I holed about a 15 footer on the first hole for birdie and about a ten footer on the second. The momentum just kept going. I was hitting good iron shots and shot 6 under the front nine without making a birdie on the par 5s.

All in all, I was very happy. Then I didn't birdie the next two par 5s. On the back nine, mentally, I wasn't as sound as the front nine. I just felt like I wasn't seeing my targets as well. Mentally, I wasn't as smooth on my back nine as what I was on the front.

So, you know, started getting better there towards the end and made a nice birdie on the par 3. All in all, I'm very happy with the day.

Q. What were the signs that made you feel good over the past few weeks with the way you've been playing?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: I got off to a great start this year. I played great at Bay Hill. Played okay at The Match Play; ran into Tiger there. And TPC, I got a little back injury, so I had to withdraw, so that kind of slowed things down a little bit.

You know, at the Masters, I felt like I really played well tee to green but the putting and the short game, especially the putting, was just way off where it needs to be to be able to compete.

You know, the next week I played in the States again, and it was the same thing. I felt like I hit the ball approximately and missed the cut by one shot again at Hilton Head.

Then I came back to the British Masters and started messing around with the belly putter, being inspired by Vijay there at New Orleans, watching him play, holing all those putts down the stretch, so I thought I would just give it a try and it felt great.

So now, lucky enough, I've been able to sustain the tee to green and now roll in a few putts. I believe I was 11th at the British Masters and just kind of kept the momentum going.

Q. First time you used the belly putter?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: British Masters was the first time.

Q. Did it take a changing of an attitude? young people and most people associate belly putters with older players.

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yes, it's a very good question, definitely. I mean, most people perceive it I didn't have the yips. I just felt it was a technical thing for me. I've always kind of held the blade with the short one, and I felt like I needed to be able to release it better to become a more consistent putter. You know, with the bully putter, it's anchored in your stomach, so the thing has to swing like a pendulum, so it has to just release naturally.

Lee Westwood, when he saw me putting with one on the putting green, he said to me, �The first time you go out on the course with it, if you can get over that, then you'll be fine." I used it for the first time in the Pro Am there and it felt fine and I seemed to putt more consistently that week and I've just kind of kept going with it.

Q. Can you give us some comments from your friends since they saw you?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Actually they have been kind of easy on me so far. Nick Price gave me a couple great tips late last night on the Pro Am on the putting green. He said that he is he went out to one of the putting companies and was trying a couple of belly putters, so he has dabbled in it, as well, and gave me a few tips and that was great.

Sandy Lyle gave me a few tips. But so far, the guys have taken it easy on me. Honestly, as long as I keep rolling the ball the way I've been rolling with it, then I don't really care what they say.

Q. Can we have one of the tips?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, Pricey just told me that, you know, I need to keep my grip pressure nice and light and just feel like I release my right arm and my right hand. That's even more like what I was saying, just releasing the putter head, which is something I've never done. I said to him yesterday, it's kind of like I've learned to putt all from over again because it's something I've never done before in my career.

Q. First time you tried it on the putting green, can you recall how strange it felt and was it the very first putt you hit within ten feet of target?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Not at all, it was surprisingly good from the start. The thing I was concerned about was the speed on the long putts, but I actually found that to be quite easy, because the putter is so heavy with that built up grip, you just take it back far enough and the thing has got all the weight, so it just swings through for you. Right from the start, I could see, hey, this is something I could work with.

Q. Could you, do you think, use this as a practice and then go back and use this, whatever

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Absolutely. That's what Lee Westwood has done. He used it to win two tournaments late last year. He putted with a short one at Forest of Arden. I'm not sure what one he is using this week. A lot of guys do use it to practice with because it just teaches you the perfect release, really, if you want to put that way.

Q. Are you as high up the World Rankings as you expected to be at this stage of your career?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Can I answer that correctly? (Laughs) How am I going to say this coming across the right way I definitely believe I'm in the Top 50. I should be consistently in the Top 50. You know, 24 years old and I obviously have a lot to work. I've only in the last few years started playing the majors and the real big events where you really get to test yourself. But, yeah, I mean, you know, I believe that I should be in the Top 50 in the world and if I could just keep going, who knows where I could get to.

Q. Patience has been the key because you've had great weeks?

TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I have. I just feel like I'm consistent enough. I feel like my ball striking is always kind of there and thereabouts, if I can just get my short game more consistent that's the big thing you see when you go to the States, as well. The guys over there really chip and putt well and keep their round going and they take their opportunities.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you, Trevor. Well played, again.

End of FastScripts.

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