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April 30, 2008

Trevor Immelman


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Trevor, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Wachovia Championship. First of all, congratulations again on your Masters win. That was terrific. Now you're three weeks down the road at the Wachovia Championship where you've had a little bit of success here with two top finishes in the last two years. Just talk about coming back to a place where you're very comfortable and where your game is. I mean, obviously you're right there at the top of your game.
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, well, always excited to come back here to Quail Hollow. It's a fantastic facility. I see they've added to it here with a new structure behind the 18th green, which is real nice. It's always nice to come back here. The practice facilities are great, the golf course is second to none, and as usual it's in fantastic condition. So that's exciting.
The state of my game is not quite as good as it was at Augusta. I'm going to hit a few balls after this and hopefully iron a few things out. You know, obviously I've had quite a few things going on, and I think that my mind has probably just slipped from my game at this point, but it's something I'm addressing and something I'm hoping to fix as soon as possible.
You know, I'm excited about the week. We're supposed to get some great weather, and I always enjoy playing here.

Q. What did winning Augusta tell you about yourself in terms of mental toughness in hindsight now that you reflect back on it?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I think it was satisfying, you know, more than anything to know that you've put so much time in, and sometimes you wonder if you're ever going to get the opportunity to see if it was really worthwhile. I think that was the thing; it was satisfying to know that in that extreme pressure in really difficult conditions, you know, on the Sunday of the Masters, I managed to pull it through.
So I think more than anything, that gave me a boost to my confidence to where if I was in that situation again, I'd be able to say to myself, well, you've done this before; you know how to go ahead and get it done.

Q. Dealing with the aftermath of Augusta, I'm sure you imagined what it must be like. Was it more than you thought it would be or different or more draining than you expected?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I mean, I had no idea what to expect, and it was definitely more than what I expected. I've signed more items in the last two weeks than I probably had in my whole life before that. You know, I guess it just goes to show, if you win the Masters tournament, it's just so revered and there's so much history behind it and so much mystique to the place that I guess people really sit up and take notice.
You know, it's been fantastic. I've tried to do the right things at all times and tried to handle it in the correct manner, and hopefully I can continue to do so. But the most important priority is that I try and keep my game sharp.

Q. Have you been able to carve out time to watch Idol and do you have a favorite?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Has Wagner put you up to this?

Q. Yeah.
TREVOR IMMELMAN: That's nice. I'll get him back. I did watch Idol last night, yes. I've been a little disappointed with the results over the last couple weeks. Music is my biggest hobby, so it's something I'm interested in.

Q. With your win, with Adam winning last week, we had a nice run of 20-somethings winning out here on TOUR. Can you talk about the difficulty of winning out here and kind of the learning curve that's part of that process?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, it's extremely difficult to win out here, and I think with what Tiger does, people kind of take it for granted because he makes winning look so easy and he does it with such regularity that I think people kind of take for granted how tough it is to just win a tournament.
You know, I think with the younger players, too, I've always said that experience counts for so much, and there's only been a few guys that have come out here, turned pro and played well and won straight away. I mean, it's just not done that often. It's just too damned difficult. First of all, you've got to get to know the courses, you've got to get comfortable with everything that surrounds the tournament, you know, the week-in-and-week-out travel. There's just so many variables that you're just not used to.
You know, that's why I think at first when there was a crop of young guys when we were coming through, you know, the media really expected us to stand up and just start winning tournaments, and it just doesn't work like that. Experience counts for so much. And that's why I think you'll find now as we start reaching our late 20s, guys will start getting comfortable with their games and getting comfortable with their surroundings and playing -- being able to plan their schedules, and I think you'll start seeing guys in their late 20s now starting to win more regularly and contend more in the bigger tournaments.

Q. Is it hard to be patient in the process?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, it wasn't for me, because I never really expected to come out here and win every tournament. You know, I've always seemed to have just a gradual climb to my career, kind of climbing up the ladder slowly. I never really thought I would just come on and burst onto the scene. I knew that I would have to get out here and learn a few things and get to know the courses. First of all, for international players we've got to get used to living in another country. That's something we have to get used to, being away from family and friends all the time. You know, that's pretty much how it is.

Q. The question was raised with Phil about the impact of Tiger's absence on the TOUR. This is the first week since the Masters he would be playing if he were healthy. Do you see an impact out there, and how does the strength of the rest of this field do you think maybe mitigate his absence?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I think we're fortunate, first of all, this is such a great tournament that fans come out in bunches anyway, because like I said earlier, it's just a fantastic facility and they seem to get behind the event and get behind the sponsors. So that's great.
But without a doubt there's a huge void when he's not here. The guy is probably going to go down as the greatest player of all time, and the thing that I respect most about him is the way that he handles himself on and off the golf course and the fact that he understands the impact he has on people and the impact he has on the game, and he acts accordingly.
That's why people come out in droves to see him. So there's no doubt about it that there's a hole when he's not here.

Q. When would you think, looking down the road, assuming he is out any longer than we expect, when would you think you would see more of an impact than we're seeing here?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: You mean at which tournament?

Q. Which tournament or how long out?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: I don't know what his schedule was planning to be anyway, so that's tough for me to tell. Like I said earlier, there's a definite hole when he's not here. Obviously this tournament has such a great field with Vijay and Phil and Adam and Geoff; there's a lot of great players. But one Tiger Woods is worth a hell of a lot.

Q. You talked a little bit about finding your game after the Masters. Can you tell us about how the golfer is always pursuing the perfect swing?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: I guess all of us, maybe we need to smarten up and realize that it's not there (laughter). You're always chasing the holy grail. I guess that's what keeps us driven and that's what keeps us waking up in the morning and going to the range, going to the gym. You always just try to find a way to improve. That's the beauty of sport.
At the end of the day, you're competing against yourself, and you're competing against the goals that you've set up for yourself, and you're competing against your expectations. You know, that's it; that's what keeps you driven. You want to go out there and see if you can improve and see how you can handle those pressure-packed situations.

Q. It probably seems like a thousand years ago, but I was wondering, when you think back to that year you spent on the Challenge Tour, I think you said your carried your own bag for some of that. What were some of the places you played, and can you think of some of those far-flown places fondly now that you don't have to go back anymore, any particular funny stories about things that happened to you when you were playing abroad culturally or socially or food or whatever the case may be?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: We played in all sorts of different places that -- I don't know if I can't remember them or if I tried to erase them from my mind. You know, I think that was a huge part of my growing up because I turned professional at a young age, at 19, and I didn't get my card at Tour School and I had to figure out what I was going to do. Fortunately I got an invite to the first Challenge Tour event, which was the Kenyan Open. So I flew up to Kenya and I actually managed to win the tournament, which got me exempt on the Challenge Tour, and that really helped me a lot because that way I knew I was going to be in all the events for the rest of the season.
And then my goal was to try and get on the Top 15 because that was how I was going to get onto the main Tour. But yeah, those were long years. The things I remember the most is the fact that it was just so expensive to live in Europe. Really, I couldn't really afford to have a caddie because you're looking at your fights and accommodations going to about £500 a week, and that's without any of your food and stuff like that. You had to finish like in the Top 10 to make £1,000. So you had to finish basically in the Top 10 or 12 to cover your expenses. You know, those are tough times.
In many respects that's real pressure, you know, because you've got to keep yourself going out there. And obviously when Carmenita was traveling with me, that was an extra flight ticket. You know, those things make you tough; there's no doubt about it.

Q. How did you two meet?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: In high school.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Trevor, for joining us.

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