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August 5, 2008

Trevor Immelman


KELLY ELBIN: Ladies and gentlemen, 2008 Masters Champion Trevor Immelman, joining us here at the 90th PGA Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club. This will be Trevor's sixth appearance in the PGA Championship. His best finish was last year at Southern Hills, with a tie for sixth place.
Trevor, welcome to Oakland Hills, initial impressions on the golf course, not having seen it before you got here?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, the golf course is as difficult as everybody described. I thought it was in incredible shape today when I went out there. The rough seems pretty dense, pretty thick. So you need to try and stay out of that as much as you can.
But I think it was enjoyable to play. The golf course is right in front of you, you just got to hit good quality shots all day long.
KELLY ELBIN: General thoughts on the status, state of your game coming in?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: My game is kind of coming and going right now. I've been working on trying to get it a bit more consistent, but last week was kind of like a typical week for me at this point, two really good rounds. I thought I had something going and then kind of a so-so round on Sunday.
So yeah, I need to try and find a bit more consistency I think for me to really feel like I can compete when the gun goes off.

Q. As a group rate these four par 3 holes here. They got two monsters, and then a couple of other ones that are still on the longer side. Have you played, as a whole, four that have been tougher anywhere along your travels?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: The Open Championship was pretty tough. Not so much from length, but just because of the amount of cross-winds. You really had to be able to curve the ball to keep to know the green.
But, yeah, I mean these are tough. You've got two real long ones. The 9th hole is kind of like a short par-4, really. I hit a 3 wood in there today.
And then on the back nine, you've got 17 that was a 5-wood today. And then the other two are kind of medium irons, sort of 6-irons. So, yeah, you've got two real long ones there.
The interesting thing about this golf course is the greens are pretty severe. A lot of slopes, big slopes and big humps right in the middle of the greens.
So when you're using that much club going into a green, that can be quite tricky, because if you just get on the wrong side of that slope, it's no guaranteed 2-putt. So you could hit a pretty good shot with a 5-wood or 3-wood, and then still have your work cut out for you trying to 2-putt from 40 feet or so.
So you're going to have to be real accurate this week through the bag.

Q. When you were talking about trying to find your consistency, has it been disappointing this stretch after the Masters? Do you feel like it's been hard to, I don't know, just keep it going all year?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, it was hard for me to get it going to start, and then I won the Masters playing some great golf all week long.
After that, I lost my way a hill bit. Then I started feeling it coming together again before the U.S. Open. But never really translated into any good play at the U.S. Open. I made the cut, but finished way down the field there.
Then I went back and started working on a few more things. I felt pretty good about my game going into The Open Championship. But kind of lost a little bit of rhythm in those conditions out there. Ended up finishing 19th, so it was a decent week, but obviously not exactly what I'm looking for.
Then last week the first day I didn't play very well, then the second day I shot 64 and had a great round, the third day I shot 68. I felt like I was gaining on something but then came out Sunday and sort of fell away a little bit again. But that's been disappointing. I would love to get to a point where the feelings don't come and go so much.
So it's something I've been working on just trying to day-to-day have some more consistency. I guess that's what everybody's working on. So, we'll see how it goes. Hopefully it comes together come Thursday.

Q. Do you think the fact that this field is so tough gives the top of the field an disadvantage, or the bottom of the field an advantage?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: You mean because the golf course is so tough?

Q. Yes.
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, that's a good question. It's not supposed to be easy to win a Major Championship. I guess that's the best way to answer it. These tournaments are supposed to be the ultimate test, mentally and physically with the way your game is reacting. That way, you always get the best player that particular week.
So I don't necessarily think it's the way you described it. I think the guys who come out here this week and hit the ball really accurately off the tee are going to be the guys who come out on top at the end of the week. You're not going to be able to -- last week with the way the course was set up, and I thought it was very well set up last week at Firestone. Last week the course, the way it was set up, you could miss a fairway and still advance a ball on to or near the green, and then you could allow your short game to save you on many occasions.
Whereas, here this week, if you hit it in the rough, it's almost impossible to get the ball on to the green from the rough. So the guy who drives the ball the straightest here is definitely going to have a huge advantage. Now whether that be the best player or somebody who is ranked further down the World Rankings, who knows. But that's got to be the key around this golf course.

Q. You mentioned physically and mentally. Last year when you were up the road at the Buick Open, you were recovering from an illness, and then you've gone through another one this past year; are you tired at all, or would that have anything to do with the up-and-down?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I don't feel tired. I don't think that's a problem at all. I just think that I have some, being a left-handed person playing right-handed I have some tendencies that tend to work against me in my golf swing when I'm not playing well.
So at that point, I start fighting those tendencies. So it's just something that I have to deal with. And like I said earlier, every player has to deal with certain tendencies in his swing that work against him. So it's not like I'm in any different situation to any other player out there.
But I just think it's inconsistency. I don't think I'm going to try and read anything into it. I'm just going to go work harder at it and try and find something that sticks.

Q. Are you enjoying watching your friends Poulter and Rose beating each other's brains in for that 10-11 spot on the Ryder Cup list? They're separated by about the thickness of a paper and apparently text messaging each other back and forth.
TREVOR IMMELMAN: I wasn't even aware of that, to be honest. But I'm sure both of those guys are going to be great an additions to the Ryder Cup. So that's going to be fun. I'll be watching that from my couch.

Q. Utterly unrelated, the USGA and R&A announced today that grooves change that they have been looking at is going to be coming down the pike. We're still trying to figure out when it would go into effect. The reasoning being they feel like people are spinning the ball too much out of the rough, and the V-grooves will make you have to drive the ball in the fairway more often. Do you think that was a rule that needed changing, or are you in favor of it, in broadbrush strokes?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: I think they need to decide which way they want to go about running the game. I think you've either got to have the courses set up the way they are now, with extremely deep rough and 500 yard par-4s, which is the way they have it, which seems to be working fine. I mean, you know, nobody's blowing away these Major Championships shooting 15-, 20-under. So that seems to be a recipe that has worked over the last few years.
Or, you can change the grooves, but then they're going to have to scale the golf courses back, because you can't give guys no advantage with grooves. Because you got to understand one thing: As soon as we change the grooves, we're probably going to have to alter the ball we use, because if you're not getting as much spin, you're probably going to have to start using a softer golf ball.
In the last few years, we're using harder golf balls because the drivers allow us to launch the ball higher off the tee. So we need less spin, and we have had good grooves on our irons, so we have been able to launch the ball to create enough spin.
So we're going to have to go back and the manufacturers are going to have to go back to the drawing board. And I know Nike has been working on this since the USGA started sending the smoke up that they may be doing this. I had a look at a few prototypes where they have started working on some different groove variations.
And I like I was saying, as we change the grooves, we're going to have to start maybe looking at the way our golf ball is performing. And at that point the R&A and USGA may have to decide how they're going to set the golf courses up. Are we still going to have rough that is this deep (indicating). And like today out there, we have got guys the rough is pretty juicy here but you still got guys with these rakes out there making sure that it stands up this high. It's quite interesting.
But so I think that you're going to have to give and take. So that's where they're going to have to figure out how are they going to give and take. Because they can't just keep taking. Because at that point, you just are going to have players having just a lot of struggles out there with golf courses being too difficult. That's my opinion.

Q. I guess Ty Votaw is sort of spearheading a movement for getting golf's inclusion into the Olympics by 2016. What do you think about that? Do you think that they need it? Do you think that the players will be willing to support it at a very tough stretch of the year, and would you like to see like a team format or anything like that if they do go about doing it?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: I'm going to go totally probably against stream here. I don't think that golf should be an Olympic sport, at all. I don't think basketball should be an Olympic sport. I don't think tennis should be an Olympic sport.
I think if I was running the Olympics, now this is just simply if I was the guy running it, I would go back to the way it was originally: Gymnastics, weight lifting, swimming, track and field, marathons, that's to me what the Olympics is. The Olympics is not about tennis or golf or anything like that. In my opinion those are like in basketball, you've got three sports there that are like guys are getting paid a lot of money to play and compete week-in and week-out playing those sports, and it's just so professional. And to me that's not what the Olympics is about.
To me the Olympics was founded on amateur sports, guys go in there and training for four years and putting their whole lives on the line to win a gold medal.
So whether I get into trouble for saying this or not, who knows, but that's my opinion. I feel like if I was running, if I was head of the Olympic committee, I would go back to just those specific sports that I mentioned earlier. I think that would be pretty cool.
KELLY ELBIN: Reigning Masters Champion, Trevor Immelman. Thank you very much.

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