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January 14, 2009

Trevor Immelman


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Trevor is on limited time, so we'll go straight to questions.

Q. Starting the new campaign, how are you feeling about your prospects?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I'm excited. It's obviously fantastic for me to be back here in the Middle East. I have not played for a few years really here.
So I'm excited to be back. Obviously kicked it off last week in Hawaii. So it was a long trip here, but I'm excited about it, I really am. I'm hoping to put all last year's experiences, use all of those experiences to the good this season and hopefully have a good year.

Q. Can you talk about those experiences?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: You know, mentally and emotionally, obviously just the roller coast of the year, going through the surgery and then winning at Augusta and you know, coming to terms with all of that and learning how to deal with all of that. You know, I think I learned a lot about myself.
You know, so I think at this level, it becomes such a mental game, and you know, so hopefully all of last year's experiences made me tougher and made me realise some more things about myself, and just putting those -- I've been a pro for a decade now. So hopefully I can start using all of that stuff to my advantage and just become a smarter player and a better player and just keep climbing steps that way.

Q. Now that you made the breakthrough last season, at the start of a year like this, do you look upon the year --
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, that's a good question, I think, you know, the key for me is that I now know that when I play my best golf, it's good enough to win the biggest tournaments. So that is definitely a confidence boost for me.
You know, I think the goal, though, is for me to try to find a way to do it more regularly, because I seem to play that type of golf, maybe every year to 18 months, and I need to try and find a way to do it maybe three or four occasions a year, rather than just have it come every now and then.
So I think that's the goal for me is to try and become more consistent that way so that I can compete at that level more often.

Q. Are you finding that at the moment?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Not quite yet to be honest with you.
Since Augusta here and there, I've been in contention just a couple times, but nothing to -- other than that one tournament in Memphis where I lost in a playoff, nothing to really get the juices 100 per cent flowing. But I've tried to make a few adjustments. You know, we are all trying to improve week-in and week-out, and just turned 29, so I still feel like I have so much time on my side. I'm not in any rush in that sense. I still feel like my best golf is ahead of me, but I'm just trying to improve week-in and week-out so that I can get to that point.

Q. What becomes a successful year for you, at least one more major or do you set other targets?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: You know, it's interesting, because I think you've got to set a bunch of different goals for yourself. You've got to set some that are reachable, easily reachable and some that are kind of middle much the road and you have to set some that are way out there, because those are the things that are going to drive you day-in and day-out and when times are tough.
But you know, I think Tiger has spoilt everybody, and even Paddy has spoilt people in the last couple of years. It's not -- winning a major is a career-defining moment. It's not something that happens once a year to be honest with you.
To say that not winning a major this year would be a failure is, I think, a little bit drastic. You know, winning a major is such a big deal and such a small percentage of guys get to achieve that, you know, I think you've got to -- that's what we are all striving for.
But I don't think that you can really say that if I don't win a major, it's been a bad season. What Paddy has done in the last couple of years, and obviously what we are used to Tiger doing is just phenomenal. So you know, I've set a few goals for myself, and just work as hard as you can and hope for the best. That's all you can really do.

Q. What are those goals?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: You know, personal stuff. I'm not one to go out and -- you know, I try and let my clubs speak for themselves, rather than go out and make predictions. I feel like golf is too much of a fickle sport and too difficult to go out and stick injure neck on the line and make predictions. I'm not that kind of a guy. I would rather just keep that to myself.

Q. Your first time in Abu Dhabi; what do you think of the course so far, and what do you think of the city?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, up until this point, I've only seen the clubhouse and the driving range. Haven't seen the course yet. Obviously just arrived last night. But I'm looking forward to getting out there. I've obviously watched it on TV and, you know, seen what a great event it is from that sense. So I'm excited to be here and be here and competing. I'm looking forward to getting out there and seeing the course.

Q. How long did it take you to get here from Hawaii, and which route did you take?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: I left on Sunday night and I flew from Maui to San Francisco, and then we had quite a lengthy layover there and from San Francisco to London and London to here. So it was a long route.
But you know, that's the way golf is now. You know, we are fortunate that we have that. I'm lucky that I'm able to compete on both tours. So I'm not complaining. I'm here to do my best.
It was five hours, ten hours, seven hours. The problem was -- the real pain of the trip was the seven-hour layover in San Francisco. That was the worst part.
But I tell you what, it was my first time flying on Etihad Airways, and it was incredible, I must say. Best airline I've been on by a mile. So the last part of the trip was really cool.

Q. What's the time difference?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: I know it's nine hours to Orlando. So it's another five, so it's 14 hours between Hawaii and here.

Q. Near bedtime.
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I slept for seven hours last night, so I'm feeling fine at this point.

Q. When you talk about Paddy, what is the one thing about him that strikes you most?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, he's really, I believe, take taken his mental game to a whole new level. And he just seems to have that inner calmness and confidence about himself.
You know, I've played a lot with him recently, and he just seems to never panic and he seems to just, you know, be at peace with his game.
And you know, for me, he just seems to have such acceptance of whatever happens out there. You know, from that sense, he just plays with complete freedom, and that's why I believe he's taken his game to the next level.

Q. Has the mental thing been done by something with Rotella, or is it as a result of the success he's had?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, there's two ways of looking at it. I mean, he's obviously found a way to do what Rotella says week-in and week-out, which is -- I mean, it's very simple, but it's very difficult to do. You have to be extremely disciplined. And he's found a way to do that.
And so through doing that process the results have come. And so the more the results have come, I believe the more he's been able to just keep doing it, because he believes in it.
And it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. He's great for the game and you know, he's very approachable, so he's a great champion to have.

Q. What made you come here this year, you've not played here before.
TREVOR IMMELMAN: You know, unfortunately the only reason I skipped them is because since I joined the TOUR in America, I was trying to establish myself there, and you know, so this time of the year, I would normally be playing on the West Coast.
So at that point, it was impossible for me to play both tours and stay competitive. Obviously since I won the Masters, it's given me more opportunity to have long exemptions on both tours so that I can try and match the two up. So that's the reason why I'm able to do it now.
I always wanted to come and play. I've played in Dubai. I've played in Qatar. I've never been to this event. When the opportunity came up, I wanted -- even though I knew that I would have to come from Hawaii, I wanted to try and take advantage of it.

Q. Are you committed to either of the other two tournaments?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: No, I'm not. I'm going home on Sunday to the States, and I'm actually planning on taking some time off. I played HSBC, and then I played in Japan and then I played two events in South Africa, and then last week. So I really didn't have any off-time.
So I'm going to go home to Orlando and take a few weeks off and really kind of come back, having had some time off, and fully prepared for the rest of the season and prepared for the run-up to Augusta.

Q. When do you resurface?

Q. Were you at --
TREVOR IMMELMAN: We had an incredible time. I was actually hitting balls off Joe Lewis's boat onto a green that they had made on the beach, so it pretty cool. It was a lot of fun and got to meet some of the kids that were out there taking some golf lessons.
You know, that's the future of the game, and we are all trying to grow it. Everybody is trying to grow the game. So it was nice for me to be able to spend some time with the kids and somehow pass something positive onto them, and who knows, they might be the next Tiger Woods.

Q. Which do you imagine to be more difficult, Padraig went back to the Open to defend it but at a different course, Birkdale with no history. Is it harder to go to Augusta where you have a little bit of history?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, that's an interesting question. You know, there's obviously going to be -- it will be slightly different. Obviously what Paddy did has only been done a few times in the history of the sport, so it's quite incredible. But it will be different for me, as you say, going back to the same venue.
Because there will be a lot of memories and a lot of emotions, so I plan ongoing there a few times before the tournament, just trying to get over that, if possible, so that by the tournament comes around, I won't have any -- well, there's always going to be anxiousness, because you want to do so well. You put so much time and effort into it, and you want all that hard work to pay off. So there's always going to be nervousness and anxiousness. But I want to at least get over the fact that at least I've been there and I've remembered such and such a shot; do I remember holing this putt or this and that. So at least when the tournament kicks off, I can be focused on that event rather than worrying about the previous year's goings on.

End of FastScripts

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