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2008 PGA Grand Slam of Golf Champions Clinic Transcript
The four players who make up golf's most exclusive foursome -- Masters champion Trevor Immelman, PGA and Open Champion Padraig Harrington, two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and former U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk -- shared their thoughts with the media during Monday's news conference after the 2008 PGA Grand Slam of Golf Champions Clinic held at Mid Ocean Club.
Q: Masters Champion Trevor Immelman. What has that experience been like?
Immelman: It's been crazy. I get around a tournament and I've got a little more fans coming up to me and wanting to shake my hand, say "Hi" and visit. So that's been fantastic. Every time I pick up the trophy or look at the jacket, I get shivers down my spine. It's a dream come true.
Q: And then there's Bermuda in October.
Immelman: I'd like to come back here every year, but I better start practicing.
Q: Trevor, your first experience at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Talk a little bit about that.
|Jim Furyk Profile|
|Retief Goosen Profile|
|Padraig Harrington Profile|
|Trevor Immelman Profile|
|Tour Mid Ocean Club|
|20 Questions: The Players|
|20 Questions: The Caddies|
Immelman: I'm so excited to be here. Obviously, it's a dream come true for me to win a major championship and obviously, this is one of the great perks that comes with it. It's a nice vacation week and I'm kind of looking forward to it.
Q: When you won the Masters, you realized there's a lot that goes with it. When did this entity enter the thought frame?
Immelman: I kind of knew about it straight away. I've watched this event on TV a bunch of times and been well aware of its history. I kind of knew straight away. It's one of those things where after you win a major; it's one of those extra things you really look forward to.
Q: Are you familiar with the course? What's it going to take to be successful out here?
Immelman: I drove around a little bit yesterday. It's going to be breezy and the course is real tight with a lot of elevation changes. You're going to have to be really accurate with your long game. How sharp the four of us are coming into this, I'm not too sure. You've got to be pretty accurate out here.
Q: Talk about your game since the Masters. Take me through your season since the Masters and what you've been working on.
Immelman: It's been really a bit of an up-and-down season. I've had some great tournaments where I've played some really great golf and I've had times where I've struggled. It's been an inconsistent season from that standpoint.
Normally, I'm a little more consistent. But I've addressed some of those issues in my long game that I thought could help with that and the last couple of weeks, I've finished off strong, with a couple of nice finishes in the (FedEx Cup) playoffs. I'm hoping to build on that and start off strong next year.
Q: You had a decent FedEx Cup finish (16th). You can take that with you.
Immelman: I had some moments where I showed some real nice form, so the goal for me next year is to carry that into a few more tournaments.
Q: Coming into this event, what's going on for the rest of the season?
Immelman: It gets busy for me. I play this event, then take a couple weeks off, then play one in China. Then, I go to Japan, then a couple weeks in South Africa. So, I've got four more after this.
Q: Talk about the other players in the field.
Immelman: For me, it's like pinch-myself stuff. These are the guys I grew up watching, especially a guy like Goose, being another South African. Watching him contend in majors and win those U.S. Opens. The first one he won, I didn't even play; I had just turned pro. I was there in Shinnecock to watch him win. It's just awesome for me. I'm 28 years old and I feel like I'm just getting started.
Q: Talk about the 15 months you have had and the look on your face after you've hit some of the best long shots in recent memory. How much fun were you having at the Open Championship and at Detroit for the PGA?
Harrington: I think they were two distinctive wins. At the Open Championship, I played within myself. I hit all the shots that I needed to hit to win the tournament. At the PGA, in some ways, I stole the event and to be honest with you, that's more exciting, that's more fun when you do it like that. I had an opportunity and I took it. There's nothing like it in golf when you get the opportunity to hole a couple of putts down the stretch and you actually take it. So there were two different ways to win. I tell people the PGA was probably more exciting than the Open, but the Open was more satisfying.
Q: I understand that Ireland is the best celebrating country in the world.
Harrington: They're still celebrating from the Open in 2007, so I've managed to extend it a bit.
Q: Padraig, a phenomenal season. Is this your last event this year?
Harrington: I've still got the European Tour to finalize. Our tour championship is in two weeks time. I still have a chance to win the Order of Merit, so that's very strong in my mind right now.
Q: Are you getting back into form after the Ryder Cup?
Harrington: I've gone into practice mode for next year. My mind is on different things. I'm thinking about next year and I'm working on my swing, so that always leaves a little bit of a lull in what you're doing. Work has to be done in your game at some stage, so you've got to take a chance at this time of the year that even though you're making some changes, you might perform OK. It's not the most reliable way of playing.
Q: You had a real close call here last year, losing in a playoff. Talk about your feelings in coming back here and what it takes to win here.
Harrington: It's a very treacherous golf course. I think that's the best way to describe it. It's a golf course you have to stay very patient on. There's only four of you in there, so there's ebbs and flows. As long as you keep your name in the hat, you're going to have a chance going into the last couple of holes on Wednesday. Keep yourself in there and wait for your chances and hopefully hole some putts at the right time.
Q: What's it like to come down here for you?
Harrington: Well, I brought my wife down here this time. We're having a bit of a holiday. It's such a nice place to come. The attraction is to have a bit of a holiday here this year. It's nice at this time of the year. It's been a long season and my goals have moved on at this stage. It's nice to come to a place as nice as Bermuda, where the golf is relaxed.
Q: Is the Order of Merit number one on your goals right now?
Harrington: You know, it is, but if it was, I wouldn't be changing my swing right now. I'm working on my swing, so I'm obviously sidetracked at the moment.
Q: You're working on your swing despite the fact you won two majors?
Harrington: We're always working on our swing. We're always doing things like that. I've got six months to get ready for the next major. If you're going to tinker with your golf swing, you've got to wait for the off-season. The off-season's got so short, you have to do it at the end of the in-season.
Q: What does this event mean to you to play in it again?
Harrington: It's a great sign to be here every year. It's a place you want to be. It's a fun event. We're competitive when we're out here, but it's nice and relaxed to come out here and play golf.
Q: Talk a little about coming back to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. It's been four years since you've been at the toughest tournament in the world to qualify for.
Goosen: It's a bit of a surprise, really. I never expected to be here not winning a major. It's nice being here, but it's not as nice being here having won a major. But I'm looking forward to the next couple of days of tough competition and we'll see what we can do.
Q: Are you familiar with the course at all?
Goosen: This is my first time in Bermuda. I've loved it so far. I'm looking forward to a couple of days playing here.
Q: Talk a little about your season, the highs, and the lows. What do you think you got out of the season that you can bring into this event?
Goosen: Nothing, really. There's nothing to bring in. It's been low. It's not been a great season, really, performance-wise. I had one good event: WGC-Doral, where I had a chance to win. Otherwise, it's been a miserable year. Hopefully, we can turn it around next year.
Q: You've managed to put a dent in both the European Tour Order of Merit and the PGA TOUR money list. How did you do that with such a "miserable" season?
Goosen: The thing is, it's been a couple of good events and a lot of bad events. There's been a lack of consistency. One week, you drive it well, the next week, you don't. My putting also hasn't been as good as it should be. If you putt well and putt consistent throughout the year, you can score.
Q: What have you heard about the course?
Goosen: My caddie Colin (Byrne) has walked the course and he said there are a few tricky holes, a few tricky dogleg holes. Shaping the golf ball is going to be important and obviously, it looks like it's going to be windy the next couple of days, so it's going to be a really tricky course. The greens are quick.
Q: Talk about the players you're up against here at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
Goosen: Well, Padraig has had a great year, a great last few years. Jim's always solid, always up there every week. Trevor has been a great up-and-coming golfer in South Africa who obviously had a breakthrough win at the Masters this year, but he's been a solid player for a number of years now.
Q: This is your third appearance here. To put that in perspective, there are only three players who have made more appearances in this event than you, including that gentleman right there (Furyk).
Goosen: He's had a lot of appearances here, which shows you how consistent he is having only won one major. If you can play consistent in tough events, you've got a chance to be here, but you'd really like to win one and qualify the right way.
Q: What is it about your game that has held you back? Was there one element you're trying to shore up?
Goosen: I think my putting needs to get back to where it used to be. When anybody's winning, they're making putts and I'm not doing that.
Q: You actually have more appearances than all but two players (Tiger Woods and Greg Norman). What's it like to be back?
Furyk: I guess I got a lot out of winning one major. I wish it were being back for winning more major championships. It's fun to be here. I played pretty well in a couple of the majors this year. I had some opportunities. I approached it a little different this year. I haven't played since the TOUR Championship; I don't plan on playing for another two months. I came here this year with my family, to relax. Last year, I kind of rushed in from Korea; I didn't get here until Monday night and didn't tee it up until Tuesday and Wednesday. This week, I got here Friday. I've been enjoying the beach, the pool, the bar. I really just hung out and had a good time. I didn't really make golf the focal point. Now, I'll get busy and try to play some good golf.
Q: Are you shutting it down after this?
Furyk: I'm shutting it down until Target (Chevron World Challenge) the third week in December.
Q: Talk about your season, a remarkably consistent one. No wins, but from a consistency standpoint, it's hard to complain about all the top 10s and the fact you seemed to be in the hunt every week.
Furyk: I had 2-3 real good opportunities to win. Doral, I lost by one. I had a lot of opportunities to win that event and I didn't. I think it was a good, solid year, it was consistent. I wouldn't put it in my top five years, but I think being on the team that won the Ryder Cup; it's been six years since we had the Cup in the U.S. and nine years since we won the Cup, made up for a lot of things. To be honest, I was disappointed in the year because I hadn't won, but that definitely helped things a lot, put it that way. I felt a lot better about the year after the Ryder Cup.
Q: When did the Ryder Cup sink in with you? When did it finally sink in that the Cup is back here and I played an integral part in that?
Furyk: I'd say about 10 minutes after I finished the hole on 17 (when he closed out Miguel Angel Jimenez). I've played in a bunch of them; this is my sixth appearance and I've had one win and four losses, so it didn't take long. I think looking back, how well Kentucky supported us, standing up on that balcony and looking in the faces of the European players and how it always looks like we weren't having any fun and looking in the faces of the European players at the closing ceremonies, you could tell they weren't having any fun. I remembered that feeling, so it didn't take long to sink in and realize what we accomplished. I like the fashion in which we'd done it. At Brookline, we came back from nowhere. We had two close ones we lost and two we got blown out in. This one - I'm not saying we dominated the matches, but we did it in convincing fashion. It was a good, solid week for it and I like the fact it was in nice, convincing fashion rather than squeaking by.
Q: Talk a little about this event and this course. You were able to play here last year, so you got a feel for what the Mid Ocean Club offers. What does it takes to be successful out here?
Furyk: Obviously, the wind's going to be a factor. The greens here are going to be a factor. There's a lot of slope on them and it's tough to keep the ball below the pin. In order to attack the pins, you have to keep the ball on the fairway, which on some holes isn't a huge deal but on some hole - like 10 - it's sometimes almost impossible to hit the fairway. Putting the ball on the fairways is key here, otherwise you won't be able to attack any of these pins from the rough. It's not an overly long golf course, so for me, it's putting the ball on the fairway and giving myself a short iron chance to put the ball on the green. If you're hitting the ball in the rough, then you're looking at a chance to shoot even par here.
Q: The rest of the field, obviously a lot of talent to contend with. Talk about those guys and what they bring to the table.
Furyk: All guys that I respect. Paddy's obviously been the hottest golfer in the world the last two years, winning three major championships. Retief is as solid as they get. He never looks upset, never looks bothered. Trevor's come on strong the last three years. Over the last three years, he's really made a splash in the world of golf. I'm happy for him; he's a hard worker and I'm happy for how well he's played. He's starting to reap all the benefits of all that hard work.