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July 30, 2015

Retief Goosen


AMANDA HERRINGTON: We'd like to welcome Retief Goosen, great bogey-free 63 to open the day. You played here twice before in the Presidents Cup so obviously a little familiarity. Talk about your round today and what was going right.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, yeah. Obviously I have a lot of good memories from the golf course in the past I played here but, today, yeah, I drove it okay. I hit a few bad drives on the par-5s but had a lot of birdie chances out there. I missed one green in regulation and got that up and down on 12 and, so, it was a solid round of golf. It was nice to get a good round in.

AMANDA HERRINGTON: Looking back at the Presidents Cups here many years ago, talk a little bit about the changes with the course and then your career since.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Some of the holes swapped around during the Presidents Cup, like No. 1 was 17 and 2 was 18. So, I remember those two holes particularly well, you know, for me beating -- winning my singles on the Sunday and 18 for us losing it on Sunday as a team. Overall the course is playing much longer than it played back then, you know, lot of new tees out there. The fairways aren't running so you need to bomb it out there on some of these par-4s to have sort of a middle iron into the green.

AMANDA HERRINGTON: We'll go ahead and take some questions. Gary?

Q. Just talk about the scoring conditions a little bit. The greens looked like they were pretty receptive and also playing lift, clean and place.
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah. The fairways are so good, really, I mean even playing lift, clean and place you struggle to find a place where you can get a better lie. Fairways are as -- the fairways are like greens. But the greens are obviously very fast and in great shape and they're not too spinny despite that. The ball is stopping where it lands. It makes it a lot easier to control, not having to worry about the ball spinning too much. The fairways, yeah, they aren't running, either. You know, you're not really hitting a lot of drives that run out on certain lines.

Q. Earlier this week Tiger was in here, talked about the wave of young players and he didn't really know them and he knew guys like you pretty well. Now we look at the leaderboard and you're up there at the top. Justin Leonard not far away. You guys harken back to what, 10 years ago, 20 years ago? What's your thoughts on that?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's nice to get the youngsters giving the older guys a bit of a chance or early start, should I say? It's a long way to go in this event. But, yeah, I think it's probably, you know, some of the older guys that played some Presidents Cups here and it probably have a little bit of good feeling for the place. We're only the morning wave. There's still a lot of golf to be played this afternoon. We'll see where we stand by the end of the day. I'm happy with the round after, off to a good start. I need to play well in these last few events to make sure I'm here next year and have a, job. But, overall, I'm happy with my start and hopefully tomorrow get into that same kind of rhythm and just hit good shots.

Q. Talking about, you know, the importance of the last month, two months, how -- is that something you're thinking about as you're going into a round?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah. I played pretty well at the British Open. Unfortunately struggled on the last day and sort of the last ten holes, shot 2-over or 3-over par on the last ten holes. That dropped me way back. Then last week in Canada I sort of felt like I was playing okay although nothing happened. Whenever I hit a good shot it was the wrong club and when I hit a good shot I missed the putt. It was nice today from the very first hole onwards hit a good drive, hit a good wedge into the green to about four feet and I made that and sort of from there on the momentum kept coming. It was nice. Yeah, I mean a good rhythm going down last, hit a good drive and had to hang around for an hour and a half to hit my 9-iron into the green, but had a chance for birdie on the last but just didn't quite read it correct.

Q. How did you feel about your putting overall because I think you missed a few?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I missed a couple of short ones out there, birdie chances. 2 and 5 -- no, 6 I missed probably a 4-footer. So I had my chances out there for a few more birdies but, you know, I made three 2s today on the par-3s. That's always a big plus.

Q. As you age, how does your attitude or approach toward golf change say from when you won the U.S. Open here in America to what it is today?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, you know, I'm lucky to be out here. Three, four years ago my career looked like it was at an end with my back problems. When I pulled out of the British Open in 2012 I was pretty much done. I couldn't walk, never mind hit the ball. Yeah, the back surgery has really turned my life around in general, not necessarily golf. But to be without any back pain and feeling great, you know, not having all that pain and hitting a shot out there is a plus. So, I'm not going to complain and say I should be playing great now but I'm just glad I'm still out there and playing. Yeah, I just wish I was ten years younger again.

Q. You probably addressed this. I saw you interviewed at the British Open. You said something along the lines of, "I'm not sure I'll ever get it back, I'm not sure I'll ever get my game back to where I want it to be."
RETIEF GOOSEN: It's been such a long time since I played -- when is the last time I won out here, six years ago? Yeah. You know, I haven't been playing great, you know. The last year or so there's been signs of some good rounds but that consistency isn't quite there. I'm not driving it great enough and the nerves are probably not handling it so well anymore. But you know, today, you know, gives me a lot of confidence that I can still play out there and this golf course, you can get away with a little bit of a bad drive here and there, the rough is not too punishing this week. It's a good week this week to hopefully turn it around.

Q. I'm sorry if you were already asked this but do you have any good memories here from the Presidents Cups that you played?
RETIEF GOOSEN: I answered that. You missed that. Lot of great memories, yeah. Good and bad. I had a great 2005 here. We ended up losing and lost on the 18th hole on Sunday. It was painful but it was good week.

Q. Can you just talk about how long was the process coming back from the back surgery? Since Tiger has gone through something similar, how long was it before you really felt normal playing golf?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah. Tiger's surgery is nothing to what I've had. He had microscopic surgery. I had major surgery. It took me probably a good eight months to recover fully from it, if not longer. I would say a good year I felt like I can go after it now and hit it without any issues and, yeah, it's been pretty much two years that I've been totally pain-free without any issues which is, you know, even if I didn't play golf anymore, it's still a plus.

Q. Were you out long enough to have a Plan B to think about what you might do if you weren't going to play golf again?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah. That did go through my mind when I was in surgery or just before surgery, you know, I said, "I can't play golf anymore now. If surgery is not a success I still can't play but if it is I'm better off." Luckily it turned out to be great and here I am, you know, three years down the line still playing. Yeah, it gives you confidence now to play, continue to play well on the main Tour as long as you can and hopefully get out on the Seniors and play out there and win a few tournaments on the Seniors and then put my feet up and drink some wine.

Q. But you never arrived at a Plan B, business plan just in case?
RETIEF GOOSEN: No. You know, I mean -- I didn't really think about that, you know. Luckily I've had a great career. I'm pretty much safe even if I have to stop playing golf now. I didn't have any other plans besides just, you know, hanging around with the family and looking after the kids.

Q. How big is your wine business?
RETIEF GOOSEN: It's a very small operation. I've had it for ten years and it's not anything that I'm going to making a living from and -- but it's a passion. I enjoy wine and it's something I enjoy doing.

Q. Wonder if your strength or weaknesses have changed as you've gotten older? Do you still sort of -- have you had to kind of change your game at all since as long as you've been out here?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah. I probably need to drive it a little better. You know, I still have the length, I can still get it out there 300 yards but I need to find the fairways a bit more often. From the rough, it's a tough game. I would say when I was playing my best I was driving it good, hitting a lot of fairways and giving yourself that chance to get it close. From the rough you don't.

AMANDA HERRINGTON: Thank you so much for your time.

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