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November 9, 2016

Retief Goosen

Sun City, South Africa

Q. How does it feel to be back here in Sun City?
RETIEF GOOSEN: It's obviously a great feeling being back here at Sun City. It's one of my favourite golf courses in the world. Nedbank has done an unbelievable job here over the years. Coming back here as a past champion is a great feeling. I wish I was in a little bit better form playing here. But you never know. You come back to somewhere where you like, you tend to find a bit of form.

Q. Do you have an appreciation of how things have changed down the years, and maybe how the tournament has grown?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I mean, this event, it's always been one of the best events in the world. Walking around, playing today, seeing what effort goes into this event, around 18, it feels like you're playing a major championship; there's stands everywhere. It's amazing what they have done with this event, and glad that it's part of such a big Race to Dubai Final Series now.

Q. We've often said it's Africa's major, so it really does tick that box.
RETIEF GOOSEN: Definitely, and the golf course this year is set up a bit like a major. The fairways are narrow. There's hardly any out there. And the rough is four inches deep. It's going to play really tough. And with this wind blowing at the moment, it's definitely going to be tricky.

Q. And yet, we have seen some ridiculously low scores around here. Can you see one of those?
RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I don't see it this year being low. The rough is up. If it stays breezy, it's very tricky around this course to judge the wind. So I don't see any ridiculously low scores this week. You know, somebody will tend to find a low round.

Q. Do you see yourself being inspired?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's an added bonus me being here this week. I was nowhere to be seen in any sort of ranking and when I got the call wanting to know if I wanted to come and play, definitely it's a big yes. Hopefully I'll find some form and play well this week, and have some fun with the crowd.

Q. How is your health, as well?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Very good, yeah. My back is as good as it's been ever. I wish I had done the surgery much earlier, but I can't complain. Being without pain is a major plus.

Q. How much does it mean to be part of the Nedbank Golf Challenge?
RETIEF GOOSEN: It's great. It's one of the best events in the world. They have really grown this event to a different level. The golf course is great. It's set up very well this year. Feels a bit like a major. The fairways are narrow, the rough is deep and very tricky around the greens. If the wind stays the way it is, it's going to play very tough.

Q. You know this event from back in the day to now being part of The Final Series and The Race to Dubai. How has it changed and what does it feel like this year for you?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, it still feels like one of the best events in the world for me. I enjoy coming here. It was always great being a 12-man field. You had some of the best players in the world you're playing against.

Now you play some of the best Europeans on The European Tour. There's 70 guys here that's in the hunt for The Race to Dubai trophy, and this event has now really taken The Race to Dubai also to another level.

Q. Expanding this event to that number of players brings a few guys in this year who haven't seen the course before. How much of an advantage is it having played here over many years and knowing the conditions?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, many years I've played here in different conditions, from shooting low to I think the year when I won, it was 6-under par was the winning score.

So in a way, I almost feel like the course is going to play like that here. The rough is deep. It's windy. Scoring is not going to be easy. We'll see. The guys sometimes find a way to shoot low. If you can drive it straight this week, you've got a good chance of playing well.

Q. How are you feeling about your game this week?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I won't say I'm coming here exactly in great form. I've played two events in the last three months and played like rubbish in those. At least I'm coming here well rested and hopefully find a bit of form. Actually in the last couple of events I've played, I felt like I played okay but my putting let me down. If I can get the putter going, who knows.

Q. Do you think maybe coming back to an event where you've had success in the past and that you know well and that you do have the local support behind you, something might click this week?
RETIEF GOOSEN: I hope so. Yeah, I hope so. I'm hoping that come Sunday, I'll have a chance and be up there trying to win this event again. It would be great.

For me, I'm cutting back a little bit on play. I'm definitely not going to be playing the 30-plus events I used to play. This year I only played 16 events. I think this is my 18th event for the season.

So the plan next year would be something similar. I'm trying to, there's an old saying, I've made my living and now I'm trying to make my life. I want to spend more time with Tracy and the kids and the family, and really enjoy other things in life that I've passed on over the years to play golf.

So yeah, golf is definitely not my No. 1 priority.

Q. How difficult is it to strike that balance?
RETIEF GOOSEN: It wasn't easy to get yourself to just sort of cut back, but I'm enjoying it in a way. The few events I've played, I've played pretty okay because it was nice to be back out there and you weren't fighting with yourself so much.

I've got 48 coming up, a couple of years, then I'm a senior, and then who knows. You know, take it easy the next few years and have a blast at the seniors.

Q. It must be nice, do you feel like that you're enjoying your golf a lot more because you sorted out your back?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I enjoy life. I enjoy life. Not necessarily golf; everything in life has been better since the back operation.

Being able to sleep again without pain and being able to do anything, just not having constant pain, is the big plus. I always said to my wife, you know, I don't care if I ever play golf again as long as I get rid of the back pain.

So now I'm rid of the back pain, so I suppose I have to take it easy. I also don't want to like overdo it like I used to do it and maybe injure me again or something. Trying to have a good balance.

Q. How do you invest the time you used to?
RETIEF GOOSEN: I do the things that I couldn't do, you know, being home with the kids, taking them to school, doing home schoolwork with them, all the things that I missed out over the years.

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