home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 11, 2020

Retief Goosen

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Retief Goosen to THE PLAYERS Championship. We're glad to have you here this year, and the reason you are here is because you got an exemption through winning the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. Can you take us back to last July and that first win on Champions Tour and just that emotion that day and it bringing you here today.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, last year was actually quite exciting. A lot went on, and a couple of weeks or so before the Champions Tour PLAYERS Championship, I lost in a playoff to Jerry Kelly, so it was nice to come back and win the SENIOR PLAYERS and all the great things that come with it. Obviously it's very exciting being here this week and also getting into the Hawaii event on the Champions Tour for the next five years, so it was a very exciting year for me last year and it's nice to be here at THE PLAYERS again and see some of the younger faces again, and I feel like a really old man now this week, I've got to say, but very excited about the week.

THE MODERATOR: And this is your 18th start here at THE PLAYERS Championship. What are you looking forward to about this golf course this week? You've had a runner-up finish here before, so just thoughts going into this tournament.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, the thing about this golf course, you're on the edge all the time. It's a bit like a U.S. Open; every hole now has got some danger to it. The first few years there was a few holes that you sort of felt was all birdie holes but now there's so much water and new bunkers and narrow fairways and longer tee shots, and this is obviously the first time I'm playing the course, too, since they changed the 12th hole, so that's a whole new hole for me to have to sort of get used to and see how it's going to go this week. But the golf course is in really great condition this week and it's going to -- by the end of this weekend the greens are going to be really firm. I can see that coming.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.

Q. Tyrell Hatton won at Bay Hill and said that he -- it might be Wednesday before he was feeling okay again after the celebration. I was wondering what, in all your victories, what's been your most memorable celebration on Sunday night? Or Monday if the tournament finished that day.
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's been a few. As you get older, the celebration carries on a little longer. On the Champions Tour it takes about two weeks to get over it, but probably my most memorable one was winning the U.S. Open in 2001. Obviously went on a day longer, but after winning that, flying into New York to catch a British Airways flight back to London that evening was quite weird. I just won the U.S. Open and I'm sitting there and in the plane all by myself having a glass of champagne, toasting with myself. But the great thing is the pilot came on and said, oh we got so-and-so on the plane, congratulations on winning the U.S. Open, so that was pretty special.

Q. I hope he said your name.

Q. Did the pilot get your name right?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, he got my name right. He was obviously a good golfer.

Q. You've had some you've had a few good tournaments here. The last time in 2016 you played pretty well and then you were the runner-up to Steve when it was in March the year before it moved to May. When you've played well here, what's worked for you and do you have a preference as to whether the tournament is in March or May?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I think March it plays tougher. I think the conditions can make it more difficult. You can get more of that north wind, which makes this course a lot tougher, I think. But they can firm up the greens and the course a lot more this time of the year. Although I played yesterday and the course was -- the fairways were picking up mud balls in the fairways, so it will be quite interesting to see how much they're going to start drying it out now. The greens were soft, too, yesterday. But with the equipment they've got here to dry out this golf course now, it can change overnight. I think it looks like this week we're going to be lucky with the weather; it's going to be nice and not really too much wind, so probably expect scoring to be fairly good.

Q. When you played well here before, what did you do well?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, a bit of experience helps, knowing the course a little bit. Some of the greens have changed quite a bit now, so some of the breaks have changed. But a golf course like this you have to do everything well. I would say you have to drive the ball well. If you can drive it down the fairway pretty long and stay out of this rough, you got a good chance of getting it fairly close to the flags. But like any golf tournament, all parts of your game has to be good if you want to win here.

Q. Can you give us a full assessment of your game, and what did you hit into 17 yesterday when you nearly holed that tee shot?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, yesterday was just I - it played, I think, 143 yards. I think that's almost about as long as that hole can play. I hit a pitching wedge and it was playing a little bit down off the right. That hole I've hit 7-iron before. It can change very quickly once you get that north wind going, but it looks like this week we're going to have it sort of out of the south, which is going to make that hole friendlier, should I say, than what it can play.

Q. How is your game right now?
RETIEF GOOSEN: My game's okay. I haven't played well the last couple of weeks, but I've been working on a few things. Towards the end of last week I started hitting the ball a little better, so my driving wasn't particularly good, so this week you need to drive it well, so I've been working pretty hard on my driving in the last couple of days and I'm going to go out on the course now and play the back nine with Branden Grace and just try and find a good comfortable rhythm to take into tomorrow.

Q. You look at stories like Fred Funk winning here at age 48 and Jim Furyk runner-up last year, that kind of track record where guys of all ages have won give you some confidence that you can contend here this week?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Oh definitely, yeah. It's still a golf course, it doesn't matter what age you are, but obviously it's easier hitting a 9-iron in than a 6-iron, but it shows you this golf course, if you play well, any guy can do well here. I mean, Jim played unbelievable and Freddie Funk winning here when he was 48, yeah, you know, I would like to play well and see what happens by the end of the week and hopefully have a bit of a chance to take a run at it.

Q. And then just kind of players in the world, I guess, might be on the PGA TOUR, might not be, but how many players would you say there are in the world that have the talent to win on the PGA TOUR, and what kind of separates those who do from those who don't?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, there's -- you know, even the last guy in the field now these days has a chance to win. Every guy that's pretty much on the PGA TOUR has won somewhere or has come close to winning. So the game has changed a lot, let's say, to 20, 25 years ago when it was only a handful of guys that seemed to win every week. But now you got a hundred guys in this field that's got a chance to win.

Q. Reaction to Ernie winning on Sunday night out in Newport Beach, and I assume not much of a surprise on your end that he won so quickly.
RETIEF GOOSEN: No, Ernie told me last year he was really looking forward to getting out there and playing with us, and the year started off great in Hawaii where he lost in a playoff and I think, yeah, he brought a bit of confidence and that sort of juices back that you can still play well under pressure and, yeah, last week I saw in the beginning of the week he was hemming and hawing about the greens, but it turned out pretty good for him, and his ball striking must have been really good that last week. It's great to see him win and it's great for the Champions Tour, and he's committed to be out there and support the Champions Tour and very exciting to have him there, and there's a few other guys coming up that's going to be 50 soon that it's going to be their first years out there that hopefully they will come and play.

Q. There's been a lot of attention on the youth movement on the PGA TOUR, Matt Wolff, Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa. Can you compare and contrast what it's like to be a rookie out here getting your feet wet with what you went through last year just being a rookie on the PGA TOUR Champions and then looking at the success Ernie has had and then Jim Furyk, Mike Weir, K.J. Choi getting ready to turn 50 and what they might go through.
RETIEF GOOSEN: Winning any golf tournament is nervy. Lucky for the Champions Tour guys who have won a few and we sort of know that it can be done. For the youngsters coming out now and getting thrown straight into these big events and having the chance to win, I'm sure they must be pretty nervous, but the guys have now trained -- 21-year-olds are now sort of 30-year-olds, their mindset and the college golf or where they might have played a little bit before is really has really grown them into champions very early on.

Q. You touched on at the beginning that this course can be like a U.S. Open course and the dangers and the perils. Given that, are you surprised that you didn't contend more out here?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I never really, as you say, did well-well here for years and years. I mean there was years that I played okay but just not put four rounds together. It's that kind of course; if you don't play well for four days, you're out.

I just didn't play well enough, simple as that. Or somebody else played better than me. But I enjoy the course. It's a tough test and I like tough tests. The tougher it is, the better.

THE MODERATOR: If there's no further questions we'll let you go. Thanks for joining us. Good luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297