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March 26, 2006

Retief Goosen


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Retief, thanks for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at THE PLAYERS Championship. You gave it your best shot today, but Ames played awful well out there.

RETIEF GOOSEN: He did. It was pretty close at one stage, but, you know, he played awesome. He ran away with it now at the end. We all probably thought 9 under would be a good score to get to, and he's now at 14 under. Disappointing that it wasn't a little bit closer than that, but I had my chances. I messed up on 13 and 15. I could have got maybe made birdies there, could have been a different story, but I made bogeys there.

Yesterday I struggled, also, through that stretch of holes, so probably lost it a little bit in this event on those few holes.

Q. Retief, Tiger was saying that he didn't think the eight inch rough necessarily went with the firm, fast fairways and greens, that maybe that's not what Pete Dye had in mind when he created the place. Your thoughts on the setup and who this tournament identifies.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I feel that, you know, conditions this year at least was a little bit firmer than in the past. The greens definitely started showing their teeth today. They were getting very dry; especially 5 was just dead around the hole. They were completely different than any other day. They turned overnight like at Shinnecock last year. So they were running extremely quick at places.

Q. A little U.S. Open in this setup?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, definitely. I mean, the fairways were firm, which is good. But this golf course is a great setup. It shows you anybody can win around it if you play well this week. I prefer the course when it's playing hard and fast the way it's done the way it's been this week.

Q. How good is 14 under considering the wind and everything else out there?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, he played unbelievable. I got off to a good start, birdieing the first few holes, and was pretty much up there, one behind or something, and I thought if I get to 9 under, it's going to be a good score. He played these last few holes great. I got it to, I think, four behind, but then his eagle on 16 really put the cherry on the cake.

Q. You obviously want to put pressure on and be aggressive. Is there a point where you've thinking this guy is going to falter some, or is he going to?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, you know, those last few holes can be difficult. 14 is playing downwind today. I hit 2 iron, 8 iron. Then the next hole was driver, 9 iron.

Then obviously 16 if you hit a good tee shot with a 3 wood you can get on the green comfortably. It was tough getting to the flags. There was a few holes it was pretty much impossible to get close to the hole. He obviously felt very comfortable with his game today and read the greens perfect and just hit it on the right place on the greens.

Obviously 16 if you hit the right shot in there, it always ends up close, and that's what he did.

Q. Just wondering how well you know Stephen, and obviously this is a win that changes his life, the biggest win you've had some majors under your belt. How happy are you for him?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I know Stephen very well, quite a long time, probably ten years or so. We played over in Europe a little bit, as well. He's a good guy, hard worker at his game. It's a well deserved victory for him. He's showing signs this year of playing well, and it's all come together this week for him.

Q. You've had, to put it bluntly, a pretty poor track record on this course. What does this week say about the state of your game as we move forward? It's far and away the best you've played here I would say.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yes, I've worked hard on my game the last few weeks. I've hit a lot of balls, a lot more than I normally do and worked on a few things. It's turned out to work for me.

But I think the way the course played this week with the conditions, it suits my game a little bit more than soft conditions. I enjoy it when I hit the ball fairly high with a lot of spin, so the firmer the greens, the better for me. Hopefully we'll have a little bit of this at Augusta this year, as well, so I'm looking forward to that.

Q. Retief, at one point you were just two behind Ames. Did you ever realize you were just a couple shots back? Did you ever take a peek at the leaderboard?

RETIEF GOOSEN: There's leaderboards out there everywhere. I keep an eye on the leaderboard and know where I am, sort of give myself a feel for what I have to do.

I thought if I could get to 9 under I'd have a chance, but obviously he's running away with it.

Q. You know a bit about mental toughness and sports psychology having worked with Jos. The winner of this tournament here lost 9 & 8 at the Match Play. That could mentally maybe stay with a guy for a while. How impressive is it to come off the deck from that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I think Match Play is a completely different type of game. You know, you can play well and lose in match play. It can affect your mentality. If you play well, the other guy just played better than you. Tiger obviously made I don't know how many birdies on the front nine and he made nothing, so suddenly you lose 9 & 8.

I don't think that had any effect on him at all, mentally wise.

End of FastScripts.

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