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June 20, 2004

Retief Goosen


MODERATOR: If I can have your attention, please, joining us now on the podium, the 2004 U.S. Open champion at 4-under par for the championship, Retief Goosen.

Q. Are you proud of what you accomplished on such a difficult course?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Very. It was tough, you know, it was actually quite painful once you're out there and playing, and the pressure. I knew it was probably going to be Ernie or Phil to beat. I got off to a good start on the first hole, which sort of settled me down a little bit in a way, not really, but a few holes I was glad to come away with pars, and I had a few good pars out there today.

Q. (Inaudible).

RETIEF GOOSEN: Definitely. Coming up the last -- when -- actually standing on the 17th tee when he made 5, there, and then I knew I had a short lead, and I missed it on the right side on 17, and I made a good up-and-down from there, but coming down the last, the key thing is hitting the fairway, and that's what I did. I played the whole week pretty aggressive. And I just hit a very short 9-iron into the middle of the green, which ran just over the green, but my main goal when I stood there was 2-putt this and get out of here and enjoy it.

Q. Any flashbacks from '01?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, obviously it was a little bit easier -- not easier, but easier coming up with two shots instead of one. And it was -- I really focused a lot on just getting down in two, and make my par, and let's go home.

Q. (Inaudible).

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, especially the back nine, he started making a very good run, I can't remember which ones he did, so I knew obviously I'm going to have to hang in there, he's the guy to beat. And I knew exactly what's going on in the front. And obviously I saw a few good pars coming in, which you need in a U.S. Open. And I made a good putt on 16 to get square to him.

Q. Have you ever seen the crowd behind one person like they were behind him?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I'm pretty used to it by now. I respect that he's a great player, and everybody would like him to win. Whenever I play out here, with Tiger so many times, he's the guy they're rooting for. And in a way I block it out and carry on with my own thing and play my own golf. And there was people out there supporting me as well today. But obviously everybody was behind Phil.

Q. At what point on the 17th tee, where was he on the hole, was he already in the bunker?

RETIEF GOOSEN: He was putting for par when I was on the tee.

Q. You knew that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, and I saw him miss that.

Q. (Inaudible).

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, Ernie, you know, he sort of left me alone. He wasn't trying to -- when I made I good putt he said great putt or great par. Obviously he got off to a bad start. And I really thought that Ernie was going to be the guy that I was going to have to watch out for today. But it turned out to be Phil.

Q. (Inaudible).

RETIEF GOOSEN: On 7 I've played the hole pretty well, the practice round, right in the middle of the green, and hit the green three out of four times. I had the right shot by hitting a slice up against the slope. It's been pretty much 7-iron there the whole week. And that's just what I try to do is slice it up in that right bank, there, and hope it stays. And lucky for me that hole there, a lot of players they lost a lot of shots this week and I walked away with four pars.

Q. (Inaudible).

RETIEF GOOSEN: Just before I teed off they were going with the average score was 78. And on the TV when I was having some lunch, so I knew I was in for a surprise. The greens got so brutally quick, even the putts were quick. So nothing was -- I don't think there was one slow putt out there. And it was so difficult to hit it so soft.

Q. (Inaudible).

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I know, it's tough. It's a tough grind, and all you're trying to do is stick to a good game plan, and try to stay away from big numbers.

Q. How much of it did you watch this morning?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Not much, probably a half an hour, while I was having lunch I was sort of -- they were showing a few players, and they were going on about No. 7, the guys were watering the green to try to somehow keep the ball on the green. And when we got there it didn't look like they watered the green, but the grass wasn't as dead as it was around the other holes.

Q. You were watching it back in your house early this morning?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I was actually watching movies this morning.

Q. What did you watch?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Alien 3 or whatever it was (laughter.) Ghost Busters. That's what I was sort of flicking through watching early this morning to try and pass time. I was awake pretty much at 7:30, 8:00 this morning. My son's been waking up every morning at 6:30, so I was playing with him until about 1:00, and then I was watching movies, and then I came out here about 1:00.

End of FastScripts.

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