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February 7, 2006

Retief Goosen


GORDON SIMPSON: We have Retief with us. Of course you made your first start of the year in Dubai, and not a bad performance, finishing sixth?.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, after a six-week break, it was nice to come back and have a decent tournament. I was a bit disappointed, really, on the last couple of rounds. I didn't play well. I played really well the first couple of rounds and then the last two rounds, sort of the holiday kicked in.

GORDON SIMPSON: Do you feel if you were sharper, you would have been right there at the end?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, definitely, I just hit it bad on the weekend. I couldn't hit it near the flag, and then you couldn't make the putts. I kept hitting 40 feet away, and then it's difficult to make putts.

GORDON SIMPSON: How do you feel in general coming into the year? You've had a nice break and a lot of big tournaments coming up?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, you know, first time in my life that I didn't for six weeks touch a club. For the first five weeks, the clubs were packed away in the cupboard, and then I played two round of golf before I came out.

The golf swing is on a holiday still. But at least the mind is refreshed, and that's what you need around a course is to be fresh on the thinking side. And I'm looking forward to getting back into it.

GORDON SIMPSON: Do you think it's more imperative than ever to take a break in the winter to be fresh for the big midsummer events?

RETIEF GOOSEN: That's right. I just couldn't get myself together to go to Hawaii. To fly all the way from South Africa, takes you about 36 hours to get there. You know. After I've just had a week-and-a-half break, to jump back on a plane, I just couldn't do it. I dropped three events there really because I normally play the first two in Hawaii and then maybe the Bob Hope or Phoenix. So I dropped those events and I just felt like I needed a good break.

Q. Are you looking forward to this week at The Vines?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Definitely, yes. Last time I played here, I didn't do all that well, but Cambo did. I hear the course changed a little bit, I'll be going out there this afternoon to have a look. But I'm looking forward to it. You know, I can't remember much of the course, and like we say, the whole course has changed quite a bit. Different frame of mind than last time I played here.

Q. Do you wish we were still at Karrinyup? You played great golf there?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I did, especially on the Saturday. What did I shoot, 62 or something, if I remember. That was, you know, 2002, 2003. Those years were really my best-ball striking years in the last five years, definitely. I hit the ball so good those two years, and then you can shoot those kind of scores if you get the putter going.

But the last couple of years, I've just not hit the ball as good as I know I can and it's just not been putting four good round together regularly, I've put together three good rounds and then one bad one in between.

Q. Youíve thrown in a second U.S. Open since then, though?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yes, I did, and I throw one away, as well. But yeah, on the major front, I've done well again. Last year I was up there pretty much all of them, I had a chance. And just like I say, that one bad round that costs you.

Q. With so many players taking a break, do you feel it's pretty much a case of everyone not being sure how they are going to play?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, a few of the guys have played quite a few events already. But for me, I know like last week, the feel is the main thing that goes when you have a long break. The golf swing still looks the same, but it doesn't feel the same. It takes a bit of time for that feel to come back.

Putting-wise, I'm feeling confident in my putting. I putted very well last week, but I just need to get it a bit closer to the flags from the fairways or get it on to the fairways from the tees and then give myself a better chance.

Q. We talked to Michael about the difficulties he has playing both Tours. Do you think the PGA Tour could be more flexible?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, they have their rules and they are trying to obviously somehow force the better players to play over there. We've had that issue that they have forced us to play 20 events, non-Europeans, like Adam, myself, Cambo and all those guys and Ernie. And we've made a bit of a fuss about it, so they changed it to 15 events. That made it a lot easier for us to travel now, play all over the world and there.

The reason I think Cambo, he didn't take up his membership and there's been these different rules that come in if you don't take up your membership, if you can only play a certain amount of events.

I don't know why he didn't take up his membership; he just didn't feel like it. I thought that would have been the first thing he would have done and done a similar schedule like me and Ernie do. We play 15 to 20 events in the States and then play your around-the-world few events and make up your 11, 12, 13 events on The European Tour.

Q. Is it especially difficult playing both Tours with a young family?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, traveling is obviously the worst part about this game, getting from place to place, especially like Cambo that lives over here in Sydney; although he's got a place in England. But he's going to base himself over here now mainly with the kids going to school and all that kind of stuff.

It's a difficult decision. And at the end of the day you have to put something in front of the game, and he put his family in front the game and made that his No. 1 priority.

Q. Inaudible?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I'm not exactly sure what the reasons are, why he can't. But I know he doesn't have his membership; if he took his membership on, he could play any event.

Q. Should they make an exception for the US Open champion?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, look, at the end of the day, it's Finchem's loss. It's not ... and Cambo's, as well, but it's Finchem's loss not allowing Cambo to make an exemption to play in more events, and everybody else to go with it. They would like to have the U.S. Open Champion play there, yeah.

Q. You have supported the Sunshine Tour in recent months. Are there some good youngsters coming through?

RETIEF GOOSEN: There's a lot of great players out there. You know, unfortunately, it's expensive to travel out for the South Africans; it's weak currency. It's difficult to go and travel just for six months abroad. It costs a lot of money, in Rand terms for the guys to travel. You go and play over there, you see so many guys that can play well, but just can't find a sponsor or can't afford to go abroad and make a name for themselves.

Q. What do you feel you need to work on?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I think I need to get my ball-striking back in shape. I know I'm not hitting my irons as good as I did. I remember hitting them straight at the flags those two years, and the last few years, I've missed a lot of greens. It puts pressure on the rest of your game.

But I just need to work on my ball-striking a little bit again and get that in gear.

Q. The break now, does that help you now, will that help you get back in form sooner?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I hope so. Sometimes you're not sure if the break is going to hurt your game or be good for your game. Mentally-wise, I think it's good for your game. Swing-wise, you don't know, you come out and it's going to take you a good month to fine your swing again and get in a groove.

Hopefully this week, I can find my swing early on and put a few good rounds together and give myself a chance on the weekend.

Q. Does that become more of a mental thing or just timing with the swing?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I think it's more of a timing thing. I feel my timing has been a little bit out, hitting a bit too early and a bit too late, all that kind of stuff.

It's a fine line, this game. You're talking one shot a round can be a difference between a good year and a bad year. So it's a very fine line. You know, if you can improve one shot a round, you're four shots over the week; it makes a difference between finishing sixth and first. It's just the one shot, but it's a combination of hitting the ball consistent for the week, really. One day you seem to miss a lot of greens and you get it up-and-down a lot and you shoot 72. And the next day you hit the ball well but you doesn't make anything on the greens and you shoot 72, as well.

It's a very fine line, the scoring. But at the end of the day, it's the score you write on the bottom of the score card that counts. It's not how; it's how much. And I get it around and I scramble well, I get it up-and-down and make my putts, stuff like that. It's just a little bit of added pressure when you're not hitting well enough and you have to keep working at a score.

Q. Inaudible?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I think it just takes a bit of time. It doesn't really matter where you play, it doesn't matter what the course looks like; you still have to hit the shot, and hit the right shot.

But, yeah, I'm looking forward to going out there and seeing the course today and tomorrow and I think I'll do well. I like playing in Australia. I've enjoyed the place. I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Will your schedule for 2007 change based on the new Fedex events towards the finish of the PGA Tour season?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I'm not sure how many events you have to ... which events all count for this finale thing. I only just received the schedule last week and sort of had a quick glance through it. They have tried to bunch up the schedule a little bit more.

Q. Will more leading players play additional events?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, it's still not going to make Tiger play more events, that's for sure, and it's not going to make Ernie more events. The guys are still just going to play the courses they like, the places they like and organize their schedule the best way to have holiday time as well as play time.

I don't think changing it around is going to make such a big difference for the top players to force them to play more. I think at the end of the day, the guys are going to say, well, I'm only playing my 15 events; I don't care about the last three events.

GORDON SIMPSON: Retief, thank for coming in. Have a good week.

End of FastScripts.

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