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February 24, 2006

Retief Goosen


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Retief Goosen, thanks for joining us here. Congratulations on winning your match today. Maybe some opening comments on a good day for you and good week so far.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, that's right. Me and Luke didn't really play lights out there today. We struggled a little bit. But it was always a tight game. We never really both played that well, so it was always going to be tight. I had a little bit of scare on 18 where he chipped in on me.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Is that part of this event, winning six matches? You don't play well, but you still win.

RETIEF GOOSEN: You need to get the right guy at the right time, as well, that's maybe not playing his best. But so far I've been pretty consistent, just keeping the ball in play and always keeping pressure on the guy. So I've not been down once so far in any of the matches. So I seem to get on top of the guys pretty early and try to stay there.

Q. Could you just run through the last hole? We were here interviewing Zach. Did you hit your bunker shot close? Just run through 18, if you wouldn't mind.

RETIEF GOOSEN: We both hit reasonable drives down there. And then Luke hit it way right of the green, his second. I hit a good 3 wood that was very close to knocking it on the green. A reasonable lie in the bunker but an awkward stance, and then it's funny, you know, I hit a good bunker shot out there to a couple of feet, three feet, and sometimes you have the feeling that he's going to chip it in. And he did. So I still had to make that little one to win.

Q. How do you think your game translates to match play? Obviously we've seen you in the majors get up and down from any spot, at Shinnecock and Southern Hills, especially.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, you need to do that around in match play, especially when you're not playing that well. Today I probably hit the ball the worst I've hit it so far this week. I didn't quite keep my eye well; I hit a lot of very good long range putts and got it up and down a few times out of the bunker, so that won the match for me today.

Q. Do you see this tournament as a great opportunity? It's one of the biggest purses in basically a limited field. You don't have to beat 63 guys, you only have to beat six. What's your attitude coming into this format?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, it's you know, it sounds simple, but every match you have is like winning a tournament. If you lose you're out. So you've got to keep on winning every day and play well every day. So every hole there's a lot of pressure. And that's the thing about this match play is that you look like winning is easy and then a guy chips it in, and suddenly the pressure is back on. It's not like a normal stroke play where you're nervous the first couple of holes and then you sort of work your way to getting calm and getting into a good rhythm the rest of the round. It's very up and down. The guy chips it in, the guy hits it close and you hit a bad putt. So there's pressure on you all week. It's just sort of a rhythm for the whole week.

Q. Do you like it, or is a small dose of match play enough for you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I like the Match Play, but the World Match Play at Wentworth is 36 holes every day. So if you're a couple down or 3 down on 18, you still have a chance of coming back. But 18 holes is tough. On this course the greens are difficult to putt on. It's not easy to make up ground. You need to hit the ball really well and really close to the flag to make birdies.

Q. There were six top 10 players in the world playing the third round today. You're the only one left. Do you feed into that at all, the fact that so many guys have kind of left?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Every guy has to tee it up. Even the 64th guy can win this tournament. All of these guys can play. There's very few bad players out on this Tour now, and it shows. The guys that whatever the World Rankings are, can play on the weekend.

Q. Davis said it nicely earlier today, when you guys go off tomorrow, you really don't know who is going to have the hot hand, who is going to be the guy with the hottest putter until you get going. I guess my question would be, is it at all different when you have someone who's won two U.S. Opens, for example, has great credentials, is it easier to get into that frame of mind if you were to play, say, Vijay as opposed to a Tim Herron or something like that?


Q. You have to remind yourself that based on what you've done that

RETIEF GOOSEN: What you've done is what you've done; you still have got to, now, today, perform again. So what you've done in the past doesn't mean now suddenly you are automatically a great player and winning tournaments. You've got to start all over again the following week, if you've won the U.S. Open, to try to win.

I suppose a little bit of experience is the only thing that you learn, really, is how to handle the situation, maybe hit the certain shot at the right time, and those sort of things are the only things you could have learned from the past, I think.

Q. Is the mental grind in this tournament similar to a major championship, or is it more like a longer, regular PGA TOUR?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Every hole is like a little match on its own. You've got to try to beat this guy on this hole and then the next hole. Mentally it's quite difficult sometimes, you know, to stop yourself from thinking what the other guy is doing. In a regular stroke play event you block out what's going on and it's just you out there. Here you sort of focus on what the other guy is doing, as well. So you if he hits a bad shot, what do you do.

It plays on your mind a little bit, and you've got to be careful you don't start watching too much what the other guy is doing and lose a bit of focus on your game.

Q. Can you tell when the other guy is putting bad?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Luke putted very well today. The first few holes he holed a few putts on me to halve. So, you know, these greens, they will be good tomorrow. They get better every day, less traffic on them, and they roll them every day and every morning. The greens are getting better and better. I'm expecting more putts to be made on the weekend.

Q. Is this the latest you've ever waited to come over to this country, starting here?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, normally I play Mercedes, Sony and Phoenix. But this year I just felt like I needed a break, and I took seven weeks off in nine weeks and I felt like I needed it. For the first time in my life I didn't touch a club for six weeks and it felt a bit awkward coming back. But I just felt like I needed it. I spent some time in South Africa, I was there for two and a half months, and it was good fun.

Q. Was it a hard decision not doing Kapalua?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it was hard, but sometimes you've got to put your clubs away and you've got to spend some time with the family. I just couldn't get myself to travel 36 hours from South Africa on the 1st of January all the way to Hawaii. We just needed to spend some time together.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Retief Goosen, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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