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May 24, 2006

Retief Goosen


RODDY WILLIAMS: Retief welcome to the BMW Championship here at Wentworth. Ernie has made some changes to the course, have you had a chance to play a little bit or heard much about it?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I haven't had a chance but hopefully we'll see it today.

Everybody seems pretty happy with it. Personally I felt for quite some time now that the course needed a change, especially the last few years when winning scores are 20 under, which is not really what you want to see around a championship like this.

It's nice to see that it has been changed and toughened up a little bit, and looks like we are going to have pretty bad weather, as well, this week. So expect higher scoring, definitely a lot higher scoring than the past.

RODDY WILLIAMS: How are you feeling coming into the week yourself, your form and everything?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I haven't played for two weeks. I had a two week break in South Africa. Wasn't really playing golf when I was down there. I feel like my golf is okay. I played pretty good the last trip I was out in America. I had my chances there to win and messed up a few times. I'm looking forward to the week. I think I'm going to have some good form. I've never putted too great around this course on the greens, so hopefully this year I can make a few putts.

Q. What are the reasons why you messed up in the tournaments in the States, was it your putting or something else?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I would say at New Orleans, I didn't putt well. Played well; didn't putt well.

Then obviously at Wachovia, I played pretty well and just couldn't make any putts in the last round. Then obviously I had a nice finish on the last hole.

But overall I'm feeling pretty confident in my game. I think it's coming back and I'm looking forward to the next four week run, then obviously the U.S. Open, as well.

Q. Can you explain a little bit about what you mean about the greens here? Can it be frustrating to play well tee to green and then not get the rewards?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, there are a lot of new bunkers out there now and quite a few holes have been lengthened. As wet as it is now, the course is going to play its full length, especially with the cool weather, as well.

The greens are not that severe around here. There's a few greens that are. But, I don't know, for some reason, I've just never really managed to putt well enough on these greens. And there's a few times in the World Match Play now I've had a good run on the greens, but not so much in this event. I've not really done that well in this event, so hopefully this week, with the new course and tougher conditions and everything, I feel like I've got a chance.

Q. It's been said when they were making the improvements to the course they might have put in some new greens; would you agree with that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It's not that the greens are bad. I'm just not reading them well enough. There's a few greens out there that's actually very flat. You know, when the green is that flat, you always sometimes struggle to make out which way it's going to break.

Maybe here and there could be a green that could be changed a little bit just to give us more different pin placings.

Q. I meant change the grass.

RETIEF GOOSEN: The grass, that would be great. (Laughing.)

Yeah, this poa annua grass is not really my type of grass. I think these greens, putting another type of grass on could really firm them up. Because poa annua, you get the slightest bit of rain, and they are very soft, these greens. It's very rare that we actually play this golf course and the greens are firm. So changing the grass on the greens would be a good idea.

Q. Looking ahead to the U.S. Open, you said you're playing four events leading up to Winged Foot, are you as confident now as you were when you won the two U.S. Opens; is the confidence the same?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, definitely, almost won last year, just messed up in the last round. I'm looking forward to going back for the U.S. Open. I still feel like I can win the U.S. Open or any major. I had my chances again at The Masters this year and, you know, just didn't make the putts coming through the back nine. I think of three putts that I missed, two of them were inside six feet. Coming in, you know, I could have walked up the last hole really close to the lead with Phil Mickelson, but it didn't happen that way. So I'm looking forward to the next majors coming up.

Q. What's your schedule leading into the U.S. Open, this week and then?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, Memorial next week and then Westchester and then the Open, a four week run. I feel like I need a good run. Westchester I feel is good preparation, narrow fairways, tiny greens. The Memorial, I didn't play in the Memorial last year, but I enjoy playing the Memorial Tournament. I like the golf course.

Q. You have a very philosophical approach to your results this year, you've had a second, third, fourth and fifth in America, are you frustrated that the win hasn't come, or are you just encouraged that you are persistently up there?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, you know, I think you would rather like to play consistently well than winning one tournament and not being nowhere in all the others.

Being consistent, you've sort of just got to be patient and know that it's going to happen and that you're going to have a chance being consistent, if you have a chance every Sunday to win, then you know that's good. Eventually it's going to happen for you.

No, it's not that I'm frustrated or anything about it. Like I said, I've just not these days, to win a tournament, you need to have four rounds that's 100%, and I've had that one round that wasn't.

Q. Finishing off at Wachovia, was there an element of losing focus?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Not really. If I want to do if the other guys bogeyed and I birdied or something, but, yeah, it was a disappointing finish. I couldn't keep my ball dry on the last hole. Jumped from third to ten; wasn't pleasant.

Q. Did you hear about the Darren Clarke incident at the Irish where he played his ball from

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I heard on Monday about it.

Q. What did you think about that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, that's great sportsmanship from him. Obviously, you know, I would have inquiry he'd it, too, that's not the way I left the ball last night. Chip out to a driver is quite a difference.

That's great sportsmanship of him to do that, and that's what makes this game so special; that we still have that sportsmanship in this game.

Q. Have you seen anything like that before or has that happened to you or somebody else?

RETIEF GOOSEN: You know, it's sort of the first time that we that it's really talked about it much. I think it's happened before but nothing that comes to mind at the moment.

Q. Does being world No. 3 raise expectations or do you take it exactly the same as you would if you were No. 6 or 7 in terms of level of play and what you might achieve?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's been funny, I've played the weeks I played, I seem to lose World Ranking points and the week I don't play, I gain World Ranking points. (Laughter) So I'm taking more and more time off these days.

Obviously it drives you; you want to get to No. 2. But long way away from No. 1 in that sense. Yeah, I'm motivated still to keep playing well. World Rankings is not really my main focus. It's about playing well every week.

Q. Have you seen or do you plan to see Hoylake before the Open?

RETIEF GOOSEN: At the moment I'm not sure if I'm going to play the Scottish or not. And if I don't, I'll definitely try and get up there. But I feel maybe good practicing the week before the Open at the Scottish Open might do me better than going up to the Open; maybe overpreparing there. I feel a couple of good, solid practice rounds at the Open should be enough.

Q. At the U.S. Open last year you were the hottest performer in the first three days on, and the final day of majors subsequently, take The Masters, things haven't gone exactly the way you had planned. Is there some sort of hangover from the U.S. Open, did you lose any confidence in your ability to finish the job?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, not really. I was playing well at the U.S. Open. Obviously the last five holes, I knew I couldn't win anymore. It was sort of, your concentration and everything went, and just went from bad to worse on those last few holes.

That was disappointing, obviously. But for me it was all about winning the event. Really wasn't thinking of fourth or third or whatever at that stage. Once I knew I couldn't win anymore, I don't care where I was going to finish.

Q. And was there a hangover from that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, there's no hangover from that. Hopefully a good learning experience that I can learn from that and next time, hopefully a month from now, I'll be in the same situation and perform better.

Q. What did you learn and what would you do differently?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It's hard to say. Maybe I just didn't play those first few holes aggressive enough. I kept leaving myself very long putts.

But it's hard, around a tough course like that, once it goes the wrong way, it's not easy to recover. We saw that at Shinnecock when Ernie started going the wrong way. It's not a course that you just come back with five birdies quickly. Once you make five birdies in the front nine, you pretty much you play well, you're still going to finish 5 over.

I won't say that you can learn anything, but maybe you can learn something on the concentration side; you weren't quite focused enough or just a certain little thing you've done.

Q. Michael Campbell said something very interesting last week about as a defending champ, he doesn't do in as a defending champ, he goes in to win.

RETIEF GOOSEN: That's always the case, especially as defending champion, you want to do well, you know, and give yourself another chance to win. It's never easy defending. But, you know, you could do it again this year. Obviously he's going to go in there much more confident than he was in the past before he won the U.S. Open, so he knows he's got mentally wise a better chance to win.

Q. He said he's not defending; he's going to win.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, we all think that, but the end of the week, there's one guy that's going to win, and we'll just have to wait and see.

Q. Impressed by Trevor Immelman?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's nice to see that Trevor is playing very well. I think there was a little bit negativity in the air when he got picked by Gary Player over when he was like 19th in position or something for the Presidents Cup and a lot of people said, yeah, well they picked him to get him on the Tour. But it's nice to see that he's playing well and proving himself that he belongs there.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Retief, good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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