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July 5, 2006

Retief Goosen


GORDON SIMPSON: Retief, welcome back to the Smurfit Kappa European Open. Two years ago you were here saying you were here for a walk, or a stroll in the park I think you called it. How are your feelings two years on?

RETIEF GOOSEN: My game was better then than it is now. I've obviously been struggling a little bit. But hopefully you know, I've had a couple of weeks break now, lots of time to think about the swing a little bit and try and work on a few things now for next couple of weeks before the British Open.

GORDON SIMPSON: And to what do you put the U.S. Open situation missing the cut, what element?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Probably putting. I've been putting very badly the last month, a lot of bad putting. You know, when you can't make putts, you can't score, and that's been a problem. So I've got a new putter in the bag this week, so hopefully things will turnaround.

GORDON SIMPSON: New style of putter?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It's a putter I've putted with before in the past that I won with before in Tampa, actually. I won a tournament in Tampa about two or three years ago. This is a putter that I've used to win tournaments and hopefully it will just keep reacting that way.

Q. What type of putter is it?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's more one of those it's one of those Bobby Grace putters. It's almost like a three ball type thing, all the weight on the back.

Q. You say you have been struggling. Have you been working on anything?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Not really so much physically hitting balls. Mentally wise I was working on it, trying to work out a few things that I know I was doing wrong and mentally wise trying to get it into my mind what I should do. I was in the Bahamas for a week holiday, so lots of time to relax and think about it.

Q. Was that few weeks in 2004 when you won the US Open and then won here the best you have played?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Obviously, yeah, when you win those events, you are playing on top of your game. Yeah, I would say I haven't exactly been playing that great the last probably year now, but I've won a couple of events or so in between, but nothing consistent enough.

Q. Do your golfing struggles affect your life outside of golf?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I mean, you've got to carry on with life off the golf course. No use in making that miserable as well. I've got lots of other commitments off the golf course, family and so on. So try and keep that side of the golf happy. It's going very well.

And so it's just a question of, you know, I know I can play well. It's just a question of time before just give it some time to come back. I feel like I'm close. You know, once I can start making some putts again, it feels like you can score. But it doesn't matter how well you play. If you don't make putts, you're not going to score.

Q. Inaudible?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I don't know. I've been putting reasonable this year. I wouldn't say I've been putting great. But, you know, we've had probably a four week run there that we didn't putt on the best greens, and U.S. Open greens weren't that good, either. So it was greens that, you know, you can hit a lot of good putts and it won't go in.

This week we've got perfect greens again. Once you start making some putts, you get some confidence back.

Q. Physically, is it a case of having to hit the ball that hard when the greens are slow, and then finding it hard to stop yourself?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, the poa annua greens are very slow, especially up the hills they are very slow, and down the hill they are very quick and very bumpy. It's difficult greens to commit yourself to making good, positive confident strokes.

But this week, you know if you hit a perfect putt it's going to go in.

Q. I am interested in why you picked out this new putter. Do you have an attic full of them at home?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I've got probably 30 putters or so lying around, in Orlando and London. I've been putting with the same putter now for five years, and the only other time I've putted with another putter is this putter that I'm trying now again. Basically between those two is the only time that I'll swap really.

Q. How therapeutic is it coming back to an event where you've had success in the past?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, this golf course, good memories; the golf course across the river, not such good memories. I have not played well on that course and this course I have. It's nice coming here again. You feel like you know the course very well. You've done well on it before and it sets up for your lines and where you look at it. It's nice to be playing this side of the pond in a way this year.

Q. Have you heard anything about Hoylake?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I haven't. I haven't actually heard anybody that's played a practice round. I haven't heard any comments. Bob Torrance is the only one that told me that it's a great course. So everybody in a way is sort of looking forward to it. Nobody's really seen it. You know, all of the guys playing these days are very young or not even born yet when we last played there, so it will be nice to go to a course that everybody sort of starts from scratch.

Q. Will you go there before the Open?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I'll be there on a Monday. I'll play my first practice round on a Monday, yeah.

Q. We have been told the greens there are very flat and will be running fast. Is that something that will help you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, obviously, wind gets in that area, they are going to have to be careful on that front, but the quicker the better, yeah.

Q. Having missed the cut, how hard was it watching the finish of the US Open when all those mistakes were made?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I obviously missed the cut. I went back to Orlando on a Saturday and first time I watched something again was, yeah, probably the last sort of hour of the transmission on Sunday. I finally thought Monty was going to do it. I couldn't see him not win the tournament. He was in perfect position. I could see Mickelson, Ogilvy make mistakes the last couple of holes and not see Monty make mistakes. He birdied 17 and you knew he was going to make it. It shocked out all us see him make 6 on the last, and it was a shame. It would have been a well deserved victory.

Q. Yes, especially after all the other wins through his career?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, and his game is still great. There's no reason why he still can't win. I definitely think Monty will win one, yeah. I think it will come. His mind is a lot better the last year I would say since the British Open last year, so I think he's definitely mentally ready to win a major.

Q. You couldn't see Mickelson making a mistake?

RETIEF GOOSEN: In a way I could. You just knew Monty was going to hit a good tee shot and a good second shot. I was shocked I don't know what the reason was, wrong club or thinking that he had to go at flag, I don't know. But he couldn't have missed it in a worse place, as well. But in a way, I sort of felt Mickelson, you know, could make a mistake at the last.

Q. Inaudible?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, first off when he took driver, I thought definitely it was the wrong club for him. I don't know where he was trying to hit it well, he hit it on the tent. But you know, he got a break off the tent and then messed it up from there.

Q. Do you think it was to do with the pressure of the U.S. Open

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's all in the mind, it's all in the mind. It's hard to keep focusing. There's so much going on. There's 40,000 people screaming at you on the golf course and whoever else is watching on TV, so it's hard to stay focused. I don't know what his reason was on 18 for hitting driver. You know, you would think he would hit a 5 wood. For him it would have been a 3 iron and a 6 iron probably and I don't know why he's trying to hit a driver and a wedge.

But, yeah, I don't think he was fully focused and really sure what he was trying to do on the 18th.

Q. Is it hard to cope with people shouting for him?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It does in a way but it also can boost you. I don't know if it did put pressure on him, but he made a few bad swings coming down the last two holes and it cost him.

GORDON SIMPSON: Also in New York, it was a similar scenario two years ago, wasn't it; you had the New York crowd in your ear.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, the harder thing is to block out what goes on outside the ropes and what you're really playing for, just to stay focused. Obviously maybe with Monty and Mickelson, that was the thing that happened. They weren't fully focused.

Q. As you still think that Monty can win a Major, do you feel that the age at which players can still win has lengthened?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Vijay played his best golf when he turned 40 or after he turned 40. It's different for Monty. He's just been such a consistent player for a whole career. His swing hasn't changed. Nothing has changed. I think Monty is going to be around for a long time still.

You know, it's not that he's an athlete in a way of exercising like certain players does, but he looks after himself well in a way. You know, he doesn't drink, he doesn't smoke and all those things and stays in reasonable shape all year round.

Q. Do you like playing in Ireland?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I love playing here. I always love coming to Ireland and playing. I think in a way, you know, the players probably would have liked to have played on the other side this year just before the Ryder Cup, get some practice in for the Ryder Cup and also probably could have had quite a few Americans come over and play if it was on that side this year, especially guys that can qualify for the Ryder Cup.

Q. Back to Hoylake. Mickelson went there this week. Do you think that other players will start following his lead regards preparation?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I'm sure he's not the only one that's doing it. I'm sure there's a few players that's played already or going to play next week. I wasn't sure if I was going to play the Scottish and then was definitely going to go up and practice there. But I might still maybe on Tuesday go up there next week and play and then go down to Loch Lomond on Tuesday night but I haven't quite decided.

Q. When you go to a course you don't know��.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I mean, the more knowledge you can get out of a course, the better, obviously. Some players feel as though they need five practice rounds and other place feel they need two practice rounds. For me I feel I need two good practice rounds to visualize and see the course pretty well, and then just go.

Q. Inaudible?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I mean, the mental side of the game is obviously very important. I used to work with Jos, and I still read the odd mental book and stuff, you know, trying to just always refresh the mind a little bit. I probably think my temperament hasn't been quite as good the last few weeks because I haven't been putting well and you get down a bit on yourself.

But I've had a good break now and think a lot about everything and I'm sort of keen to get out there and play again.

Q. Inaudible?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It was a tough day for everybody and I got off to a good start, Ernie got off to a bad start and when you get off to a bad start, it's not easy.

Yeah, it was difficult in a way. I felt pretty relaxed in a way out there. I knew I was putting well, so I knew I could make a score. And obviously Mickelson played very well on the back nine, made quite a few birdies and so on.

Yeah, the big turning point was obviously 17. I didn't think he made double bogey. I thought he made bogey. You know, I was confident about everything, my mental state and my putting, the way I swung, everything felt good. And that's how you win tournaments is when you feel good and you can just get down and do it and it just sort of happens automatic.

Q. Inaudible?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it is thinking, but it's like fifth gear, you know, just everything flows. You're not stuck in second gear and struggling to get going.

Q. Inaudible?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, yeah, those guys been playing very consistent. I know J.J. has been playing very well. He hasn't been winning but he's been playing very consistent. The same of Vaughn Taylor. He's been playing very consistent.

Yeah, you know, there's new guys coming in. It's the same on The European Tour. There's a lot of new guys that's playing really well and probably have a good chance of making the Ryder Cup side. It's the same in the States. You know, everybody is so good now. It's a finally between making it and not making it.

GORDON SIMPSON: Retief, thanks very much for joining us today, and have a good week and a nice stroll around the Smurfit Course.

End of FastScripts.

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