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November 2, 2006

Retief Goosen


TODD BUDNICK: We thank Retief Goosen for coming in after a 2 under 68 in round one of the TOUR Championship. Retief, of course the winner two years ago here. Talk a little about today's difficult conditions out there.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yes. Obviously the weather is the main issue today compared to the first practice rounds. You know, when they interviewed me yesterday or Tuesday, I said to them the score was going to be lower than it's been in the last few years, but with the weather the way it is now, it's definitely not going to be.

The course is playing long. Some of the holes especially into the wind. It's just a different golf course. But luckily this year the rough is not quite as heavy as it was the last two years, so you can hit in the rough and maybe still have a chance of getting to the green.

TODD BUDNICK: Talk a little bit about today's round and the disappointing bogey on 18.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I mean, 18 I was trying to hit I knew I needed a good 3 iron to get in there, and was trying to turn it off the bunker with the wind there and just blocked it.

I didn't hit the best of bunker shots and probably not the best of putts. I just hit it too hard.

Q. Was it a long par 3 or a short par 4?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, they moved us up on the front today, and they've got a flag on the front. They could have comfortably have made it 20 yards longer today, that hole.

Q. What do you think of the whole idea of having a par 3 as a finishing hole? What does that do for the character of the tournament?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It's a great finishing hole today. Par is a good score on that hole, and that's probably the easiest pin placement you can find on the whole green.

I think it's different to have a par 3 as a finish. I think it's better than having a par 5 as a finishing hole.

Q. I think this is your 28th event of the year on just about every continent in the world, China and Korea and here and Europe

RETIEF GOOSEN: I'm not sure how many I played this year. It's been busy. Yeah, I've got four events left after this: Two in China and two in South Africa.

Q. Is that busier than the norm for you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It has been. But, you know, got to make a living (laughter), support the other tours. I like playing abroad and helping out there.

And the people over there, it's really you guys don't see it, but you don't really appreciate it how much they appreciate us going over there and playing.

Q. The Sunshine Tour you're talking about or China?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Asia, Asia especially.

Q. At the end of next year after the PGA and the playoff events, how many are you likely to play? Are you going to play a bunch at the end?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I said yesterday I'll probably look at somewhere around 19 events I'll be playing on the PGA TOUR next year.

Q. What about down the stretch with the four playoff events: The PGA, Firestone, they're all bunched in there. Do you

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, that is going to be a little bit of a stretch there that you're going to have to be careful so you don't get too tired before you get to this event if you make it through all the way here. There's a lot of events there you have to play. Eight weeks they have really big tournaments.

Q. Including The Presidents Cup in that mix?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, the The Presidents Cup is a couple weeks after the TOUR Championship, I think. We'll have a week off after the TOUR Championship.

Q. Are you leaving here Sunday night to go to China?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, straight to China and then Hong Kong the week after that, which is just across the border, really. And then from there back to London and then down to South Africa for two and a half months.

Q. How do you not get burned out, or do you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I'm going to have a good practice year. I would say after the two weeks in China it's really a holiday all the way through. I've got the two events I have to play. I'll start out at Abu Dhabi and Qatar is the first two events I'm going to play, but hopefully we can start the first week in January if we can win this week.

Q. Where do you start in the U.S. if not for Kapalua?

RETIEF GOOSEN: At the moment it looks like Phoenix.

Q. One more question about your swing. If you talk about some of the things that need fixing, whatever flaws there might be, were they there in '04 when you were winning at Shinnecock and here?

RETIEF GOOSEN: They probably were there but not as bad. I would say I'm probably back now where I was in '04. It's just a question of trusting it out there. I was hitting it pretty good, putting very good in '04. This year I haven't putted well, but purely because I've been hitting the ball so far from the flag, I haven't had a chance of making any putts.

You know, it's going to be a slow process. It's something I decided on a couple of months ago to start working with somebody, and I want to do it now until the end of the year so when I start next year it's not all that new to me.

Hopefully start the year off a lot better next year, hitting the ball better and all those sort of things so it doesn't feel like I have that much work to do on the driving range to start playing better.

Q. Did great putting disguise a lot of flaws in '04? Because '04 on the surface looks like a very good year for you.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I putted well. I think I was ranked up there at 1 with putting or somewhere in the Top 5. This year it's been bad, really, on the greens. I don't know, I don't follow the stats. I only know how much you put up on the score card.

Q. What would you say has been the peak of your career to date? What year do you think you played your best golf? Or stretch even, if it wasn't a full year?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Probably 2002, I think. I played pretty solid that year, won a lot of tournaments, played well. But hopefully next year we'll win.

Q. You've always been a self diagnosis guy, played by feel mostly. What prompted you to seek outside counsel on the swing coach, and how did you arrive on finding a guy?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I've just not been hitting it well enough. I just felt maybe just get somebody in there that's got a bit of an expert eye. It's been good with Gregor the way we've been going about it. We try to keep it simple at the moment. There's no real swing changes as much as that we're trying do. It's more setup, posture, and alignment type of things we're trying to do.

Q. Did you say Gregor, Gregor Jameson?


Q. How long have you been without a swing coach?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Going on about nine years.

Q. This year we had a situation where a guy's won more than half his starts on the PGA TOUR, which hasn't happened in a long, long time. From where you sit, is Tiger Woods of this year better than Tiger Woods in 2000? What do you see?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, it's definitely one of his best years in the majors, I think. He played very well in the majors besides the U.S. Open because well, we know why.

Yeah, the way he played this year I think it was definitely one of his greatest years he's had on the golf course. He hit the ball well and he made a lot of putts, made a lot of long putts, as well, and that helps. The guy played very well this year.

It's straighter than I've seen him hit the ball. He's not putting wild shots out there.

Q. When you're deciding on getting a new coach or searching for something in your game, do you ever go back and look at Southern Hills or video from Shinnecock, or is that kind of the past and you're kind of looking ahead instead of behind?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I haven't, actually. Maybe I should have (laughter). You know, you know how you played at those events when you won there, and you know that you putted well. The guy that makes the putts is ultimately the guy that wins. I putted well and got it up and down at the right times and that kind of thing.

But like I said, I've been working with Gregor now and we've looked at things, and I know in my mind what I need to work on. They will take time, and hopefully when the year is out, those sort of things will be a little bit more natural to me, and I'll swing it better next year and hopefully hit better shots. We'll go from there and see what happens.

Q. I know proximity is probably working in Gregor's favor with the Nona connection and all. How did you arrive on him? I know he's coached some other European players over the years. What was his reaction when you knocked on his door, so to speak?

RETIEF GOOSEN: He actually was very happy. He asked me the question why did I come to him. I said, I don't know. I like the guy. I've known him for quite some time, and I just did not want one of the regular guys out on Tour here that's gotten other guys he's got to look after.

You have to book up time, every five minutes he's got to go there and there. I wanted a guy who was a little bit more settled in with himself and does other things besides just having to go out there and coach every day.

Yeah, he happens to live in Lake Nona, which is nice. But I only spend about 50 days a year at Lake Nona, so it's not like I go there a lot. He was somebody that I just sort of felt was the right guy to go to. I know he works with Maarten Lafeber and Sven Struver and so on, and so far it's been good.

TODD BUDNICK: Just your card, Retief, bogeys and birdies.

RETIEF GOOSEN: The third hole I drove it in the right rough, hit it on the green about 40 feet and three whacked.

8, I hit driver, wedge probably 20 feet, made the putt there.

9, driver, 3 wood to about 20 feet, two putt.

11, I hit 6 iron to seven feet.

15, I hit driver, 4 iron over the back of the green and chipped down to about five feet.

And 18, you know the story.

Q. Just curious, you've kind of pencilled in the PGA next year. Any thoughts ongoing back to Southern Hills and if you've considered how it might be different than it was for the U.S. Open?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I hope they're not going to change it. As far as I've heard they haven't made any changes.

Q. I'm just talking about the weather more than anything being a little different.

RETIEF GOOSEN: It won't be as hot.

Q. It will actually be hotter but a little softer. I hope they fix the 18th green.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Apparently not. The 18th green is still there. You can put the pin only in one place. Hopefully they will maybe do something about that, maybe just raise the front a fraction so you can just keep it on the green at least.

I spoke to somebody the other day that lives up there, and they said they haven't made any changes.

Q. You didn't have any problem hitting the green on 18, though.

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, just a problem getting it in the hole.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Retief.

End of FastScripts.

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