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February 2, 2006

Retief Goosen


RODDY WILLIAMS: Thanks very much for coming in and a great start to the Dubai Desert Classic. You must be excited after a big layoff.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, definitely. I hit it way left on the 10th, my first hole and scrambled and way right an the next and way left on the next. The first three holes I was all over the golf course and hit a good drive down 13 and hit a 5 iron in there to about 20 feet and made the putt.

Suddenly you feel a little bit better and more relaxed. And my partners, they were 2 under by then as well, Thomas I think was 3 under. So it was nice to get off to that start and then I had a good run in the middle of the course.

RODDY WILLIAMS: You've been down in South Africa for 3 1/2 months or so. Nice to get out and about again?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, the last six weeks I had a good break. I played two rounds of golf in the six weeks. I must say coming out, I didn't expect a lot. Yesterday in the exhibition match, also I was hitting it pretty bad, but at least I know I was putting well. That's what I did today. I missed a lot of fairways but I made a lot of putts.

Q. When you see the quality of the people, three of the top 5 in the world here, does that give you more of a buzz for your first event?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah and it's a great place, I've always enjoyed coming here since '93. It's a golf course I like, although I've not won on it. Hopefully this week I can get something going and give myself a chance come Sunday.

Yeah, I'm glad that the field is so strong. You know, it doesn't matter where you play in Europe these days, the field is strong. You've got to play really well to win. The golf is so strong on The European Tour, but it's nice to see Ernie and Tiger here.

Q. Can you talk about not playing for six weeks but you moved up in the World Rankings?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I took six weeks' holiday and moved up a spot. So maybe if I take another six weeks, I'll move up to No. 2. If that's the case, then I take a six week break and I keep shooting 64, maybe I'll take time off till Augusta.

Yeah, the World Rankings does work kind of funny and so on. But yeah, I am No. 3 at the moment, so try and catch Vijay now.

Q. Did you play at all apart from the two rounds?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I didn't touch a club for five weeks. I put them in the cupboard and wherever I traveled, I didn't even take them with. That's the first time I've done that, not played for five weeks.

Last week I played two rounds of golf with some of our friends and I went to the driving range twice, so that was it.

Q. Did you feel you needed a break or what was the reason behind that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I had a bit of a needly (ph) wrist on me, I've had some treatment on it since the new year. I must have picked up something playing with the kids or something, I must have just pinched a nerve or pulled a muscle a little bit, but luckily it doesn't really hurt me when I hit the ball. You know it's there, but it's nothing serious.

Q. The fact that there's two South Africans in the top 5, talk about the rivalry that you enjoy with Ernie Els?

RETIEF GOOSEN: He's been such a great golfer now for such a long time, he's been in the top 5 or the last 15 years or however long. Yeah, I've worked my way slowly up there, but it's not sort of a rivalry against Ernie there. I think there should be more South Africans up in the top 20 or top 10. I see some good youngsters coming through here. You know, we have such good weather and courses in South Africa and there's a lot of great players in South Africa that can't get the our Tour here or get on the Tour in America or just can't afford to travel; it's so expensive to travel out of South Africa.

Q. Do you feel pressure to emanate Ernie, specifically with regards to getting to No. 1 in the world or winning majors?

RETIEF GOOSEN: You know, I admire Ernie for what he's done, he's a great player and he's certainly a role model for me trying to catch him and trying to play as good as him.

It's not really something that I really do. I tee it up and I try my best and try to beat whoever is in the field.

Q. Wonder if you could choose one tournament that you could win this here in 2006, what would that be?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, if there's one I would like to win, it's the British Open.

Q. What's your schedule this year?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It's the same schedule at the moment this year. Obviously the next year is changing quite a lot. Last night I had a brief look through it, but this year is going to be pretty much the same. I'm going to play a few out in Europe, pretty much all of the big ones and a few other ones and play roundabout 17, 18 in the States.

Q. What's your mind set now that you've gone out and shot 64?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Obviously, your mind set is a little bit different now. You want to keep building on that, come up with a good round tomorrow afternoon. Obviously the wind will pick up in the afternoon and the course will be a little bit different. Just sort of be up there coming in the week up near the lead. You don't want to start off with something 1 or 2 under and suddenly come to the weekend being eight or nine behind.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Retief, thanks very much.

End of FastScripts.

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