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July 31, 2008

Retief Goosen


Q. Nice start today, wasn't it?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it was. I went back down to Orlando on Sunday night from Canada, and I saw Gregor there on Monday and Tuesday. We worked on a few things. I got in here lunchtime yesterday, and then it rained.
So I hit a few balls, and that was that. So I didn't really go out on the course at all. I know the course well. I've played here many times. So it's not that I really needed a practice round.

Q. Is this an unusual policy of yours or whatever, because you turned up quite late at the Open?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I got there Wednesday.

Q. Is that something, you're trying to work away from the course and then try --
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I try and -- there's so much crap going on from Monday to Wednesday at a golf course, you know? I'm just not for it anymore. I just arrive at the last minute, play my round of golf and get the tournament under way.

Q. This is the kind of course which probably suits you quite well, fast greens and all that sort of thing?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I like it. I putted really well today. I holed a couple good putts for par. No. 4, and obviously No. 18.
Yeah, so I played solid today. You know, the first time I missed the fairway was No. 11, I think. So I drove the ball well and scrambled a bit at the end.

Q. Chipped in on 11, did you?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, 11 I drove it in the right rough, tried to hit a low shot out, and it nipped the tree and came out five yards short of the green, but I had about a 30-yard chip. It was actually one of those that -- where I was coming from, if you just land it in the right place, you just know it's going to be close, and I was happy it went in.

Q. Can you give us your other birdies?
RETIEF GOOSEN: 2, I hit driver, 3-wood on the green and two-putted from about probably 50 feet away.
The par-3, I hit 6-iron probably 30 feet.
No. 8, I hit driver and a 7-iron probably 25, 30 feet again, made that.
10, hit driver off the tee, hit a wedge to probably eight feet and made that.
And 11, like I said, hit it just short of the green in two and chipped it in.
Bogey on 15, it was a good bogey. I hit it and it badly plugged in the bunker and I couldn't get it out, and then I up-and-downed it for 4. That was sort of the score I played for, really. I couldn't have done better than that. 8 I drove it left in the rough, chipped out, hit it on the green probably 25 feet and holed the putt, so it was good to make that one.

Q. How good was a 66 today with how the course is playing?
RETIEF GOOSEN: The course is playing tough. I'm not saying it's playing easy, but the rough is not nearly as thick as it was last year. You've still got three days of growth ahead. But the course played long this morning. That's probably why -- I didn't expect 4-under to lead. I think this afternoon somebody will shoot lower than that as it gets warmer and the fairways are starting to run out a bit. The course played really long. The first 11 holes was much longer, probably the longest I've seen this course play. But it's soft, so you can hold the fairways easier.

Q. How is your record here?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Not great, really. I've had some good rounds here, but not four good rounds.

Q. You mentioned you went off and spent a bit of time with Gregor after the Open. That was obviously very different conditions. How difficult is it to shed that and come to somewhere like this, which is obviously a completely different challenge in all respects?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I mean, the British Open was hard. There wasn't really club selection involved there, it was all about feel, hitting a 5-iron 130 yards, all those sort of things. It was brutal.
Yeah, I mean, last week in Canada, I spent more time in the locker room than I did on the golf course. We had rain delays every day. I got here yesterday and another delay.
It was nice to play a round of golf this morning.

Q. What about just looking ahead, as well, not just to this week and the next three days, but next week, as well?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, obviously I would like to get a practice round in there because I've never seen that course before, so definitely get a round or two in there.
Looking forward to that. PGA is normally -- sort of the more exciting setup in a way. Scoring is generally a little bit better, but I hear this course is tough.
And then I'm having a week off and then really just FedExCup, how far I'll go in that. And then I have a couple of weeks off during the Ryder Cup time, and then Germany.

Q. How close is your game at the moment? You're obviously putting in some good rounds like today.
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, the last four months I've been working a bit more on my fitness. I've lost 18 pounds in weight since the beginning of the year. So I'm definitely fitter and a bit stronger than I was last year. So I'm working a little bit more on that.
My swing, my and Gregor are working on it, we're slowly getting it to where we want it to be, just a matter of getting out there and playing. Everything is starting to fall together. My putting is a little bit better, I think, as well.

Q. Any thoughts for the next three days?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, yeah, just keep playing well. Scoring is going to be a bit lower here than it was obviously last year because the rough is just not quite as heavy.

Q. No Tiger to worry about this year. He's got a pretty impressive record around this course. That might make it more wide open for the likes of guys like yourself.
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, yeah, it changed all the reasons I'm playing here. The guy that's won here every year is not here, and all the losers are still here. It's nice; the field is still the same as it was in the past, there's just one guy missing. So really it should be just as exciting and good golf as there's been in the past.

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