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September 15, 2005

Retief Goosen


GORDON SIMPSON: Retief, it's back to traditional match play conditions but you were didn't make heavy weather all of a sudden again today, but it was a good victory.

RETIEF GOOSEN: It's a shame because the course was playing so well yesterday, and in this morning I got here, I think it was 6 o'clock and it was bone dry. As I went out to hit balls, it's been raining and the course is now back to the way it was last year, really. The greens are so soft you can't stop the ball from spinning. But at least the course is in good shape. I mean, the greens are perfect.

GORDON SIMPSON: A kind of tricky, you're No. 1, he's No. 16, there's a lot to lose there, isn't it?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I suppose so. I started off with a nice 5 as well, 1 down, and then I started making quite a few putts. You know, played pretty solid up to really sort of 15 this morning when I hit it in the trees.

So I made a lot of putts and not short putts. I made a lot of long putts out there, as well, which helps.

Q. Your thoughts on perhaps playing Monty tomorrow?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Obviously, Colin is tough, tough around this course. He's played the golf course, won around here so many times. It's going to be a tough match if it is him. I see Mark has made a bit of a come back this afternoon, so it's going to be a close match, that one.

It's going to be interesting to see what happens. It will be great playing with Monty, obviously. I enjoy playing with him. So it will be good fun tomorrow.

GORDON SIMPSON: Have you ever won three straight weeks before?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I haven't. I've won two in a row. There's a long way to go in this event. Match play, anything can happen. But in general, I'm happy with the game. I'm still struggling off the tee and with my irons a little bit but I'm just trying something on every shot really at the moment. I think I might have found something that could help me hit the ball more consistent.

Q. Has the move to September change the course?

RETIEF GOOSEN: The greens, if it wasn't raining, these greens would have been running 13 on the Stimpmeter I think. Even now they are probably running up 11 in this rain. These greens are as good of greens as I've putted on all year, so it's difficult good to see that.

Q. Do you see yourself as the favorite?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I don't see myself as the favorite here. I think Cabrera, Monty, guys that have done so well around this golf course in the past are sort of more the guys you should be worried about. I don't see myself as the favorite player here, although the ranking shows it. As we know, on paper, it never means anything. So I have to just keep playing well, really, and if I can keep making the putts like I did today, we'll have a good match.

Q. Which holes did you make long putts on?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I hit it reasonably close this morning on 2 and 3, probably sort of ten feet and 12 feet.

Then made probably about an 18 footer on 6. Probably a good 30 footer on 8. 10, 25 feet. 12, I 2 putted for birdie. And then probably made another 25 footer on 14. Then on 16, you can see I made 5, so I was probably about ten feet away. I played the par 5s pretty bad this morning.

This afternoon, I probably holed another 30 footer on the first. From there on, it was really sort of a lot of pars, he made a couple of bogeys which gave me holes. Then I hit it pretty close on 10 and holed a good 18 footer on 11 to finish it off.

Q. You said you were trying to find something on every shot, was it swing thoughts?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It's not really swing thoughts. I'm just sort of struggling to get the club in a little bit of a comfortable position at the top. I just made a slight adjustment on my grip, really, during the round and it actually started feeling a little bit better. It's just a question now of trusting it and committing to the shot.

Q. Is it hard to close out the game when you are well ahead?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's not easy sometimes to be that far up because suddenly this guy makes a u turn on you and then you lose the match. So it's tough to keep grinding away. Luckily he made those two bogeys which basically gave me the holes. Really, I think around No. 8, I felt like it was in the bag.

Q. I see you pulled out of the Grand Slam, was it just too far?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's a bit too far to go I've got to go. I've got to go from South Africa all the way there and then straightaway back to play the Nelson Mandela Invitational. I've done that before and it's 35 hours to get there and 35 hours to come back. It's not an easy trip and that's why I decided not to go. Plus, my sort of real personal feeling is if three guys won the majors, there should only be three guys playing it. I think they are the guys who deserve to be there.

Q. Monty or Mark tomorrow?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, Colin, Mark is obviously a great player, a very straight player and hitter, just like Monty. So between the two of them, I suppose they are having a good match today. Colin has always got the crowd behind him around here which always intimidates you a little bit. I won't say really I would prefer playing Mark to Monty. I mean, they are both good players and they are both equally tough to beat.

Q. Does it change your thinking?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I don't think it changes things, no. Just have to concentrate a bit harder at blocking things out basically. I wouldn't say change anyway that I would play the course.

Q. do you ever get intimidated?


Q. You talked yesterday about your putting being improved, is there a specific change in your stroke or anything?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, there isn't any real changes. I've just slowed it down a little bit to what it was. I think I was starting to get a bit quick and jerky. I've been practicing a lot on my putting with one of those soft shaft putters and you know you really have to make a very slow stroke with those putters. That seems to have got my tempo and my putting back quite nicely.

On top of that, I'm reading the greens very well last few weeks. You can have a good stroke, but if you read it wrong, you're not going to make it. I'm seeing the lines well and starting in my mind.

Q. Do you remember the last time you were intimidated?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I don't know. Wherever we play this week, I wouldn't say you're intimidated but you're sort of aware of what he's done. Any guy in this field can shoot nothing around this course and beat you. But intimidated the last time, I don't know, I can't remember.

Q. Is it still your ambition to be World Number One?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, Tiger has obviously found his game again, so it's going to be a tough one to catch that. He's so far ahead in the points system now than me. I'm probably going to have to win six tournaments a year for the next three years to somehow catch him, if he doesn't win six, as well.

Obviously would I like to keep moving up and see if I can move into that Big Four category, but then they will probably change it to the Big Three. (Laughter). So then I've got something else to work for to get into the Big Three.

No, I'm not really fussed about all that kind of stuff. I just want to keep playing my game and do well as long as I can still keep going before all of the aches and pains come, keep try and keep winning.

Q. Does the traveling ever affect your health?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I suppose 90 percent of the players out here struggle with back problems and I'm one of them. I see a chiro pretty much every week and try and get some physio work done. I've had a bit of a groin that's been worrying me a little bit the last few weeks, but I think it's just from all of the golf I've played. But in general, I think I'm in pretty good shape.

GORDON SIMPSON: Retief, good luck again tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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