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June 29, 2005

Retief Goosen


SCOTT CROCKETT: Retief, many thanks as always for coming in. We appreciate the time. Obviously defending champion is a nice position to be in, just start by talking about the week and looking forward to the week as the defending champion.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, the golf course is in good condition. Obviously very wet now after the rain. You know, a couple of new tees out there, new greens. So the course has been toughening up a bit. I don't think this year the scoring will be as low as we've seen it in the past around this course.

SCOTT CROCKETT: How did you play today?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I played okay. I struggled on the green. The greens are quite tricky and the grass to putt on and they are not easy. They are a bit slow at the moment still. But in general, I'm pretty happy about the way I feel out there.

SCOTT CROCKETT: The rough is quite severe out there as well, isn't it?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, there are a few holes, but they have so many trees, as well, on this course. When you miss the fairway you're pretty much stuck behind trees.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks for that. We'll open up to some questions.

Q. How do you deal with what happened the last day of the Open?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I'm fine about it. Everybody else seems to be more worried about it than I am. It was unfortunate, a bad round, a bad sort of first 10, 11, 12 holes, and from there on I was just really trying to get the ambulance back to the clubhouse. It was disappointing not to be at least up there in the last few holes giving myself a chance.

So I really, the last sort seven holes was just trying to get in, didn't really matter what I was doing out there anymore. But, I'm fine about it. It's one of those things that happens to a lot of players, and I'm looking forward to the Open coming up.

Q. Having won this event after the Open, and you virtually played a couple of rounds here on auto pilot, do you think Campbell could do the same, is it possible?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, no, I'm sure Campbell's mind will be, once he tees it up again tomorrow, will be back on the game. I'm sure it's been a very busy week for him. Golf is probably the last thing he was thinking about in the last sort of ten days.

So, yeah, it might be a bit difficult to get into the swing of things tomorrow. But, you know, at least he knows he's playing well and that kind of thing, so that can pull him around the course.

Q. What advice did you offer him, first time winning a major?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, he asked me the question, what did I suggest, and I said to him: "Yeah, you know, there's so many invites you can get now and things around the world." Obviously you pretty much know all the big tournaments you're going to be in now, with the Grand Slam and Tiger's tournament, the Million Dollar, so he's going to have to pick and choose. I said to him: "You know, you've got to be a bit careful that you don't overdo it." I told him now to the end of the year he should go for it, play as much as he can and take advantage of what happened, and then next year, structure his schedule next year a little bit more difficult and pace himself.

Q. When you won as Southern Hills, did you go for every invite or feel that you had to?

RETIEF GOOSEN: In a way you do, because suddenly all of these opportunities come in and it was difficult to say no for certain things.

I think that's what you should do, go for it now and then take it easy from next year onwards. You can more plan your schedule a little bit easier now that you know what you're going to be in for the whole of next year and two years after that, really.

But there's a lot of opportunities, I'm sure, coming up now suddenly that he was not thinking about. It's going to be difficult to turn it down, but I think he should have a good fun out there now.

Q. All of the invites that you got, they all came from the States?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No. It was mainly like the Grand Slam, Tiger's tournament, Million Dollar, Far East tournaments, World Match Play and all those sort of things suddenly come in.

So I won't say it's really just coming from the States, no.

Q. Is there the feeling that U.S. Open trophy sort of passed to good hands; that Campbell is a good winner?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Oh, no, Campbell is a good winner, a lot of people know him and know his character. He's a great guy to be around. It's not that anybody is thinking that it's anybody thinking it's disappointing that it's gone to him, no. I think everybody in general is very happy that he's won it. He's had his up and downs and he's come strong out of it. And he'd played well before the U.S. Open; he played some good golf in Europe. He was always up there. So his game was turning around.

Q. Have you analysed the last round the last round?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I haven't really thought about it. It may have come down to putting, 36 putts on Sunday, Campbell was 24, so 12 shots gone there quickly.

Q. How quickly did you recover after that? Was that a difficult day as you remember?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it was. After nine holes, obviously I think I was only a couple behind and I knew I still was well into this tournament. I knew I could birdie probably 10 and 11 to get back into it, and I didn't. And then bogeyed 12. And really, after 12, suddenly I think I was five behind, and from then on, I was just trying to get home.

So it was difficult, the last few holes was just like nothing there, you know, flat tires. It was just like, you want to get home, really. So there was nothing to play for, so concentration was gone, momentum. We were struggling, Jason and I were struggling; so between the two of us we were just putting a good cricket score together.

Q. Other people seemed more bothered by this than you are. Have people said things to you or have you been surprised by the reaction?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Nobody has said anything really. A lot of people obviously are disappointed that I played bad and said "bad luck," but there's no real bad luck. I just played bad and end of story. It was disappointing day, but nothing like that is going to bother me.

Q. Many of us had probably already put your name on the trophy; did it surprise you, the finish?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it was surprise to myself that I could not get anything going like that. It didn't matter, if I had the wrong pace; I misread it. It was just a weird round. Eventually when you stand over a putt, you just feel you can't make it. It doesn't matter even if you do have the right line.

So it was a weird feeling, especially, like I say, the last seven holes was a bit of just a walk in the park, really, nothing to feed off.

Q. This tournament, you're defending champion, does that put any extra pressure on you coming into this tournament, or any tournament?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Not really. I feel pretty good about my swing. Played a couple of rounds last week and obviously today in the Pro Am I felt okay. I just need to, you know, get my putter going a little bit. I'm still a little bit still feel like I'm not stroking it properly with my putter. So I don't think there's any added pressure.

I'm really looking forward to the week. The course is in good shape. You know, the fairways and greens are good. So whoever plays well this week will be a well deserved winner.

Q. You've seen the course mature over the years, what ways has it changed the requirements of the winner in terms of shot making?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, like I said, driving has become very important around this course. There's so many new trees now, every time you hit in the rough, you've got the thick rough as well as the trees. So driving is very important.

If you drive it well, in good conditions, you pretty much have a lot of short irons into some of these holes, so you have a good chance of putting a good score together. They have got a new tee on No. 7, which is a very good tee and makes that hole much tougher now. In the past it was a 3 wood and a wedge and now this morning, no wind, I hit driver and a 9 iron. But with the breeze now this afternoon it will probably be a driver and a 6 iron. And the way they have put the tee, it's really facing, aiming right up into the water, so it's a difficult tee shot now.

New green on 12 which is very good, and also on 16. I think 16 has been a huge improvement. It was a bad green in the past.

Q. Which course here do you prefer?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I've never really done okay around this course. I did well on this course when Michael won funny enough, finished third or somewhere around there. The other course, we only played once around it and I won, so obviously I do like it.

So, no, I think this golf course has matured now and my game is better than it's been in the past when we played around here.

Q. Are you looking forward to the Open?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I love St. Andrews. I'm really looking forward to that. I played a round there about a month ago, an R&A golf day, and saw some of the new tees and stuff. This year the course going to be a bit greener than we saw it in 2000. The golf course is going to be good. The new tees are good.

Q. What you said about your putting stroke, were you happy with your putting stroke the first 54 holes, and what happened on the last day?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Not really, funny enough I wasn't putting well at all really in the first three rounds, but I think my ball striking was pretty good. I kept making pars. Here and there, the third round, I started making a couple of putts in a few holes. But in general for some reason I felt uncomfortable with my putting, and obviously Sunday it really got to me.

Q. Where does that come from, because you are such a good putter?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I don't know. I am; we all go through a bit of a phase. Hopefully it's out of here now and finished.

Q. Will you be switching to the long putter?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No. Not planning on going to a long putter, no. (Laughter).

Q. Technically, was there something in the stroke?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Technical, I don't know if there was a technical error in the stroke. I think it was a bit of an eye coordination thing. It was a little bit out. My stroke, mostly it was a bit more lining up. I wasn't quite aiming really where I was trying to hit the ball. That was the main thing. And if you can't really see where you are trying to hit the ball, then you know, other things start creeping in and you start pulling or pushing.

Yesterday I had a few other putters out to try to see if it helped my line up just to see where I'm aiming, but the old putter seems to sit the best for me.

Q. Who is the man to beat this week, do you think?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, Campbell is riding the wave at the moment. His confidence is going to be high when he tees it up. Padraig is playing very well, so he's going to be one of the guys to beat. Cabrera, I think has done well here as well. It's a long course and he drives it pretty good.

It's tough to really pick somebody, but there's a lot of guys that's in form at the moment.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Retief, many thanks. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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