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June 18, 2005

Retief Goosen


RAND JERRIS: We're now joined by Retief Goosen with a 1 under par 69 today, 3 under par 207 for the Championship. Retief, maybe you could start us off with some general comments about your preparations as you came out to the golf course today and how the round was for you.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I had lots of time to think about the round this morning. I don't know, I had a good time this morning playing at home with the kids. That was fun. I felt pretty relaxed out on the course today, and I played nice and solid on the front nine, didn't really put any pressure on my game.

And then on the back nine put a lot of pressure on my game. I really had a good finish to put me back into this tournament.

Bad mistakes on 12 and 13, probably 13 was a bad mistake, but came back after that well.

RAND JERRIS: Could you walk us through the birdies and bogeys on your card, please.

RETIEF GOOSEN: No. 4 I hit driver, 3 wood on the green about 40 feet, two putts.

6, I hit 6 iron in the right trap, got it out probably to four feet and pulled it, missed that.

11, hit driver in the rough, hit 8 iron probably to about 30 feet and holed the putt there.

12, driver in the rough, hit a 7 iron short left of the green there, poor chip shot, two putts.

13, 3 wood in the left hand side rough and tried to hit a sand wedge out to the front edge, and it came out hard, went over the back, and from there I was trying to make 5 and ended up making 6, just no shot from down there. I ended up getting away with a 6 there and then played solid after that.

Obviously hit a bad drive on 14 in the right trap, hit a 6 iron to 30 feet and holed a good putt and then played good from there on in, hit a 6 iron on 15 and holed the putt there.

And missed a short one on 17.

And 18, driver, wedge just short left of the green there and tried to get it close, and it went in.

Q. How far are you guessing that was, the last hole?


Q. The putt.

RETIEF GOOSEN: I don't know, it was probably about seven yards away from the flag. Just off the green on the left hand side.

Q. As cool as anybody can be out there, when you go bogey, then you go double and now you've hit it in the trap, you've got a long iron into a hole, are you telling me your heart rate doesn't go up a little bit when you're faced with that shot? And how do you sort of get the ship back after it looks like it's slipping away?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, you've just got to accept on this golf course things like that are going to happen. You're going to quickly make bogey, double bogey around this course if you hit the wrong shot at the wrong time. I just tell myself, you know, it was one bad shot and it cost you, but just I was sort of more determined after that to have a better finish, try and play solid and see if I could finish with one or two birdies maybe.

Yeah, I got lucky, finished with three birdies. Could have been four, but I felt pretty good out there today, and I probably felt better than I did yesterday out on the course, a bit more relaxed, quite enjoyed it out there, had a good round with Olin and we had fun.

Q. You're three shots up on a golf course where rallies are going to be darn near impossible, so I guess it's sort of up to you, and are you comfortable in that position? You've obviously been here before; you had the lead or a share of the lead your other two Opens on the last day.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it is nice having the lead going into the last round. You know, if it was 12 shots I probably would have been a little bit more comfortable. It's going to be a hard day out there tomorrow. The flags are going to be tucked in the most difficult positions on every hole, so I've just got to go out there tomorrow and just try and play pars on every hole, avoid mistakes like I made today. I'm going to go work on my driving a little bit now and work out why I was hitting it a bit right out there today.

Yeah, there's a lot of players in the hunt tomorrow. Anything can happen around this course. You can lose three shots very quickly around here. Yeah, I'm looking forward to the round. I'm fairly comfortable and confident, giving myself a chance out there tomorrow to win it.

Q. If you guys played courses set up like this every week, would the players become more skilled at handling these circumstances? Are we seeing golf played as good as humanly possible on a course like this?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I don't think a lot of guys want to keep playing if we keep playing courses like this every day (laughter). This is a bit tough. I think this is about as good as we can play around this course. We're lucky with the weather, we've got great weather. It's hardly any wind out there. The greens, they're keeping them alive, so the greens are sort of still stopping, nothing like they were last year.

I think we're probably doing as well as we can around this course.

Q. Historically it's been very difficult to repeat as Open champion. Have you given that any thought, the history of it, and have you given any thought to the specialness that repeating would mean?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, obviously it would be great to win this event back to back. You know, that's a long way away still, and I'm going to have to wait another 24 hours to see what happens. It would be great, obviously, to be one of those few to win a major back to back. But I don't really want to think about it yet. We know it's going to be tough out there tomorrow to stay with it.

Q. Are you really able to keep things from ever bothering you on the golf course as it seems, or are you just better at hiding it than other guys? And as an offshoot to that, what does bother you, even if it's not is there anything in the world that actually ever bothers you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: (Smiling) there's a lot of things that bothers me more off the golf course, probably not on the golf course. There's a lot of things going on on the golf course, but I probably have a good mind to just forget about it instantly. Sometimes somebody might mention something that you don't want to hear, but you've got to somehow just forget about it.

Like I said, today my mindset was very good out there. I felt very comfortable and relaxed in a way. You'll never be relaxed, but I wasn't like really shaking, let me put it that way. You're always going to be nervous and a bit shaky in this tournament and in any major, but I managed to manage my emotions and feelings well out there today.

Q. What kind of things do get to you? What bothers you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: When the kids keep me awake at night, that bothers me. Last night they were awake quite a few times, so I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. I don't know, there's lots of little things that irritate us, as anybody over here, road rage and all that kind of stuff (laughter). On the golf course, you know, you always get a bit upset if you don't play well, but I'm playing well and my mindset is well around this course, so I'm looking forward to going into tomorrow.

Q. Could you talk about the 6 iron on 14, how difficult was it? And how important was it for turning your momentum right around there?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it wasn't an easy shot. I was stuck in a down, sidehill lie, down right to left sidehill lie, and I actually had to hit a cut off that lie. Lucky the ball was lying fairly well, so I had a pretty good yardage. I think I had about 185 yards or so to the flag, and I was just trying to hit a sort of low cutty 6 iron out there. It was one of those if I hit it fat I was in the bunker in front of the green and if I hit it thin I would hit the bank in front. It came out perfect, nice little fade into the middle of the green, about 30 feet, and holed a good putt.

Q. 14, 15 and 16 have a traditionally been key stretches on this course. What has been your approach to playing those this week and what kind of impact do you think those holes may have on the leaderboard tomorrow?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I mean, these last five holes are going to be key holes tomorrow. 15 is just if you hit that green, you're happy. Today I hit a nice 6 iron in there that just ended up in a perfect position, holed a good putt.

Tomorrow it's on the right side just on top of the little ridge, which is probably the toughest place on the green, so it's going to be tough to get up and down if you do miss that green tomorrow.

16, I mean, the key there is really the tee shot. If you can hit the fairway, you've got a chance of hitting the green. I hit driver, 7 iron today.

And then sort of 17 is probably I feel it's probably the easiest green on the course to hit. It's the only green that doesn't have any of these falloffs on the side, and it's probably the biggest green on the course. In a way you feel like this is a hole that you can sort of attack a little bit.

18, obviously, once again, it's the tee shot really, how you're going to be able to hit the green for the second shot.

RAND JERRIS: Retief, thanks for your time this afternoon, and we wish you good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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