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June 8, 2005

Retief Goosen


THE MODERATOR: We welcome Retief Goosen to the 2005 Booz Allen Classic. Retief, your first trip to this tournament. You just had a chance to play the course out here. Of course, we're playing Congressional Country Club this year. Give us your impressions on the course.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, it's a great golf course. It's playing long, you know. No roll out on the fairways, and the greens are very tricky. I mean, you hit the wrong side of the hole on these greens, you're going to have a tough time.

THE MODERATOR: Retief, four Top 10s this year, including two thirds, but you haven't knocked through the door yet, something you've been used to the last few years. Give us an assessment of your season up to this point.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's been fairly consistent, but, like you say, not really winning. I think my golf a little bit at the moment is a little bit inconsistent. I throw in a bad round in between the four rounds, and it's really costing me a chance to win on Sunday.

But I sort of feel like my swing is coming back a little bit. I started hitting a few better shots a couple of weeks ago at the PGA. So I'm looking forward to this week. I'm sort of getting over a cold I had last week now, working it out pretty quick around here, but I'll be fine come tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: I know we want to worry about this week first. But we also do have to mention you'll be defending your US Open championship next week. Thoughts on heading into that, what kind of preparation this week will do for you for next week?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I played there in '99 when Payne won, so I know the course sort of fairly well. I'm looking forward to going back there. I know I played rubbish the last time I was there, but this time I'm hoping to play a lot better.

I understand the course is in fairly good shape and it should be fun. But this week I'm not so sure there's that much preparation for next week, especially around the greens. This week it's just rough around the greens. You're not really going to learn a lot around the greens here this week.

THE MODERATOR: Well open it up to questions.

Q. Did you play here in '97?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I didn't play.

Q. What did Ernie tell you about this golf course from his experience?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I actually haven't really spoken to Ernie about it. I saw him briefly yesterday. He said to me, "What do you think of the course?" I'm was, "Yeah, it's a great golf course." It's really a major championship golf course. The greens are very tough. Driving is difficult. So, yeah, it's playing long. It's a great course.

Q. Is this US Open style rough what you see now or is it a little shorter?

RETIEF GOOSEN: At the moment it's a bit shorter. But come the weekend when it's grown another two inches, it will be thick. It's getting thicker out there by the minute with this heat and the rain we've had. So even now, you hit in the rough, you don't have much chance of getting onto the green. Come on the weekend, it's going to be chipping up.

Q. Playing a regular TOUR stop on a major championship course is fairly unusual. Does it make it more of an attraction than playing it on a TPC type layout?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I think a lot of guys are very happy to play this course. I think the guys would like to play on these type of golf courses more often. I think this is a real true test of your golf. You know, you cannot really get away with any bad part of your game around here. It's a great way to play the game.

Q. Do you see yourself playing more down the road? I'm talking two, three months down the road. Will things change?

RETIEF GOOSEN: At the moment it might. At the moment I'm playing this week, next week, then I'm back to Europe for about six weeks. Next time I'll be back here for the International. I'll play a little bit more towards the end of the year again from sort of International onwards to THE TOUR Championship, I'll be playing a lot more.

At the moment, my schedule and the way I've got everything planned, it's just about as much as I'll play, I think, 18, 19, 20 events a year. But maybe in the future I'd like to play a little bit more. But at the moment for me it's better to play the way I'm playing, a bit in Europe, a bit over here.

I like to keep supporting events around the world. I'll be going to China another two times this year to play over there, a couple events down in South Africa, and in Europe obviously.

Q. Last year the USGA came under a lot of criticism for the way Shinnecock was set up. You obviously got through it and won the championship. Do you think there are some still bad feelings among the players towards the USGA the way these US Open courses are getting so close to the edge and sometimes over the edge?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I think Shinnecock was a good setup. It's just the weather on the weekend that made it some of the holes pretty impossible. I mean, the greens got so hard and dry that the balls just weren't stopping. The first two rounds, the course was perfect. It's just on the weekend, the weather got hold of things. So, yeah, it's a fine balance. I think they didn't try and do that; they just got caught offhand.

Sometimes the players feel, yeah, we're going to get a little bit close to the edge on some of the holes. I'm sure next week there are going to be a few holes that are going to be very much on the edge. But that's how these tournaments are. They want to see somewhere around par to win.

Q. To the players resent that or do they like it that hard?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I feel the players would rather see it like that than 20 under par win it. They want to see the major championships being a little bit on the edge.

Q. How was Colin been judged in the locker room based on what happened with him?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I actually haven't spoken to Colin. I didn't see him at all during the week of the PGA. He was opposite side of the draw. I actually only found out about it the week of the PGA, what happened. So I haven't even spoken to him.

But in general, I don't know. I didn't see any footage of it or what happened. From what I understand, the ball wasn't placed in the exact position where it was. It is unfortunate. But from what I understand, he didn't even go and mark the ball. They hit the shots and then they just went off. Then the following morning, the golf ball was obviously stolen. So I don't know how close he was to the bunker or not.

Q. What is it about the game and the code of honor in the game that this has taken on such a life of its own?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I think it got blown a little bit out of proportion. Every player a lot of players had their little incidents, you know. Monty had an incident at Valderrama once, the ball maybe moving on the green that he really couldn't see because of the shadows. There was Ernie at Augusta last year that it looked like the ball might have moved. Who knows.

But, yeah, but dropping the ball back or placing the ball back, if you know you are a yard from the bunker, then you place it back a yard from the bunker. I don't really have a comment. I don't know what the situation was there.

Q. You seem very composed whether you're winning or losing. Where does that control come from?

RETIEF GOOSEN: More composed when I'm winning. Not that composed when I'm not winning. You're always trying hard out there, trying to win. I don't know. I worked on it with Jos for a while, you know, probably three years or so, or even longer, just trying to get concentration.

It's all about concentration around the course. Everybody hits the ball the same on the driving range. Once you're out on the course, it how you control your emotions under pressure.

Q. How do you keep things under control when things aren't going your way on the golf course?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, when it's not going your way, you're always bitching away at things. Why that? You know, if you keep trying every shot and it's not going your way, there's nothing else you really can do about it. Eventually the tide's got to turn and it's just got to get better.

Q. Is there any way you could talk about how winning two Opens has changed you or your life or has it?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Golf wise it's changed my life obviously with exemptions and things like that, sponsorships, I suppose. And getting recognized around the golf course, it's made a big difference. There are a lot more people out there. I sign a lot more autographs and all that kind of stuff. But it's great being recognized a lot more around the course.

And obviously winning two major championships, that's what all of us are out here trying to do, is win major championships. Hopefully I've got a couple more in the bag in the few years to come.

But off the golf course, it really hasn't changed me a lot. Family wise it's changed a lot. I had two kids since then. I've been changing a lot more nappies than any golf balls and all that kind of stuff. It's improved my golf, winning major championships. It's improved the confidence knowing what you can do out there under pressure.

Q. What is it about your game that makes you so good, such a formidable opponent in the majors? What do you think it is?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I think my driving has improved a lot over the years. I don't hit it as far as I used to hit it, but I'm hitting it a bit straighter than I used to hit it. Keeping the ball in play since sort of '92 onwards, I was starting to drive the golf ball a lot better, hitting a lot more greens in regulation, giving myself a lot more chance for birdies.

Putting, I think putting is probably the stronger part of my game. That's really where you can make up shots, is on the green by holing putts.

THE MODERATOR: We have some callers that have some questions.

Q. There's been a bit of debate going on in South Africa about the use of psychologists in the modern era of golf. You mentioned Jos a little earlier on today. I know he's been working with you since about '98, '99 on and off. As one of the world's big five now, would you say sports psychologists are or maybe should be an integral part of modern golfers' games if they aim to succeed?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I definitely think that, like I said earlier, the psychology part of the game is so important now. Ernie is still actually working with Jos. He's been working now probably two and a half years or so with Jos. And there's a lot of other players that work with psychologists around the world now.

And I think, you know, you need something to get to the next level. If you need to take your game to the next level, psychology might be the way to go. I always felt like my golf swing and all that kind of stuff was sort of there, but I was lacking maybe focusing on the golf course.

Q. Another thing I know you mentioned a couple months back, you were having problems with your clubs. I know you said after a round of golf you sometimes felt like you were hitting a good shot, the ball came up short. We noticed a little bit of inconsistency in your game. Have you sorted that out yet? Are you completely comfortable with your clubs now?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I did try the new rac irons around TPC, Bay Hill time. I put some new TaylorMade irons in my bag. I just find that the longer irons, I was hitting too high, and in windy conditions I wasn't hitting it anywhere really. So I did go back after that, before Augusta I went back to my old clubs that I played with all of last year. I've seemed to sort that out now. I've been a little more consistent with my long irons.

THE MODERATOR: We thank you very much, Retief. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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