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April 20, 2005

Retief Goosen


CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Ladies and gentlemen, we have Retief Goosen. Retief, thanks for coming in and welcome to the Johnnie Walker Classic.


CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Being a former winner of the event, I'm sure you're looking forward to this week in Beijing.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, we have a very good field here this week. The golf course is in great condition, so just need it to warm up a little bit and everything will be good.

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: You've had a pretty good start to the year so far, third at the Masters, can you just talk us through that and your expectations this season?

RETIEF GOOSEN: You know, I would have liked to have won some tournaments this year already, but my golf probably hasn't been as good as I would like it to be.

You know, I think my golf is getting better and better, so I'm looking forward to this week to see if I can maybe win this Johnnie Walker.

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: This week being one of the very rare events which is trisanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Australian Tour, can you talk about this event bringing all three of the Tours together?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I think it's a great idea to have, you know, everybody come together and create a very good golf tournament. I think it's the way to do it, and that way you get all of the best players of every continent playing in the tournament.

Q. Do you think your father has helped you in your game during your career?

RETIEF GOOSEN: My father, yeah, he's been, you know, since I started playing golf, he supported me in the game. He sort of teached me a little bit about the game, as well. Yeah, I would say my father has been the biggest influence on my game. You know, got me into the game and he was a very good golfer himself at one stage, so he teached me the right things.

Q. Last week you played the Tiger Skins with Grace Park, and some women have played on the PGA TOUR; for the players, what do you think and would you like to give them some advice about it?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I think ladies who want to play on the PGA TOUR, I think in general the players feel that it's not the right thing. If they qualify for the tournament, they go through qualifying school or something like that, then it's fine. But just to keep giving invites away is probably not the right thing.

But like the Tiger Skins last weekend, it was good. It was good to get Grace to play. It was good fun. In a way, you know, people want to see the ladies play with the men, as well. But small events like that for charity, I think it's a very good idea.

Q. Can you give us your thoughts about the golf course this week, the setup, and does it suit your game?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, the golf course, like I said, it's in very good condition. I like Jack Nicklaus golf courses. I like the design. Yesterday I only played nine holes and didn't play the other nine, but from what I've seen, it's very good and I'm looking forward to the week.

Q. Welcome to China first, and I have a question. Golf is a relatively new sport in China, and you are an international player, a world-class international player. What suggestions do you have to Chinese players?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, like you say, golf is fairly new over here. You know, golf courses are being built very fast over here, probably one every day. You know, I think at the moment membership and that kind of stuff are very expensive in China, so it's not easy for everybody just to become a member and start playing golf.

So at the moment, it's still a very elite sport, and I'm not sure what sort of junior program there is in China. But it's great to see that golf is doing so well in China, and we're looking forward in the future that we'll have a very good Chinese champion player.

Q. It's very windy today. Do you think the weather will be very challenging for you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, hopefully by tomorrow, the wind stops. (Laughing).

Yeah, it's very difficult, this cold wind is very difficult. Hopefully, you know, by tomorrow a little bit softer wind, but I enjoy it when there's challenging conditions. It's not easy and the best players will come up the rankings when it's difficult conditions.

Q. In your golfing life, you've probably had many shots; what are your best shots that you've had?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I don't know, really. I've hit a lot of good shots. You know, sometimes it might not be a good shot; it might be a good putt. I would say last year at the U.S. Open at No. 17 at Shinnecock, I had a very difficult putt down the hill, and I one-putted to go two shots ahead of Phil Mickelson. So I would say that's one of the best pressure and important putts I've made to make me win the tournament.

Q. While you are here, will you be enjoying Beijing?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Friday I will be going to the Wall.

Q. Speaking of champions coming through, you talk about Chinese champions. The development of South African golf these days has been great; yourself and Ernie Els and other players, do you see development of the other 9/10ths of the population of South Africa, some good black champions coming through in the future?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, there's a few very good players coming through now. Obviously Charl Schwartzel is one of the young South Africans that's just won on the European Tour.

You know, we try hard. I have my own academy down in South Africa as well that I try and pick up, you know, the best possible juniors out of school. It could be black schools, white schools; they all can come to the academy and we try and get the best juniors. Ernie Els has got a big academy down there that he's trying to help out with the juniors. So in my academy I know there's a couple of guys that are pretty good and have done well in amateur tournaments and junior tournaments down in South Africa. I think there's some good players, a few good players who will come out in the next few years.

Q. According to your wife you used to be an active thinker not only in your game but your life, and ever since you've been working on that issue things have changed a lot. Do you consider yourself a thinker at the moment?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I knew that my golf swing was always pretty good. I worked with a swing coach for quite some time, with Sam Frost, and about six years ago, I decided not to work with a swing coach anymore because I felt, I knew that my mental side of the game wasn't strong enough and that's when I started working with Jos Vanstiphout, the psychologist on Tour, and we worked for about three years on the mental side of the game. That's how I improved my golf. I think my mental side of the game is a lot better on the golf course than it used to be. He's helped me out, and I know Ernie has been using him as well now for the last two years or so. I think the mental side of the game is very, very important.

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Retief, thanks for coming in and good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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