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October 27, 2004

Retief Goosen


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Chrysler Championship defending champion Retief Goosen, thank you for joining us for a couple minutes this morning. You've had a solid year, U.S. Open win, one win in Europe and 1th on the PGA TOUR money list. If we could maybe just talk about your season so far and then talk a little bit about coming back to Tampa this week to play at the Chrysler Championship.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, yeah, it's nice to be back. It's been a while. U.S. Open was the last time I was back here, so I'm looking forward to the week. The golf course is in good shape, and we're going to have some nice weather for a change, as well.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Despite missing some time due to an injury, talk about your season. Like I said, phenomenal year capped by a U.S. Open win.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, obviously whenever you've won a major you've had a great year, and I had a nice win in Europe, as well, and I played well at the British Open except the last round. Overall the golf was good, but yeah, I've obviously had an injury and it's put me back a little bit, but I feel like I'm fit again now. I've been working out again, and it's just getting the golf swing back in shape, that's all.

Q. The timing of the injury, not that you would ever want to get injured, but the timing seemed to be particularly bad in that you had been playing so well.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it was unfortunate, but you need to take some time out now and then. It put me back probably six weeks or so I didn't play golf, but it was a good rest. I felt like maybe I needed it, although it wasn't something I planned.

I'm sort of keen to get going again now and looking forward to the last few events and looking forward to starting next year from Mercedes onwards.

Q. Can you discuss how the injury happened and what exactly it was?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I'd been jet skiing pretty much every day on a holiday, and then the second-to-last day I just caught a wave wrong and got thrown off. I don't know how it happened really, but I picked up an avulsion fracture in my pelvis. I pretty much knew when I came off that something was not feeling all that great, and I went back and struggled to walk. That was it for me. I had some X-rays done and it showed up, so you can't really do anything but just sit around and wait for it to heal.

Q. It's one thing to win one U.S. Open Championship. To do it twice, how has that changed your life and your career?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I don't think it's changed anything. Like I say, I haven't really been back here since I won the U.S. Open, so I haven't really had a chance to see the reaction of the people. Unfortunately it's a bit late in the year to probably see that. They've probably forgotten it by now (laughter).

I'm keen for this week and next week and then I'll be back for the beginning of next year. I'm planning on playing a little bit more over here next year, so it will be nice to have a good run next year.

Q. Just the way you won this U.S. Open, what do you take out of that, the final day, the putts you kept making and the duel with Phil? What do you take away from that as a player and how is that going to help you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, in a way it was nice to win it on a Sunday this time and not on a Monday. The first one is just as tough as the second one, and they don't get any easier to win.

It was great. I played well, and obviously on the back nine I made a few mistakes and holed a few putts to stay in it and just kept grinding away, and that's what you need to do on a tough golf course. I was just lucky Phil made the mistake on 17 and it won me the tournament.

Q. How long was it before you were able to hit balls after the accident?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I tried to hit a few balls the weekend before the PGA, just to see if I -- by then I had pulled out of The International, and I couldn't hit the ball. I pretty much then packed my bags and went back to London really and just sat around there until I felt like I was ready to play again and could hit the ball. Starting to hit the ball was not that bad actually, but actually walking around the golf course was a bit of a problem.

First of all, I struggled to walk 18 holes, especially on hilly courses, but now it's fine. I still feel it now and then, but in general it's not a problem.

Q. Assess where your game is at compared to where you left it at the Open.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, you know, it's a fine line between playing really well and playing well. You've just got to hit the right shots at the right time. I think I'm hitting the ball pretty well. I don't think my iron play is quite up to standard yet. I think my driving is good. If I can just get the irons a bit closer to the flags to give myself some more birdie chances then I'll have a chance to win.

Q. You said you're going to play here more next year. I'm curious what your thoughts are on Ernie and the whole situation. Do you think it's important for guys like yourself to be able to travel around the world and play in the events you want to play in?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's a bit of a touchy subject at the moment. I think we're pretty much having a meeting next week with Tim and Sid Wilson to schedule things. Some of the players just don't feel it's quite right that certain players are getting forced to play 20 events and other players don't have to play 20 events. It's something that just needs to be clarified why certain players are expected to play more than others.

You know, we are expected to play 20 events and other players are expected to play 15 events. That's something that just needs to be sorted out.

Q. What has been said about this course and how much players enjoy playing it compared to other PGA courses in Florida? Where does it rank for you and what are your thoughts on the Copperhead?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, it's a great golf course. Everybody you talked to say it's probably one of the Top 10 courses they play on the Tour. I would agree with that. It's a golf course that's -- it'll find out if you're not playing your best, and I haven't played the golf course since last year, and I hear there's been a few changes and a few holes have been lengthened and a few bunkers, so it's going to be interesting this afternoon to see what it looks like, but I hear it's in very good shape.

Q. This is the second time in five years that you've missed some time because of a skiing injury, although I gather the first one was snow skiing and not jet skiing. Is there a daredevil streak that doesn't show up in you on the golf course? Are you a bit of an adrenaline junkie?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I like to do things properly, and when I come off, I come off properly, I suppose. I don't know, I've always been wanting to try to do something to my fullest, but I'm obviously getting to an age where I can't handle it anymore. I suppose I'll be a little bit more careful from now on.

You know, you've got to take some time out and do some other things, too, not just play golf.

Q. Will you keep doing those type of things?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I'm thinking of buying a jet ski actually (laughter). I'm really looking forward to getting back on and water skiing, as well. I enjoy my water skiing and all that kind of stuff.

Q. Do you desire to be No. 1 in the World Rankings?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I think every player teeing it up every week would like to be No. 1 at one stage in his career. It's something we all play for is to be the best player out there and play the best you can. If it happens, it happens. I'm going to have to win a few more majors and a few more events like Vijay to catch up, and if I happen to be No. 1 one day, it'll be a great feeling.

Q. Were you ever worried that you couldn't get back into the game after you hurt yourself and keep going? Do you ever feel like the next one is going to hurt you even more and you're afraid you won't be able to get back into the game?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, yeah. You know, when I got off the jet ski and I was sort of struggling to walk 30 yards. It was a bit worrying thinking in a this could be something that could niggle me for some time, but I was lucky that it showed up on X-ray, nothing too serious, and it was just a matter of time waiting for it to heal up. That's something you've got to be careful with.

I know there's a few other players that have come off jet skis and snowmobiles and other things and hurt themselves, so yeah, it's quite scary when it happens to you.

Q. What do you think the reason is that the international players have been so successful this year on the Tour and you have so many of them in the Tour Championship next year? I think there's a record amount. Any thoughts on that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I think it just shows that world golf is improving. With me and Ernie playing all around the world, if we won a tournament anywhere else in the world you would know you've played extremely well because competition is so strong wherever you play.

You know, the guys are playing better and better golf courses out in Europe now, and we're trying to work the schedule out that we play in better times of the year, as well, for better weather, so when I come over here, it doesn't feel too alien. It shows it now that there's so many good players coming up from around the world.

Q. You were mentioning your schedule earlier, and obviously there's pressure on you to play here, but there must be pressure on you to play in Europe, as well. Do you ever feel like you can't win; you play here, somebody is upset there; you play there, somebody is upset here?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, that's true. When you first get on Tour, you don't care how many tournaments you play. I was playing 33, 34 tournaments a year. This year obviously I couldn't make the 20 events because of the injury, so I lost four events there.

I don't think I'll be changing my schedule to play any less than 20 anyway. I always work it out so that events I want to play just happen to add up to about 20 events anyway. You know, I would like to keep supporting events around the world, as well, and play a few events in the Far East and even in South Africa, so it's something we have to look at. It's the players that don't want to play that amount of events over here. I think it's just going to have to be a little bit more fair on everybody. I mean, Tiger doesn't even play 20 events, so I don't know why some of the international players have to be forced to play 20 events plus whatever they want to play around the world.

Q. I'm sorry, but I know that the injury kept you away, but was it your plan to play 20, and are you required to play 20?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I was looking at playing 20 events. I missed out on The International, the PGA, the NEC, and I didn't play Disney last week, so those are the four events I was planning to play that I couldn't make.

Q. What's your home Tour?

RETIEF GOOSEN: The European Tour is my home Tour.

Q. When you play over here, do you have to get releases from the European Tour?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, pretty much when I play over here I have to get releases there, and when I play in Europe I have to get releases from here. Wherever I want to tee it up I have to ask somebody if I can play. It's quite scary.

Q. Here it's you get three releases for 15 and one for the extra five. What are the numbers that you have to play over there?

RETIEF GOOSEN: To keep your card you have to play 11.

Q. How many releases do you get over there?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, if I play my 20 over here I get seven over there. If I don't, then two, I think. I can't even make up my 11 events.

End of FastScripts.

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