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September 29, 2004

Retief Goosen


RODDY WILLIAMS: Okay, Retief, thank you very much for coming and joining us. Welcome back to Mount Juliet Conrad where you gave it a pretty good run a couple of years ago. Nice to be back?

RETIEF GOOSEN: That's right. The golf course is in very good shape. The fairways aren't quite as good as they can be, but we're not going to have the same weather as we did two years ago, that's for sure. The course is playing much longer and much tougher than it did a few years ago.

RODDY WILLIAMS: It's obviously a course you like.

RETIEF GOOSEN: I like the course. I like the way it sets up for my game. It suits the long hitters this week. You've got to hit it out there a long way through the air because there's no run in the fairways because they're so sandy, and then the greens are soft, but they're not really sloppy so they are releasing a little bit. The long hitters will be favored around the course.

RODDY WILLIAMS: And your form coming into this week?

RETIEF GOOSEN: My form is not all that great, but things can turn around pretty quick. Two years ago coming into this tournament I wasn't playing that well and played well, so hopefully I can find something going this week. My swing is feeling a bit drawn and a bit stiff, but I'm sure I'll be fine tomorrow.

Q. Where are you fit percentage-wise?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I'm feeling very fit. I'm not as fit as I was come U.S. Open time and British Open time, because I haven't really been working out that much in the gym as much and not hitting that many balls, but I've played three events now in the last month or so. You know, it's coming back slowly. I know my swing is not 100 percent, but once you get out there on the golf course, you start hitting a few shots, the confidence comes back quickly.

Q. Are you able to work out as much as you were?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I am back in the gym a bit now and working out a little bit. Hitting the golf ball now is not a problem really. Sometimes just walking around the course I still feel it a little bit. It's nothing Advil can't cure.

Q. I apologize for this being terribly old news, but we never really got a full account in the States. What exactly happened? Did you just fall off a jet ski or did something come back and hit you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I was turning and came off the jet ski. And then coming off, I sided the jet ski while I was falling off it. I had an avulsion fracture, as they call it.

Q. Is there an English word for that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: But it's not like a complete fracture, it's where your muscle is attached to the bone, it actually pulls, and pulls a piece of bone off where it's attached to the bone.

Q. Did you struggle ashore or what happened?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I went straight back, but once I got off and started walking, it was difficult walking. That should sum things up.

Q. Did you know then that it was going to be maybe a month or so before you played again? Did you know it was that serious?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No. I went back -- I was in Orlando for a couple days. Then when I went for the X-rays and CAT scans it came up as a fracture, and then I really was just sitting around until the PGA, and then I tried to hit a couple of balls the week before the PGA and couldn't hit the ball. Then I waited another week for the NEC maybe, but didn't really -- didn't get it back during the NEC week. I've just been sitting around waiting for it to heal. That's all you can do. It's not the kind of injury you can work on really. It's something you've got to just wait for to heal.

Q. Is that the end of the jet skiing?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Definitely not. I've been jet skiing for some time and I've done it in the past. All week I was jet skiing. It just turned me a little bit wrong just one way.

Q. Where were you when you were jet skiing?


RODDY WILLIAMS: How did you play in the four rounds at Woburn?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Woburn is not my favorite course, I would say. I've never really done well around it, but I felt like I had to play just to get a bit of practicing and see if I could get my swing going a little bit. I struggled around the course the whole week really. I like this course and hopefully I'll play better this week.

Q. How miserable are you when you're not playing golf? Do you get miserable when you can't play?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I must say, sitting around for five weeks I don't miss the game. I was quite happy sitting on a couch and playing with Leo and watching TV and just relaxing really and being at home. It wasn't that I was sort of keen to get back on the golf course, no. But I'm back into a bit of a run now, six weeks, including last week, playing six tournaments in seven weeks. I'm trying to get back into the swing of things now before the end of the year.

Q. What did that make you think when you realized that you weren't anxious to get back, that you needed a break?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, maybe. You never know really. It was something nice sitting at home and doing other things besides golf, so it was great.

Q. Retirement is not looming?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, not yet, no. I've still got another 30 years to go, I think (laughter).

Q. When you were off, did you watch the Olympics and stuff?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, the Olympics were on, so that was one of the nice things. I enjoy watching the Olympics and all the different sports. It was great. Once every four years you get everything coming together like that, so it was great to watch.

Q. Do you think golf has a place in the Olympics?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, sports are supposed to be there, so maybe golf should be there. I think it would be great, golf being in there. You know, it's only once every four years. I see no reason why it shouldn't.

Q. Tennis players seem to have a sort of slightly different attitude towards the actual Olympic medal itself. The novelty factor has worn off since Los Angeles.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I don't know, maybe it's because there's no prize money involved or something like that. Yeah, it would be interesting to see what happens if golf gets into it. Maybe if it's like a team event, it will be a bit more exciting for the players, instead of it just being individual, like it would be in tennis.

Q. If they had it this year and you and Ernie did not play, that would kind of defeat the purpose, though, wouldn't it?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, me and Ernie would have definitely played. We've spoke about it before, and we thought it would be great if we could play in the Olympics.

Q. But if you had a country where the top players didn't play, it would seem like that's where basketball is headed, where tennis is headed, where the best aren't playing like they are in the other Olympic sports.

RETIEF GOOSEN: That's true. The other Olympic sports it is the best that's on the team. It's a shame if the best players don't play. It would be a shame.

Q. Is the World Cup the wrong time?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I can't play the World Cup. Tracy is expecting that week, so there's no way I can play.

Q. There's lots of players not playing. Does it just not fit in right?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Me and Ernie were very keen to play. I said to him, "you know, I can't go there and Tracy rings me and says she's on her way to the hospital, you go ahead and play." I said to him I would love to play. If it was just an individual thing, if it was just one guy play and I could just leave, but it being a team event, there's no way I could take the chance.

He said if you're not playing, I'm not going to play. And I said to him, "Well, I don't think -- I've thought about it for a couple of weeks, and I came back and said to him, "sorry, I have a week off."

Q. Given that the U.S. Tour is so demanding and so competitive, what is your read on what Vijay Singh has achieved this year so far?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, yeah, Vijay is playing the best golf of his life. He's just about playing the best golf anybody has played over the last how many years. He's on a great roll and he's playing well. You know, I'm not saying the European Tour is not easy. It doesn't matter where you play in the world these days; winning as many events as he's won is playing great golf.

Q. Padraig Harrington said that he believes Tiger Woods was still the most talented player, whereas Sergio Garcia was absolutely adamant in saying that Singh is the best player in the world, no doubt about it. How do you analyze that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, Tiger's game will come back and he will get better again, that's for sure. His game will come back very soon. Vijay is on a great roll. I can't see Tiger's game not improving again.

Q. What's your feeling, maybe excitement level, what have you, about this tournament or these series of tournaments as it was, say, in 99 and 2000, the first couple of years they got started? Has the feeling toward them changed?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I don't think so. I think the guys are excited to play this event. Pretty much our schedule gets worked out around these events and the majors, so it's definitely not an event any of the players take lightly. The guys are keen to play these events and they know it's the best players that you can pretty much find. It's not like they're taking it lightly.

Q. It seems like the uniqueness, though, of having so many different Tour players around the world together is not so unique anymore as it was in 99. I mean, it seems like you guys are all together more often.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, different Tour guys around here very much play every week. The same different Tour guys play every week in any tournament. There's a few more players here this week that have qualified through events they've won and Order of Merit and Money List and those sort of things, and you've still got some top 50 guys that have pulled out.

Q. Is that surprising that six have pulled out?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I'm sure the guys have their reasons. Vijay has his reason, Mickelson has his reasons, and if you can't make it, you can't make it.

Q. Did you hear what Mickelson's reason was?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, maybe he's just too scared to play (laughter).

Q. We haven't heard.

RETIEF GOOSEN: I don't know what his reason is. I know he's going through an equipment change and he's obviously felt like he's not ready to get going.

Q. Is South Africa getting a World Championship ever?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I would hope so. I think the sponsors are a little bit scared of getting too far away from the States. We know what happened in Australia a few years ago with Match Play, how many players pulled out, and going all the way down to South Africa, they're probably scared a similar thing might happen. But it would be great to have an event there. A lot of the guys that played in the Presidents Cup know how nice it is down there, so maybe it might change things.

Q. Did you watch the Ryder Cup?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I watched Friday night and Sunday, yeah.

Q. Did that look like the same American team you guys played at Fancourt?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Obviously the guys didn't play well at all. They played better at Fancourt than they played now. I don't know, the guys didn't mix.

Q. As simple as that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's difficult, you know. I can't really say. The guys, just whoever was put together, you sort of take a chance, who you put with who. If the two guys don't blend -- on the first few holes if you lose a bit of confidence, it's difficult to get it going, while the Europeans were just playing perfect and killed it. Next time it might be the other way around.

Q. Would you like to play Europe, the rest of the world team play Europe?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I think that would be a great idea, have sort of a round-robin thing going. I don't know if the guys want to play something like that every year. But it would be good to have a match against Europe.

Q. You mean play Europe instead of America? What's the point of that? No comment?

End of FastScripts.

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