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November 5, 2003

Retief Goosen


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Congratulations on winning the Chrysler Championship last week and now coming to the Tour Championship, playing in your second one. If you could talk about the course.

RETIEF GOOSEN: The golf course is great. It's very good conditioned. And it all depends how the weather is going to be this week. In a way I feel like scoring can go quite low if the wind doesn't pick up. If it plays like it was yesterday it will be.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You won earlier in Europe this season won the Trophee Lancome and winning last week turned a good season in a great one. Maybe talk about your expectations for this week.

RETIEF GOOSEN: It would be great to keep it going this week. Obviously I'm feeling quite confident about my game. If I can just keep going this week, I got a feeling I'll be up there on Sunday.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Last question before we go into some other questions. In a few weeks we've got an event coming up in South Africa, the Presidents Cup. Maybe just talk for a little bit about that.

THE WITNESS: I'm really looking forward to going back there. I've not played this golf course, but I played the other courses around that estate. And it's going to be great. A lot of people are talking about it. I know my brothers and my parents are all very excited and can't wait for the Cup to arrive.

Q. It seems like guys who win kind of tend to go one of two ways, either get on a roll for awhile or they have trouble getting their feet back on the ground after their win. I'm just wondering what your history has been when you've won. Have you felt like that generates momentum for you for awhile or has it been hard for you to get back to it?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Sometimes some players find it, after they have won a tournament, mentally-wise, they're quite tired. And for me in the past I've never really done all that great after I won a tournament. But I feel like I'm sort of playing well enough and I had a good little bit of rest the last couple of days. So today I'm not going to play, I'm just going to do some practicing and I feel I'll be ready for tomorrow when it comes.

Q. Did you do pretty well at the Master's after you won in Atlanta that one year, though?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I did. I finished second there. Yeah, I think that it's obviously a momentum thing. If you go in a week playing well you've got a much better chance of doing well, I think than going into a week when you've played bad the week before. So I'm definitely very confident about my game at the moment and putting and everything that goes with it.

Q. I was looking at your stats and you rank very high on this TOUR in driving distance and pretty poorly in driving accuracy. Is that a reflection of how you feel you've played this year?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I suppose driving has never been the strongest part of my game. Although it's been better than it's been in the past. A lot of my drives just go off into the semi-rough or something like that and don't fly way out there. But my driving has definitely improved a little bit. Distance, yeah, I think I gained a little bit of distance in the last year. I'm doing some exercises and stuff to try and strengthen up a little bit. The driver I'm using I'm very confident with it now and I feel like my driving is getting better and better every year.

Q. I think Tiger said you'll be able to use driver here whenever you like. Is that going to help the long hitters?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It is. A lot of the holes are pretty straight out there, if you hit it too high and you know you're going to have a 6-iron. But if you take a chance with a driver you can hit wedge in. I think it all really depends where the pins are on the greens, as well. Because they're so big. If the pin's on the front you can probably lay back with a 2-iron or 3-iron and a 3-wood and hit a 9-iron in. But it depends if the pin is in the back, you know, that's 40 yards. So an extra four clubs. Then you have to try to get to the pin.

Q. How would you say this golf course sets up for Vijay?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I think it sets up great for him. The way he's playing, he can play any golf course. I think all 30 guys here that's playing this week can play any golf course. You've just got to hit the shot that you see. And that's it. I think the course is suitable for everybody in this field. There's a lot of holes out there that you feel like you probably have to hit a draw. I know Vijay likes to maybe fade the ball a little bit. So in a way it sets up very well for Tiger because he hits the ball right-to-left.

Q. As a guy who has kind of floated back and forth on different tours, playing Europe, a lot here, what is your take on the Player of the Year race here?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I'm not really going to say anything. I think we'll just have to wait and see what happens this week. I think if Tiger wins it, and Vijay finishes second, it's going to be a very tough decision. So maybe they both should get Player of the Year.

Q. At Copperhead last week, the players said it was penal, the rough was tough. And it seemed to be your type of golf course. How much do you feel that benefited you winning over there and coming to what looks to me kind of a similar type golf course?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I would say the rough is very similar to last week, this week. I don't know. I prefer the tougher courses. I feel like par is never a bad score on some of the holes. And that's the way I like it. I don't like it really when it's 25 under or something like that that wins the tournament. I prefer to play it more to a bit of a grinding and patient type golf course.

Q. How do you think this course fits in that way? You talked about you felt like there might be some low scores to be had if it stays calm.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, especially last week it was windy. So it made the golf course really feel that much tougher. I think that if there was no wind, scoring would have been even lower. But this week, the way it was yesterday, not a breath of wind, every tee shot and iron shot was just pretty much hit for the yardage and that's it. But if it's going to get breezy around here, I mean it's very tree lined and it gets tricky to judge clubs. And it changes the whole golf course. The weather has so much to do with it.

Q. I know I've asked you this question before, but this year playing the two tours, and you opted to go to Copperhead last week, just to make sure that you get in here. But against like Sergio, who didn't make it because he was, some people say, well, he fell between two stools, do you still feel that you can continue to do it?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, definitely. I think I definitely will still play both tours next year. I'm going to play a couple more extra events over here. Merely because we start off at Mercedes and Sony and so on. And obviously I would like to go and defend Chrysler as well. So I'm going to probably be in between Volvo Masters. But it all depends how I'm doing on the Money List in Europe as well. But I want to keep traveling back and forth and play the way I played the last few years. It seems to suit my game a little bit. If I just work my schedule out right, it's not too tiring.

Q. How much have you paid attention to the Ryder Cup the last three, four times?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I've watched quite a bit of it. Not every shot of it, no.

Q. How do you think this team you've got now matches up to other teams that the U.S. has played over the last say 10 years?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, we got a great team. If you look at how the guys have been playing, everybody's been playing great. It's going to be a tight one. I would say it's probably one of the strongest international teams I think that we have had for awhile.

Q. Do you think it's fair to say that on paper it's almost even, it's a push?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I would say so, yeah.

Q. I think we're going to get killed.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I don't think there will be any runaway victory this time. I think it's going to be really tight and come down pretty much to the Sunday singles.

Q. Why do you think there have been runaways? You were in Melbourne, weren't you?


Q. You didn't play Melbourne but it was a runaway there.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I don't know. They ran away in Melbourne and then last time the other way around. It comes down to those foursomes and better balls and those first two days. If you can get a good lead going there, I mean it's really, for the other side, it's such a tough thing to try and make up so many points and so much more added pressure on you.

Q. Ernie was quoted as saying last year after you guys got beat, We'll see how much this Cup means to the Americans in two years time. Which makes this three years' time. Do you get a sense of that, that the Presidents Cup means more to the international side than it does to the American side?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I would think so, yeah. I would think that it would, they would put the Presidents Cup second. The Ryder Cup's been around for so much longer time. I feel that the Presidents Cup is definitely picking up there and becoming very much, a very important tournament for them, because they feel like the team like they're playing against might be stronger than the European side. But like I said, all these guys can play and any side can play against it is going to be tough to beat.

Q. Have you ever heard comments that the Americans put more effort into the Ryder Cup than they do into the Presidents Cup, and do you take offense to that when you hear it?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I don't think so. I think the guys are all very serious and they want to win. You don't want to go and play any sort of team event and not care about it. When the guys tee it up on Thursday, they want to win.

Q. And lastly, and I'll get off this subject here, but if you were the captain of the United States team, who would you partner with Tiger?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I think all 10 other guys on the side would love to play with Tiger. I don't think there's one guy that doesn't want to play with him. But it might not necessarily be the next best player on the side to play with him. I'm sure they will try and spread the strength out over the whole team.

Q. Who do you think would be a good fit with him, I guess is what I'm saying? Don't dance around it this time.

RETIEF GOOSEN: I don't know. You have to really sit down and think that one over. I don't think they will put two long hitters together. So I think you're probably leaning towards maybe more of a bit of a shorter hitter that they will put with Tiger.

Q. A shorter hitter with him?


Q. There's been a lot of media band wagon jumping on saying that Vijay is now Tiger's biggest rival. I'm wondering if you think long-term Ernie is still Tiger's biggest rival, especially in the Majors.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I don't think that it's necessarily those two guys that will be Tiger's biggest rivals. I think there's a lot of other guys really coming up and playing better. Charles Howell and a few other players that's great players that could possibly become even better than Tiger or I mean Vijay and Ernie. So I don't know if really those two guys would be the guys. But if I have to pick one I would say Ernie is probably going to be the guy that's going to be out there more giving Tiger a hard time.

Q. Why do you think that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I don't know -- especially in the Majors -- I don't know. I think Ernie is sort of getting just right in there. Sort of in a good frame of mind in his whole life-style at the moment. And I think that he's very geared up and I think this year showed it how he feels about his game and just everything around it. And he's now ready just to get out there and play golf again.

Q. Do you think it's important in terms of the sport and its popularity and the fan base and all that, for him to have a guy that can occasionally stand up to him and beat him, because we haven't had that. We have worked through Duval and thought it was going to be Sergio for a while and Ernie's gone like this a couple times. Now Mickelson has fallen back. Vijay's the latest guy to stick his foot in the door.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Definitely. There will be somebody coming in every year to try and really make things difficult for him.

Q. You think Charles Howell could be a bigger threat to Tiger's dominance long-term than Ernie, do you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, yeah, if you look at age there. Charles is what? Probably 10 years younger than Ernie. If you give Charles six years or so to mature into his game, by then myself and Ernie are thinking about the Champions TOUR and all that kind of thing. So I think that age has a lot to do with it. But as of now, I think that Ernie and Vijay and really those top-10 guys are the guys that will be out there trying to win it.

Q. And which of those other young players really impress you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, it's difficult to really pick something straight over. Obviously you look at a young guy, Aaron Baddeley, Charles Howell and I think the young guy, he's on the European TOUR now, Charles Watson, that's only 18 years old and a really good golfer and very focused in what he's trying to do. And I think that he's a guy that's going to really come up and it won't be long before he's up there.

Q. How about Adam Scott?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Obviously Adam Scott as well. I mean Adam is very mature for his age. And he knows what he wants to do.

Q. You're one of those guys in the top-10 in the world, how far do you think you are from being part of that conversation?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, hopefully next year. I feel like my game's getting better all the time. I'm learning a little bit more about myself and the swing out there. I'm sure next year I feel like I'm going to be a little bit more ready than I was this year.

Q. Do you think bouncing back from tours has been a barrier to you or does it help you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I think it's good for you. Playing different courses and different climates. You just have to work out your schedule properly. It's definitely not holding me back from becoming a good player.

Q. Some of the players out there this week will be the same you guys could see in two weeks time. Is there anything you can learn or keep an eye out for in the next couple of weeks to, when you're head to head with some of the American players?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I don't think so. Match play is so much of a different game than stroke play. A lot more aggressive. Obviously you have your team thing there between you and better ball and foursomes that you have to work out carefully between whoever you play with. But I don't think you can learn a lot this week, no.

Q. Can you send a message?


Q. Can you send a message?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I don't think so, no. You might play rubbish this week, but it doesn't mean you're going to play bad in a couple weeks time.

Q. Gary Planos ever call you from Kapalua?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, he sent an e-mail. He's very happy. It looks like it's turning out to be a nice field down there for him.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Anything else? Retief, thank you very much. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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