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April 3, 2003

Retief Goosen


TODD BUDNICK: Retief, thank you for joining us. You started off with a 4-under 68. You got off to a great start with a birdie but then had a bogey. Tell us what happened.

RETIEF GOOSEN: I drove an 8-iron on the first to about four feet. Then hit a pretty poor 9-iron next into the bunker didn't get up-and-down.

From there, I played pretty solid. I drove the ball good today, really only two bad drives. On the back nine, I hit driver, 2-iron just over the back on No. 10, chipped out to about five feet.

Drove it on the green on 13 and 2-putted from about 30 feet.

Hit a nice 6-iron to ten feet on 16.

Driver, wedge to probably six feet on 17.

TODD BUDNICK: The course is playing a little different than last year, a little tougher.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Definitely. The greens are getting rock hard. A few holes, you have to land it 15 yards short of the flag to get it to stop. It's certainly a different golf course than what it was last year.

Q. Do you just like this course so much, doesn't matter what kind of conditions there are, you just own this place?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I obviously feel pretty comfortable around this course. I like the way it sets up for me, and I like the greens. I seem to read the greens very well.

But, yeah, the course is playing totally different this year. Although it's playing shorter and the fairways are running. The greens are much more difficult to get close to the flags.

Q. What kind of conditions do you think favor your game the most? Obviously, when you're playing well, it doesn't matter, but is there a certain style, hard and fast?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I prefer the firmer greens. Soft greens, I always have a problem with putting it too much. I prefer the firmer greens.

Q. Even at Augusta, it was a little softer than this probably?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, Augusta it probably was like this the first couple of days before the rains came.

Q. How does it change your approach, do you have to back off? How do you approach the course when the greens are like this?

RETIEF GOOSEN: When the greens seem this perfect, it's not like last year where you just fly it straight at the flag. You have to really work the ball a little bit more and try and land it more on the right side of the flag and hope it bounces over. There's a lot of holes out there that's going to be impossible to get it on the green, but I would say No. 10 today would be probably an impossible tee.

Q. So you add a little caution to your approach?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, you've got to try to keep it -- the greens are really speeding up. You'd rather have a 25-footer up the hill than that 10-footer down the hill with a big break. Some of the greens are getting very hard and fast now.

Q. Was it like this yesterday?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yesterday they were pretty fast but nothing like they are today. Tomorrow is probably going to be even worse.

Q. Does it sort of separate the shot-makers?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I think so. There won't be anybody just running away with it. Keeps the field bunched up, and the better players go to the top.

End of FastScripts....

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