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November 10, 2002

Retief Goosen


GORDON SIMPSON: Well, Retief, I don't think it's premature to say congratulations on a second consecutive Volvo Order of Merit. So now you have two and only five more to go to catch Monty.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, that's for sure. I don't think I'll be playing golf that long still. Yeah, so for, it looks like I might just pull it through. So we'll wait till he's done.

But it's been pretty disappointing for the two of us, I think the way we played this last couple of weeks, I suppose. Especially me, I haven't really played any good, really, last six months, besides the American Express tournament where I finished second.

Yeah, I think it's been disappointing this week for the two of us, not quite getting our game going, having a little bit more of a real contest at it. But, I mean, if it's going to be good enough, it's going to be good enough.

GORDON SIMPSON: You've spent the last year as Europe's official No. 1. Does that really make a big difference in your own personal terms and career terms to be rated that way?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, definitely. You know whenever you win a tournament, you try and defend it. If you defend it, it feels great. So you've got to play well for a year or to defend this title so, it's great to come through and pull it off.

So, obviously, next year, I'll have to try and do it again, but I'll probably be cutting back on my schedule on both sides of the year and in America. So, it's going to play a little bit less.

GORDON SIMPSON: Is that due to impending fatherhood?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, Tracy is expecting in March. Also, I played pretty hard now and a lot of golf the last four years. So I think I'll take it a little bit easier the next couple of years.

Q. How much time off will you take?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I'm not quite sure now. With the baby coming up now and so on how it's going to work out, how many events I will take off. But, I would probably cut back about four or five events probably on the European Tour and probably try and do pretty much the same on the U.S. Tour as I've done this year, maybe one more.

I'll be playing all of the world events in a majors, obviously, and the bigger events on the European Tour. But, I'm not going to be playing as much.

Q. How many this year?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It's going to be a lot. It's 22 over here and -- otherwise that's seven or so if you take away the majors. It's going to be close to 33, 34 tournaments that I've played world-wide.

Q. (Inaudible)?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Not necessarily. Luckily, majors and the world wins counts for both Orders of Merit. So, if you can do well on those like I've done in the Masters this year, that really pushes you up on the Money List over here and gave me pretty much a good chance of winning it over here again the same as it was last year with the U.S. Open.

Q. Did you find yourself tiring during the year?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I've been travelling a lot and trying to work my schedule out so that I don't travel too much across the Atlantic next year and try and work out that I'm five weeks over there, five weeks over here and I don't have to fly back and forth week-in and week-out.

Q. Did you suffer badly from jet lag?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, not normally. I'm pretty good with it. It's just been a lot of golf of late. I've played so many events in the last few weeks and I've still got a couple to go.

So, I'm looking forward to when December comes.

Q. Will you be playing more in Europe?

RETIEF GOOSEN: That's the plan.

Q. And obviously when the baby comes?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I'm pretty much planning taking all of March off anyway. I'll be having a month break there, middle of March.

I'll definitely be back -- I'm going to try and be back for the TPC in Jacksonville. That was the next time I'll try and be back. But I'll definitely be back for the BellSouth and the Masters.

Q. Was there an event or a run of events where you thought this is getting a bit ridiculous?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, it there was a point that I was getting tired, but I knew I had to keep going. I was playing a lot of golf and trying --

Q. When was that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: A bit over the last couple of months.

Q. Do you work out in a gym during the off -season?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I've been working very hard in the gym as well. This week I haven't. I've been too tired. You know, when you play golf every day and work in a gym five nights as week as well, that does get a bit tiring.

Q. A bit of an edge crept into the race between you and Padraig, the remarks you made about him in Madrid, did you manage to square that and was that sort of a tactical thing?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Me and Padraig sorted it all out now. There's no hard feelings. We know where we stand.

Q. Why did you say that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It's all end of the story now. It's been said and done and written about in ways that I don't like, but it's something I shouldn't have said and I have apologised to him. We know where we stand.

Q. How do you think you've developed as a golfer compared to last year?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I definitely played a lot better last year than I did this year. I was consistent this year, and I didn't have as many good rounds. I think this year my third round scores were worse than it was last year. Last year I seem to have made my moves on the third round and this year I seemed to move back on the third round.

You know, to come out on top this week, I consider myself quite lucky. Padraig was playing really well and I thought that he would definitely pull it off in the few events he played over here in Madrid, after a good start, and obviously Italy. I think I got lucky in Italy because it got rained out and was a three-round tournament, and then this week we both struggled.

Q. What was the high point of the year for you, BellSouth?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, obviously, the BellSouth. I think the Masters, although that was disappointing, I didn't play so well in the last round. But finishing second there was not too bad and obviously winning the Order of Merit again would be the highlight of the year.

GORDON SIMPSON: At the Johnnie Walker, you played well, didn't you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: That's about the only third round I've played well this year.

Q. The tiredness, is it your enthusiasm or you just aren't feeling as enthusiastic on the first tee or how does it hit you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I felt keen, you know. I tried hard on every shot this week. It was one of those weeks where every shot I hit found just trouble. I've been struggling with my swing a lot as well, and it got very windy and that made if even worse. A bad shot turns out even worse. I played a lot better today and kept grinding. I once again started with a double-drop on the third hole there. From there on, I hung on pretty well to end up shooting over par. At least I finished it off with a reasonable round.

Q. Was it Singapore and Sun City and that's it for the year?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Tiger's tournament after Sun City. I'll be going to L.A.

Q. Would winning two Orders of Merit in a row, would that be just behind the U.S. Open in your career highlights?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, definitely. Winning any Order of Merit anywhere in the world, you've got to play really well. The standard of the European Tour has improved so much over the years now. You know when you've won it that you've had a very good year.

Like I said, obviously the world events and the majors helps a lot for the players that can get into those events and do well in them. It gives them a bit more of a chance of winning than the guys who can't get into those events. I think in the past they didn't count those toward the Order of Merit, so you have to play really well in Europe every week when you play.

Q. Will a third in a row be a goal next year?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I think so, yes. Obviously I'm going to try to do it again next year. But the standard of golf now is so good in Europe and world-wide, you have so many first time winners on the Tour here and in America, so it's really tough to do it anyway now.

Q. Are you surprised to be No. 1 with only one European Tour victory?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah. Last year, I won quite a few. Though I'm you are surprised, like I said that I am still on top. But I think those two events that I finished second in really helped me to get where I am now.

Q. How do you celebrate? Do you get drunk or do the champagne thing?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I've got some friends that came over on Friday night to come and support me on the weekend. There's a few of us. Tonight we'll have a few drinks on the plane on the way back; do it the Australian way a few Heinekens or something like that. I think we'll definitely have a few drinks tonight.

Q. Is there a bonus in your contract for the Order of Merit?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, unfortunately IMG -- (Laughter) -- I think everything these days strictly goes pretty much on World Rankings. I think World Rankings or more important now than when you finish on the Order of Merit, especially, anyway. You know, to end of the year is something special.

GORDON SIMPSON: Congratulations again. Great performance to retain the title. Well done, Retief.

End of FastScripts....

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