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August 16, 2002

Retief Goosen


JULIUS MASON: Retief Goosen, ladies and gentlemen, firing a 69 today. If you would not find giving us thoughts on your round and we'll go through your card and we'll go to questions.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, played not all that great on the front nine, but really, from No. 10 onwards, played very solid. Lots of birdie chances. Obviously, 18 was just a bit of a bonus, the chip-in.

JULIUS MASON: If you can just talk about your birdies and your bogey.

RETIEF GOOSEN: On 6, I hit a 2-iron in the rough and an 8-iron in the bunker and got it out to about six feet and missed that. 7, I hit driver, 4-iron to about 30 feet and two putts. 8, I pulled it left into the trap, really had no shot, got it out to 30 feet and two putts. 10, 2-iron, 9-iron to about two feet. 11, I hit driver, 3-wood and lob-wedge to about two feet. 15, driver, 3-wood in the bunker. Blasted out to about six feet. Holed a good putt there. 18, chipped in from 8 yards.

Q. I would assume, from your score, that you like this course, but just want to know what you think of the course, and having already won a major, do you think that can, at all, help you this weekend?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, definitely. I know that I can play under the pressure. So, obviously, winning the U.S. Open last year is giving me a lot more confidence. Yeah, the weekend, I'm really looking forward to it. I'm going to give it my best shot. I understand the weather is not going to be too great, so it's going to be a bit tricky out there. Just going to really try and hang in there and keep it together and see what happens on Sunday.

Q. Last week you were talking, as I recall, the comment that basically, not a lot of people have stepped up against Tiger Woods and played him as competitively as they would like. It looks like, today, you've done that. Could you talk about the position you've got yourself in, the prospects?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, yeah. I had a great round today. Tiger is not finished yet today. He could still lead by the end of the day if he gets it going. You know, really the only chance the other players have got is when he's not really in contention, like he was last year at my U.S. Open. He never really shaped up during the whole week. I think everybody is sort of still looking where he is and keeping your eye on it, and just try and stay ahead.

Q. Was it significantly easier out there today? We saw some better scores, but overall, there's nobody that's just going crazy.

RETIEF GOOSEN: The breeze was still out there today. It was a good club-and-a-half wind out there today. This afternoon, it's obviously blowing a little bit harder now, but I think it was probably similar yesterday for the other players. It was pretty calm in the morning and then blew in the afternoon. So, overall, I think, so far, the first two rounds, everything has been pretty even. I don't think anybody has really had any sort of advantage.

Q. With your victory last year at the U.S. Open, obviously, that was a life-changing experience for you. Can you give us some idea of the highlights of your career and how you felt about playing on this tour as well as your usual international events?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, obviously, winning the U.S. Open has opened a lot of doors for me and I got into a lot events that I normally would not have got into. All of that has not changed me. I'm still the same guy and really enjoying it. It's, obviously, I think, the biggest thing that's really boosted my confidence and I've really played some good golf since then. I've really crept up the World Rankings, as well. Now, when I tee it up in a major, I feel like I have a bit of a chance trying to win it.

Q. In April, you and Ernie were playing so well, you were about the best players in the world, at the time, in your accomplishments; how do you think you are playing now compared to the way you played over the winter and into the spring?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I would say I'm not playing as well as I did last year and the beginning of the year. But, then again, I don't think I'm putting as well as I did in the beginning of the year. So, once you start making putts, everything feels like it's easy. But in these last two rounds, I've holed a few good par saves and chipped in twice, so it's been good. I haven't been striking the ball like I would have liked to but I'm keeping it in play.

Q. Are you still working with Jos?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No. Me and Jos are not working together at the moment. We just felt like it was a bit of a break between the two of us. We've been working together for two and a half years, and I just -- we just felt like a bit of a break. Things had become a little bit too similar in a way, so we decided to take a break and see how we feel from there on.

Q. Has it worked out?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, at the moment, he's done a great job with me and a lot of other players. I felt like he's done a good job with me.

Q. We had a lightning delay yesterday and given your history, do you have any demons when that happens, more so than anybody else?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, not really. I try and dig a hole somewhere on the golf course and crawl in it as quickly as possible. It doesn't bother me. I'm pretty similar to any other player. I think I don't feel comfortable when there's lightning out there. You want to get into the clubhouse or somewhere where it's safe. Luckily, it doesn't give me any nightmares or things like that. When lightning is out, I try to make my way to the clubhouse as soon as possible.

Q. Is there any sensible comparison on this course and the one you won the Open on in Oklahoma?

RETIEF GOOSEN: In a way, it is a little bit similar. A lot of up-and-down holes a little bit, quite tree-lined. It does remind me a little bit of the U.S. Open last year. It's not as hot as it was over there. In a way, yeah, it does remind me a little bit about it. I like the course. It's a great setup and very fair. Sometimes you get a bit of a lucky lie in the rough and you can maybe get it out to the front of the green. So, it's nothing nearly as tough as it was at Bethpage.

Q. The problems you had on Sunday at Augusta, was that related to playing with Tiger or was it mechanical in nature?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I think it was mainly mechanical. I know I had been struggling with my swing a little bit that whole week. I was just putting unbelievable. I holed everything from everywhere, and that got me going. In the last round, I had iron shots, the first few holes, that it was nearly impossible to 2-putt from. So, three 3-putts and that was me out of there. So, I tried to hang in there and just try and finish the best I could. It was nice to end up second.

Q. Where do you think you rank in terms of length and how do you think this course does in terms of favoring line hitters versus charge hitters?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I'm not really a very long driver anymore. I would say I'm fairly long in my irons, but I'm not driving it my full length, so I'm not really hitting it like I normally can. I think the course is not really set up for just long hitters. I think it's set up for short hitters. Fred Funk is right up there, quite a short hitter. Most of the par 5s, you can hardly reach anyway. The way the wind is playing today, you can reach 7 and 15. Yeah, the other two has got no chance. So the course is set up really for the whole field. I don't think it's been favoring anybody.

Q. When did you decide to take a break from Jos?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It was about three weeks ago, we decided to have a little bit of a break.

JULIUS MASON: Questions? Retief Goosen.


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