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April 6, 2002

Retief Goosen


TODD BUDNICK: Retief, 4-under 68, 14-under for the tournament. Tell us about your day today.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, the flags were much tougher, and the breeze was more today than it was the first two rounds. But the greens is also get rock hard, so some of the flags were really impossible to get to. I know No. 10 was impossible, even just with a sand wedge. But overall, I putted great today. That was the main thing. Like I said last few days, I've been putting nicely. Not hitting the ball all that well. So if you can make a few putts, you know, you can still score, and that's been the way I am now.

Q. I know you didn't finish as well as would you like, but still had a good round; is that a disappointment or are you happy with what you did earlier; or do you take the round in a totality and just be happy about a net gain?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I'm happy about the overall round. You know if someone told me I'm going to have a 68 today, I would have taken it. I'm disappointed about finish. I suppose 18, I thought I hit a very good third in; I just hit it too far right.

I'm pretty happy where I am. I've been playing not all that well this week at all, but like I said, I've been putting great, and that's been why I am where I am.

But I'm not disappointed with the finish. I know tomorrow is still 18 holes to go. One shot, you know -- finishing one shot better today, you've still got a lot of work to do tomorrow. Looks like I'm going to be probably one or two ahead, so, you know, tomorrow is going to be an exciting day. We're playing threesomes. Thomas Bjorn had a good round as well, today, so there's going to be a few guys with that have a chance.

Q. Was today a better indication of how tough this course could play?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Definitely. I mean, these greens are very severe. You get on the wrong side of the flag, you struggle to 2-putt, especially the way they were today. They were getting very, very quick downhill and rock hard. I think to get it close to the hole on some of the holes, it's definitely a good test for next week. Your iron play is going to have to be spot on to have a chance.

Q. Would you say your score -- (inaudible)?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, definitely. I've been struggling with my swing all week. For some reason, I just can't get comfortable over the ball and struggling to make a good timing swing, so I've been struggling really with my timing. The week before last week, I didn't hit a golf ball and maybe my timing is a little bit out. But, I felt like I was putting quite well the few weeks before, at TPC and in Bay Hill. So this week, I love these sort of greens, and I've putted well. That's really been the key.

Q. Mickelson, characterize his game versus your game, which is not going to be match-play tomorrow, obviously, because anything could happen, but your thoughts about playing with him and your games together?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I've played with Phil quite a few times. Played with him in the British Open last year, actually the ins first round. So I've had a few rounds with him. I know I'm going to be hitting into the greens first. Hitting quite a few longer irons behind me today. So I'll be probably 30, 40 yards behind him off the tee the whole day. But like I said, the key is iron play into the greens here. You need to hit it on the right side of the flag to give yourself a chance.

Q. Are you surprised with the turnaround? Are you watching the scoreboard and seeing if Phil bogeys 10 and the 4-putt bogey? How familiar you are with what he's doing -- but did you see him coming back to you on the scoreboard? Was that surprising?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I expected him to really birdie 10. I saw he hit a good drive and I saw he didn't have more than a 5-iron into the green. But like I say, you get into the wrong side of the flag, doesn't matter, anything can happen, doesn't matter how good your short game is. But, yeah, I'm a bit surprised he's not a little bit higher up. But, you know, he'll be disappointed, but he knows he's got another 18 holes to make it up.

Q. With your swing, is that something that you can work out by tomorrow, or do you feel like you'll have to rely on your short game again tomorrow?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I don't think I'll have -- I might have a bit of time to go to the range this afternoon, but I'm thinking of a few things as I go along on the golf course, see if something clicks that can help me through. But the way the course is playing now, it's pretty much a grind. Doesn't matter how well you hit it, you're going to have to grind your way around.

Q. Did you have difficulty trying to determine which club to pull? Seemed like that was the problem, at least with Phil in a couple of cases; how about yourself?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, the whole week has been a problem, pulling clubs. The wind is really swirling around. You think you're playing downwind, but it's playing into your face. It's been very difficult to pick clubs, and that happened to me today on 16. I thought I hit a good shot, but the wind just -- was straight in my face and I came up short. So, it is very tricky. One guy can hit 8-iron and the next guy can hit wedge; that's how much the wind can change on the course.

Q. A cup of the other players said they felt like you had been playing with a lot of confidence since the U.S. Open, but now you don't sound confident about much outside your putting. How do you rate your confidence at this point?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I'm pretty confident when I'm on the course. I know I've just got to keep trying and trusting myself. I know that I'm not playing well, but there's been weeks that I've played well, when I've not been swinging it that well. So I know how to get myself around a course, even though I'm not 100% with the swing. But, you never know, tomorrow I might just find something and hit it great.

My confidence has been high. I've just been sort of realizing more that I can play under this sort of pressure and can be focused.

Q. This was rated last year, I think the fourth toughest course on the PGA TOUR. At 14-under, you must be doing a tremendous job of managing your game -- you have to be fairly pleased with your position, or extraordinarily pleased if you're not playing well; or are you managing your game very well at this point?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I'm just trying to stick to a game plan around the course and just trying to hit the shots that I know I can play with the way I'm playing at the moment. The last few years the weather has been terrible over here; so I think that's one of the reasons the scoring was not so low. But now the way the course is starting to play, hard and fast, you know, it could be pretty similar to what it was the last few years.

Looks like it's going to be a good day tomorrow. I'm sure it's going to be a similar sort of breeze that can be tricky on some of the holes, especially on the front nine.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's go through your birdies and bogies. You started on 2 with a bogey.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I hit a wedge into the bunker came out to about five feet and missed.

Next hole, I hit 2-iron and a pitching wedge to about 20 feet.

6, I hit driver, 3-wood to about 20 feet, 2-putt.

9, I hit driver, 9-iron to about 25 feet and holed a good putt there.

10, I hit driver, 3-iron just over the back and chipped it down to about eight feet.

12, I hit 3-wood, 7-iron to 25 feet.

Drove it just short, chipped down to about 20 feet and holed a good putt.

Hit driver, 5-iron probably to about four feet.

TODD BUDNICK: What was the club that was short on 16?


Q. (Inaudible.)

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I knew I was putting well. No doubt about it. Probably up to 14, I only had about 14 putts.

Like I say, you know, the putting has been my saving grace the past few days.

End of FastScripts....

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