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February 19, 2002

Retief Goosen


SCOTT CROCKETT: Why don't you talk about how you are looking forward to the week.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I think my game is pretty good. I've played quite well this year so far. Just pressure to make some putts, really. But after this -- I've just had a two week break and I feel quite refreshed for this week and I'm looking forward to it.

SCOTT CROCKETT: The win in South Africa, that must have given you confidence for the year ahead.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's the first time that I won so early in the season, and it's nice to come out playing well at the beginning of the year, so you never know what can happen the rest of the year. I'm looking forward to this week. Obviously, match-play is a little bit of a different sort of game to a real stroke-play event.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Did you think that a lot was expected of you because you had such a good year?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It's nice, always, to win. Like I say it's nice to play so early in the season well, and if I can keep it up the rest of the year, you know, it would be great. It's nice that my confidence is at a high now, so that will really help.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Let's open up to questions.

Q. Having almost a year now to reflect on Southern Hills, what did that victory do in terms of your confidence, because it seems like you haven't had any lulls in your game since then?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I think it's been a big confidence booster, obviously. I've been hitting the ball quite nicely for some time. It's just a question of it all starting to happen for me. It's really come along nicely now. My confidence is really high and I'm hitting the ball well. You know, if I can -- like I say, it all comes down to putting really well during the week to win a tournament. I've been putting quite nicely this year so far, and it's going to be nice. I'm looking forward to the year, see if I can improve on the past year that I've h that's been my main goal is just to try improving every year.

Q. What would be improving, to win another major, to win two majors?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Obviously, winning another major would be good enough. I'm not going to try and win every major. But if you try and just win every week you play in, it might be a major week, it might not be. It might be a small event back in South Africa, but a win is a win. You've got to play really well wherever you play in the world now to win an event. It's nice to be playing well coming in here this week; I'm looking forward to it.

Q. In an event like this, do you look at the entire bracket, or do you just look at the immediate match in front of you?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I didn't know until yesterday that I am playing against Billy Mayfair; I had not seen the draw. Somebody told me last week it might be Phillip Price, but I think the World Rankings, the way it's changed, it was only yesterday that somebody said I was playing against Billy Mayfair that I realized who I was playing against.

He's a nice guy. I've played against him before. It's going to be a tough match. Every match out there this week is going to be a tough match. I looked ahead and my next match might be Olazabal or Leonard, so that will be tough also.

Q. Are the greens conducive to good putting?

RETIEF GOOSEN: The greens are not as good as they were last time we played here two years ago. It's going to be tricky. Putting is not going to be easy, but it's going to really be the guy that hits the ball really well this week. And hit it close to the flag, I think is going to come out the winner. If you can really hit it close and make a few good putts, long putts are going to be tough.

Q. Has your life changed much since June, and have the expectations of others grown in terms of appearances and events and how do you keep a balance between doing what you want to do and the expectations of everyone else?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It's been busy off the course and there's been a lot of interview requests. I try to work it out so that I have a lot of time for myself. It's been a busy week this year already, playing five weeks in a row, but I've just had a two-week break. We try to work it out so that I can have a little bit of time off.

It has not really changed my life. I'm still the same guy, doing the same thing, going where I used to go, and everything is still great.

Q. Do you still live in London?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I still live in London, yes. I'm going to base myself in Orlando when I play events over here. It's going to be tough this year, playing on both tours. I'm only playing 15 events on the Tour over here this year, and then enough back home to keep my card over there, also. I want to keep supporting the Tour over there, as well.

Q. Do people come up to you in London or in Orlando, imagine South Africa they do, but how about elsewhere, do people know who you are?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I haven't been back here enough really to see what's going to happen. I think the events I'm going to play from now on will be quite interesting.

Back in south Africa, it's been a bit of a mad house, especially since I went back in December for the first time since I won the U.S. Open. So it was very busy.

The Million Dollar, I think I got my one practice round in and that was it. Otherwise, three, four-hour press interviews every day.

Q. European Tour paid you a special tribute, granting you lifetime membership, you have to be proud of that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, that's very nice of Ken Schofield and the rest of the members to give me that hand or. It's great to have a life membership over there and be there with the few other players that got it.

It's great, to know that they really like me over there and still want me over there, and I'm definitely going to keep supporting them in the future.

Q. What do you know about Bethpage, as defending U.S. Open champion, have you seen it or heard anything about it? What are your thoughts going into that?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I have not seen anything about the course, not even any sort of pictures of it. It's going to be -- I'll leave it until the week comes. That's how I prepare my tournaments. I'm in the going to go and play it before the U.S. Open. I'm going to play it there, because the course changes so much anyway the week before, or the week of the event. So I'll just get up there and play my two practice rounds and play the event.

Q. Could you just talk about the satisfaction level you got from getting your game to this higher level you've been playing at now for a while, what that feels like, how satisfying that is?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It's been great. I suppose that's what we all work for out there on the range every day, hoping that you can win events; and I've been lucky now to win quite a few in the past few months.

You know, it's nice to see all the hard work is paying off. There was times that you wonder, "Is it going to happen," and it's all coming together now.

Q. Are you still working with your sports psychologist?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I still see Jos (Vantisphout) now and then. We still go through the same things we used to do and a few new things here and there. And it helps keep me going when I get a bit down. He's out there this week, so hopefully he's -- he can help me.

Q. Did you seek advice from Ernie at all about being a U.S. Open champion and some of the things that are expected, how to schedule things?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I haven't really had a chance to sit down with Ernie and see what he's playing and what I'm playing. Although, we're going to be close together in Orlando, not far from each other. So we'll probably play a few more practice rounds together. Maybe now Ernie can give me a ride on his jet. (Laughs).

Q. Do you still have the same putter in the bag that you won the Open with?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No. I've used a different putter a couple of weeks ago now, to win the Johnnie Walker and in South Africa. At the moment, I'm giving it a rest. It wasn't behaving too well at one stage, so I'll just leave it alone for a little bit.

End of FastScripts....

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