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March 21, 2009

Retief Goosen


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Retief, a nice 2-under 69 today and at 7-under, you're one back after 54 holes of the Transitions Championship.
A couple general comments about your round, and then run through your three birdies, one bogey, and any good saves you may have made.
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I played pretty solid. Started off nice down the first hole with a driver and a 5-wood in the middle of the green and 2-putted.
The second hole, I made a great up-and-down. Actually missed the green left there, my second, and chipped down to 20 feet and made a good putt there for par.
So that sort of kept the round going nicely, and then obviously made a good putt on 9. Quite a long putt there. Ended up making a very good 5 on 10.

Q. How long was the putt on 9?
RETIEF GOOSEN: 33 feet. Around 30 feet.

Q. 10?
RETIEF GOOSEN: 10, I drove it right in the trees. I was trying to hit it from there into the left-hand side trap to try and sort of make an easy bunker shot from there, and I hit it over the bunker into the trees. From there, could not get it on to the green and hit a great chip shot for my fourth; almost went in. I was lucky to get away there with a five.
Next hole, I hit a really good drive off the tee, a 6-iron for my second, I don't know how far it was.

Q. Right on the flag of that one?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, 25 feet right of the flag and 2-putted for birdie.
From there on, not a lot happened. I made a good up-and-down on No. 16 and 17 for pars. 16 especially from over the back of the green. I hit a good chip shot down there to a couple of feet.

Q. What did you do on 17? Where did you put it?
RETIEF GOOSEN: I hit it short of the green and from there it's a pretty easy put. The wind was swirling, and Charles Howell, he hit a 4-iron and he hit it 50 feet past the flag and I hit 4-iron and came up short of the green. So it was quite a bit of a gust of wind that came up for me and none for him.
But I know where the pin was short is a lot better than going long.

Q. You've been making it seems like significant strides since probably November, December, pecking your way closer and closer.
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I am, obviously on my fitness side, and off the golf course, working a lot harder and working out. It's paying off. It's nice to start shooting some good scores again, and, you know, great to have a chance tomorrow.
It's been a while since I've had a chance to win on the PGA TOUR, and hopefully tomorrow I can -- it's going to be a tough day tomorrow. The course has really changed overnight, pretty much like the U.S. Open. Greens have really gone dead. It's going to be really tricky out there tomorrow.
Yeah, I don't think anybody is really going to come and shoot a low score, so it's just you're going to have to just play steady and try and hang in there.

Q. Tomorrow would benefit guys who have major championship experience, that play well; it's been mentioned the conditions --
RETIEF GOOSEN: The greens are definitely playing like U.S. Open greens now. They are very firm and fast. The course has really firmed up a lot since Thursday, Friday. It's becoming more difficult hitting fairways, as well, with the ball running out. Beginning of the week, the ball was just stopping dead and picking up mud on the ball actually.
So yeah, the golf course is changing very quickly. Tomorrow it is going to be a tough track out there.

Q. You know and expect the conditions when you are at a major, but at a garden-variety TOUR event, that's not what you come to expect. How big of an adjustment is that?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, we all know this golf course is one of the best golf courses on the TOUR. So coming here, you know you're not -- 20-under par is not going to win it. So you just know it's going to be a tough track, good test of golf. The guy that played the best will win the end of this week.
You know, I think it's definitely one of the great golf courses we play on TOUR. It's not the longest, and it shows it doesn't need to be the longest. It's just a great design.

Q. Did you fix any pitchmarks today?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, there's loads of pitchmarks out there. Obviously with the greens not growing now, because they have let them die out, the pitchmarks are not recovering, so there is quite a few pitchmarks out there.

Q. I think it was Pebble you started nicely; correct?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, Pebble, I had a good third round there. Started nicely in the first round and a poor second round and then good third round again.

Q. Do you feel more comfortable now than you did then? I know totally different courses, but in terms of knowing what to expect out of your game? I don't think you were happy with your driving that week, were you?
RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I wouldn't say. I've never been a great driver. But you know, it was the first time I've played those golf courses besides Pebble. So going in there playing them blind, it's hard to just go down there and shoot a good score sometimes.
The first round, I got off to a great start, and then just sort of pulled on and hanged on; the second round was kind of a struggle, not knowing the golf course that well and around Pebble, I knew the course very well and played well there.

Q. Does it help you mentally that you've won out here before; you've done it once, you can do it again?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I would like to do it again. Yeah, feeling comfortable on the golf course and knowing the course well and knowing the shots required definitely does give you a little bit more confidence than, you know, a golf course that you're not really comfortable on.
You know, this golf course, I know it very well, and know the greens fairly good. So I think it is a bit of an advantage if you know the golf course really well.

Q. Are you surprised to see Tom Lehman up there?
RETIEF GOOSEN: You know, I don't think so. You know, he's been a great player for a long time. I know he struggled a little bit in the last few years, same as I, but he said the same: He's changed his game a little, or his practice routine a little bit. He's working a little bit harder on his game. I'm sure he's -- I think he was really motivating himself before the Champions Tour, and now he's got a chance of winning on the regular TOUR again.
You know, a golf course like this, Tom is a very good ball-striker, and when he putts well, he plays well. So he's obviously doing that this week; he's putting really well. And it's great to see.
I hope I still have a chance when I'm 50.

Q. Do you think he felt worse about turning 50 than did you about turning 50?
RETIEF GOOSEN: No, you turn 50, you don't care anymore. When you turn 50, you're a rookie again. (Laughter).
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Retief, good luck tomorrow. Thank you.

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