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July 10, 2009

Retief Goosen


SCOTT CROCKETT: Retief, thank you very much for coming in and joining us, as always, and congratulations on a spectacular morning's work. You must be very pleased with the way things went out there today.
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yes, obviously the weather was perfect this morning. Not a breath of wind for the first nine holes really, and yeah, I got off to a bit of a slow start really the first two, three holes. First hole, which was my 10th, I drove it in the rough and had to lay up short of the water and hit 7-iron to 30 feet and holed the putt for par, and that sort of got you going. Same on the second hole, missed the green badly and got it up-and-down.
From there on, I actually played quite solid from there on. Obviously birdieing 16 and 18 are two great birdies. They are tough holes today. And on the front nine, everything just happened, really. Besides the bad bogey on 5, trying to hit a hard 6-iron there and pushed it right of the green and I hit a poor putt for par.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You have the course record here and you've won here; safe to say you enjoy your time on the bonnie bank?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I do like it here. The golf course is fairly generous off the tee, and I'm not one of the straightest hitters, so it does help a little bit for the odd one, if you're off by 15, 20 yards, might still stay on the edge.
Otherwise, I feel pretty confident around the course. I like the greens very well, I read them very well here. Obviously playing a golf course that you've played well around before, you always feel like coming back, you feel like you sort of know how to shoot a good score.

Q. I wasn't there on the 10th, but somebody said that you kind of topped your tee shot. Can you just describe what happened?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I hit sort of a low -- I was trying to hit a 3-wood off the tee and I hit a low, thinny one going low, right, probably not even 180 yards off the tee. Couldn't get out of the rough over the water, and laid up with a wedge and then hit a 7-iron on the green. So it was a bit of a weird start.
And then I took out the 3-wood on 12, didn't know what was going to happen but managed to get that one off the tee properly.

Q. Have you ever had a round that finished so well, Retief, that began in such curious circumstances?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, the year when I shot the course record here, I bogeyed the first, and yesterday I bogeyed the first. I birdied the second and eagled the third and that sort of got me going. The third hole has been good to me. I eagled it yesterday and I eagled it today. I picked up four shots on that hole.

Q. Can I just ask a question about putting. You've got a reputation as a fantastic putter on firm greens, and your U.S. Open victories have tended to be on fast, firm greens. Is there something about the greens this year why you're putting well and you like them?
RETIEF GOOSEN: I think they are rolling a little bit better than they have the last few years. They are firmer, so you don't get as much heel marks on them so they don't bounce as much. This morning they were definitely a little bit quicker than yesterday. Yesterday we tended to leave a lot of putts short, but today our pace was a lot better, all three of us. So they are drying out, and as they cut in, I'm sure by Sunday, they are going to roll really nice.

Q. Details of the two eagles on 3, and also about where you feel your game is at the moment, you were right there at Munich and didn't finish it off.
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I was right there the after nine holes but struggled on the back nine. I was there on Sunday but that's all you go you can do is keep giving yourself chances and hopefully one of them will happen.
On the third hole, yesterday I hit a driver, 6-iron yesterday and today a driver, 4-iron. They were both about 20-footers.

Q. Do you still get the same buzz out of golf, because not so long ago, about four years ago, they talked about the Big Five in the world and it was you and Mickelson and Ernie and Woods and Vijay, and that seems to have gone. Do you still -- what's happened in the intervening years, and do you still think, 'I want to play as much as I used to?'
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, definitely, when I still play well -- I mean, we all want to play well. We all go through patches in this game, nobody knows why, otherwise all of us would be No. 1 and that's how it is.
I've been working harder on my game the last sort of -- really since last year, and on my fitness, so just a sort of general tidy-up of the game. Putting is still not as consistent as it used to be. I won't say I'm putting as consistent as I did in those days, but today they all went in, which is nice.

Q. Were you going around today thinking about the course record, or is it just a statistic?
RETIEF GOOSEN: I didn't really think about it. You keep thinking -- forgetting that it's par 71, and you keep thinking 62, you need to shoot 10-under.
It's really only after I made the putt on No. 8, I thought I could shoot 62 if I birdie 9, but I messed up a bit, bad tee shot with a 5-wood off the tee and missed the fairway. Hit a good putt that just didn't go in.
Hopefully we can have that sort of chance again in the future.

Q. So you knew --
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I knew I had had or tied a course record here in the past. I shot 62 around here twice, once with placing and once without placing.

Q. Did you watch the Lions series?
RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I didn't unfortunately and in unfortunately in America, you don't see rugby. So on CNN highlights is about all you heard of the match playing on, but I did watch Saturday's match, yeah. Disappointing, but I mean, we had to give them a chance. (Laughter).

Q. Do you know any of the players?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I know -- well, I won't say I know most of them but I know all the guys, just a few of them that I've met, Burger and Smith and so on, those guys.

Q. When is the last time you hit a tee shot that would have gone 180 yards?
RETIEF GOOSEN: When I hit a 6-iron off the tee. (Laughter).
No, it happens. Not the first time I've done it and definitely not the last time I'm going to do it, but it was quite a bit of a shock. First shot in the morning, you are sort of wondering what sort of day it's going to be, but you've just got to keep telling yourself hopefully that was the last one and the rest is going to be good.

Q. And Open courses suit your eye generally?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it's going to be interesting to see that next week. I love the Open. I hear the rough is very deep. It's going to probably be a U.S. Open and not a British Open. Hopefully it's not going to be as severe as it sounds and hopefully they might get generous and cut it a little bit.
Yeah, it will be disappointing if it's going to be chop-out the whole time but we'll have to wait and see.

Q. Going back to the Open shots, wondering how your playing partners reacted to that, did they pull your leg a bit?
RETIEF GOOSEN: No, they kept quiet. I'm sure they were laughing. I did joke with them on 12 when I hit a good one, I said, "That was a better lie I had on the tee." (Laughter).

Q. Is it any coincidence that South Africans have done so well here in the past, Ernie has won, you've won, Tim Clark, as well; is this a similar type of course that you might have grown up playing?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, it could be very much like Johannesburg, very tree-lined. A lot of the golf courses we play in Johannesburg is very similar to this, similar sort of feel.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Retief, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts

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