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June 18, 2001

Retief Goosen


Q. Retief, when did you feel comfortable, finally, that you were going to win it?

RETIEF GOOSEN: When I holed the putt on the last hole, I think. That was quite a relief after what happened yesterday. I wasn't going to let it happen again, and just kept my nerves together and I've finally done it, which is a great feeling.

Q. South Africa has a pretty good streak going on these U.S. Open playoffs.

RETIEF GOOSEN: It looks like it. I was thinking about it today that Ernie, the time he won his first U.S. Open, he had to putt the last hole to win it and he made bogey. That was sort of in my mind, and he came through and won it in a playoff. I was just really trying to copy that, and just trying to get ahead. And what I've learned in the Dunhill Cup, and this sort of play, what to do, I think it helped me a lot.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about what it feels like to have that trophy in your hands?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I mean it means everything. It hasn't quite sunk in yet what has happened out here this week. I wasn't playing well at all this year, actually. I started hitting the ball a lot better a few weeks ago, and just the putter wasn't working. And this week putting a new putter in the bag last week, it just helped. I mean, I made everything I looked at.

Q. Have you surprised yourself?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I think, yeah, I suppose I have surprised myself. I didn't expect to be up here, but at some stage it had to happen, I think. I felt like I can now start handling the pressure, I'm learning every year as I play. I'm looking forward to the rest of my career, now.

Q. How sure in yourself were you that you could actually win a major?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, you know, I would give myself a chance to win a major, I'll give myself a chance. I can't say that I never would have won a major, but this course just suited my game today. You can't always win on every course. I think this course, when I played it at the beginning of the week, I thought it suits Tiger down to the ground, he's going to win it easy. And he never really got it going. But of course just -- everything I looked at I made.

Q. How do you celebrate now?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I think I'll have a couple of glasses of champagne on the flight back tonight to London. It's been a long week. I'm looking forward to a few days off.

Q. I'm curious, after what happened yesterday, when you went home last night and when you got up this morning, did you watch the TV or watch any replays or read the paper or did you ignore at all that stuff?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I didn't watch TV -- I watched TV, but nothing to do with golf, I was just watching other programs. By the time I got back and had room service it was like 10 o'clock and I went to bed. I slept okay last night, slept a good nine hours, so when I got here this morning I was more comfortable than I was Sunday morning. So I knew I had a 50 percent chance of winning, so I just tried what I've learned in the Dunhill Cup to sort of -- what I've done in the past, trying to get that to help me in the round.

Q. Is your golfing life going to change now that you've won it?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, I'm sure my life will change a little bit, but golf won't change. Tomorrow when I tee it up you have to start all over again. It doesn't mean now that you've won a major you're a great player, you've got to keep working at it and trying to improve every day.

Q. You hit a driver, 4-wood a few times, and it got you in trouble the first few times, on 2, it went into the TV cables.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Number 2 is a tough tee shot, a strong left-to-right wind today, the water is the last place you want to hit it. I blocked that and hit a great 4. I think that settled me down.

Q. What degree did Jess help you this week?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Jess, we had a little check last night and he said, "Tomorrow is a brand new day. What happened today is gone, and will never come back." So what I've got to do tomorrow is just -- it's a new day, think about good things again. Forget what happened in the past. And that really helped me a lot.

Q. Did you feel like the birdie at 6 kind of got you going, because you had a couple of good up-and-downs, and you finally get a birdie?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, very good timing there, and a good putt. When he made bogey on the next, suddenly I was ahead. And from there on I was just trying to keep momentum. I was trying to hit the fairways, and I think 9 I hit a good 2-iron off the tee and hit it up against a tree, so 9 and 10 was really the holes that changed the game, I think.

Q. Did you look at his ball on 9, because you had to hit before he did?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I didn't see where his ball was until after I hit my second shot. It was only when I walked up that I saw it was up against a tree.

Q. A lot of players go up and -- if it's a match play situation, where the other players ball is.

RETIEF GOOSEN: I was just thinking, hit it on the green. If you can make the putt it's great. I don't think it would have changed any way of the second shot if I knew he was up against a tree.

Q. When Ernie won the Open, he made no bones about the fact that he wanted to play in the United States. What is your feeling, now that you won the Open, are you going to be making more appearances over here, do you want to play in the PGA TOUR?

RETIEF GOOSEN: It's not really changed things in my life, having to decide whether I'm going to play over here or play in Europe. I think I'll definitely still support the European Tour. I've been living in London now for eight years, and that's sort of home for me. I'll give it until the end of the year and then make up my mind and decide whether I'm going to play fulltime here or not.

Q. What were you thinking on 18?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, 18 -- well, 17 the last thing I wanted to do was hit it long. But the wind was gusting a lot and I just hit the wedge a little bit too hard and went over the back. I was just trying to play for a 5 from there. I knew Mark was going to make three. I knew the last hole was going to be the key hole again. I think that's what I've learned, it's like match play, you should always expect the guy to make his putt. And I expected him to make it. So I knew I was going to go down the last hole with three shots, so I was prepared. He hit a good drive, but it was just in the rough, and I knew, I think, that he was in the rough. So I just told myself, hit the same driver drive as yesterday. And I hit a good drive. Unfortunately, very much on a downhill lie, and missed the 5-iron coming up the hill. Where the ball ended up on 18 it was very sandy from people practicing on it. I decided to putt it up in the middle of the green, make your five and get out of here.

Q. It's human nature to suspect that when a gentleman has a bad hole on the previous round and has to play a playoff, that gentleman might come off the next day. What's in your mental makeup that the opposite happened?

RETIEF GOOSEN: What happened on 18 yesterday, I didn't play bad. That was the whole thing. The first putt I just hit it too hard. The second putt I hit a good putt and it didn't go in. The third putt was a good putt. I can't say that I played the hole bad. If I would have drove it in the rough and chopped it out and all those kind of things, then I would have expected I played the hole bad. I knew I could play the hole well.

Q. It didn't affect you today. You obviously weren't feeling bad about yourself today.

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I didn't feel bad about myself at all. I was proud of what I've done so far this week, it's been a pressure week for me, leading from the first round. Today I told myself "You're still playing well, you can do it".

Q. Are you the world's greatest up-and-down player?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, I don't think so. I would say Tiger is still the world's greatest player, that's for sure, great up-and-downer. I chipped pretty well. I would say this week the putter has helped more than really the chipping.

Q. Winning without your wife here, is it going to be hard not to bring her to majors from now on?

RETIEF GOOSEN: No, she was watching it every day, from whatever time it was in the morning. And she had friends around her every night. And obviously she was disappointed that she couldn't be here. But I only came over Monday night and we decided, well, she's just going to stay at home and I'll just come and play. Maybe she should stay at home more often when I play in the Majors.

Q. (Inaudible.)

RETIEF GOOSEN: I haven't talked to her. It's been busy. I'll give her a call when I finished.

Q. When you walked up to the 18th green, did you think to yourself, okay, I've just got to get this down in two putts?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, definitely. I expected Mark to play a good bunker shot, and he played a great bunker shot. So I just told myself, you know, the first putt, just leave it short of the hole. Unfortunately, I left it a couple of yards short. But from then on I knew where the putt was and I just knocked it in.

Q. Have you always been this unflappable or is it inside it's always churning and you just have a good facade that you're able to hide it?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I don't know, it was jumping, when I played the last few holes, make no mistake. And that's just when you've got to trust yourself and do it. I'm not going to say I wasn't shaking playing the last hole, that's for sure.

Q. What are you going to do with the big check?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Spend it. (Laughter.)

End of FastScripts...

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