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June 16, 2001

Retief Goosen


RAND JERRIS: We're now joined by Retief Goosen. You had a 69 in today's third round with two birdies and one bogey. And you find yourself tied for the lead going into tomorrow's final round of the championship, and perhaps you could simply start us off with a few general comments about today's third round.

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I was in more bunkers today than I was in the whole year. Every hole I just seemed to find a bunker. And I suppose my short game really saved me today. I wasn't hitting the ball nearly as well as I would have liked to. And I had a few up-and-downs, and that's why I'm still where I am. Hopefully, tomorrow I can try and just play a little bit better, and give myself more birdie chances.

Q. You even used your putter on a couple of those shots you blew over the green on the back nine. Is that a South African thing? They call it a Texas wedge in the United States. You were using everything to try to get up-and-down on the back 9.

RETIEF GOOSEN: I think I've learned a lot of that putting from long range up the hills like that at St. Andrews, playing the Alfred Dunhill Cup. At St. Andrews you have a lot of those long putts that you have to get up banks. So I just felt like that was the best chance I had to try to get it close. And, luckily, twice I managed to get it up-and-down from down there.

RAND JERRIS: Could you walk us through your birdies and bogeys in this round, please.

RETIEF GOOSEN: I birdied No. 4. I hit 2-iron and a 9-iron to probably 15 feet behind the hole with about a 10-foot break on it. That was probably one of the best putts I made this tournament. The bogey on 7, I really thought I had a very good sand iron in there for my second, I just caught the top of the bunker and couldn't get it up-and-down. And No. 9 I didn't hit it very good off the tee, it ended up in the rough in a divot. And hit a good 8-iron to about ten feet left of the hole and I made birdie there. Then the back 9 it was just really a scramble all the way, some very good up-and-downs on 11 and 12. 13 I hit a 4-iron over in the back bunker where I didn't have much of a chance to up-and-down. And holed a good putt for par on 14 from about 15 feet. And then the last few holes, it's all been up-and-downs. 18 I hit a good shot from underneath the trees with a 3-iron. And in one of the practice rounds I hit it there, so I sort of had an idea what I was trying to do from there, and I hit a perfect shot.

Q. Retief, Ernie remembers a lot of Masters and British Opens growing up watching on television, he even talks about Gary Player in '78 when he was only nine years old. Do you remember any tournaments or individuals that inspired you in major championships that you recall from your youth?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I didn't watch a lot of golf on TV when I was growing up. I probably only started playing golf in 1978, so I think the main guy who is my idol was Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, Ballesteros. Those are the guys I really sort of looked at as being my golfing era of growing up.

Q. Retief, safe to say that to casual golf fans in the U.S., you are not as well-known as you are in Europe. This is clearly the best chance to make a name for yourself, do you look at it that way?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, definitely. Tomorrow I'm going to give it all I've got, try and see if I can win this. It's going to be tough, obviously, mentally and pressure-wise. I'm just going to have to try to calm myself out there. Today I was pretty nervous on the first few holes, and then in the middle of the round I was -- managed to calm myself down a bit and start relaxing a little bit. I was quite enjoying it out there at one stage. So tomorrow if I can try and do the same thing, just try and stay calm. And it's going to be interesting tomorrow to see what happens.

Q. Retief, you said you were out there enjoying yourself. I was walking in the gallery today. And the comment that kept coming up from people, just walking by, "This guy is a great player, and he's playing great golf". Did you sense that out there and feed off of that at all?

RETIEF GOOSEN: The crowds were great out there today, very supportive. I really enjoyed it out there today. And tomorrow is going to be another nice day out there. Like I say, I didn't play as well as I would have liked to have played today, but my short game really saved me on the back 9. So tomorrow I'd like to play a little better and give myself more chances. But I enjoyed it out there. The crowd out there is unbelievable. They were quiet when it's your turn to play. And they really clap for everything you do. So it's really nice.

Q. What's the best reason you can think of why you will be the player who will win this championship tomorrow?

RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, probably because I'm the underdog. If I can win this tomorrow, obviously it would be the greatest achievement of my career. It's difficult to say. What would it mean? It would mean everything to win a tournament tomorrow, but we're just going to have to wait and see, and not think too far ahead and try to get a good round in tomorrow, and then if I win at the end of the day I'll win. It's not a life and death situation to me. So I'm just going to try and enjoy every moment of it.

Q. Retief, what do you consider the strength of your golf game, and if there's one part of your game that you'd like to improve upon, what might that be?

RETIEF GOOSEN: I'd probably like to improve my driving a little bit. I've never been too much of a consistent driver of the ball. If I can learn to hit a few more fairways, it might be a bit easier. Today probably was the case, I didn't hit enough fairways and enough greens. But my short game saved me. And I know when I'm playing well, I'm putting really well. And I think that's probably the stronger part of my game is my putting.

RAND JERRIS: Retief, thanks very much for your time and we wish you luck in the final round tomorrow.

End of FastScripts....

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