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March 30, 2011

Retief Goosen


MARK STEVENS: Welcome to Retief Goosen, making your first start here in Houston. Have you played the course yet and if so, if you kind of want to talk about the course and your thoughts coming into this week.
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, yes. I'm not coming in here playing particularly well, but I think this golf course is great preparation for next week. I mean they set it up as close as they possibly could to Augusta. Augusta is -- Augusta sort of things you're going to get next week, the runoffs, the way the grass is cut, the quick greens, the sloppy greens.
Everything about the course is great. I'm here. Since they dropped the event in Atlanta, The BellSouth Classic, you know, you didn't really have an event before Augusta that could give you that sort of preparation. This course has definitely done that. I'm happy I'm here, looking forward to learning something this week that will help me next week.
MARK STEVENS: Okay. Questions.

Q. Was that the reason that you added the Shell and did you hear about things that made you want to add it?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah. I think that's the main thing. You know, I've always done well at Augusta playing the week before when we had the event at Atlanta, and since that was moved, I don't really do that well at Augusta. So I feel playing here hopefully this week will give me the feeling you need to have going into Augusta.

Q. Did anybody tell you about the golf course and say that it was good preparation, or were you going to add it no matter what?
RETIEF GOOSEN: A lot of the players said it's as close as you can get it to Augusta settings or grass, I should say. So that's definitely -- that definitely made me decide to play this year.

Q. You talked about your game. Can you expand on that a little bit, where your game is right now, what you're trying to accomplish?
RETIEF GOOSEN: The game is not great, not really done much this year. Couple of good events but not really playing that well. I got my coach here this week, so we're working on a few things, a little bit of a grip change. I think this week, which is always a bit hard, you know, to get comfortable on, but changing my grip slightly this week and hopefully, you know, come tomorrow, start hitting a few good shots and give you some confidence going into next week.

Q. You also added San Antonio. What goes into that kind of thinking as far as what you do with your schedule this time of year?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I didn't play Bay Hill this year because I couldn't be away from Tracy and the kids for a month. So I went back to London last week and got back in here Monday night. Coming over on the weekend from London where the school breaks up and then Augusta, and I thought good time to throw in another event before I go back to Europe.

Q. Are you committed to playing more in Europe this year?
RETIEF GOOSEN: We have to play a couple more events in Europe from this year because of the -- you have to play 13 now, not 11 anymore. So, yeah, I have to play a little bit more if I want to be on the money list for the race to Dubai.
So, otherwise pretty much the same, I'll pretty much play the same amount in America that I normally play, but I have to add two in -- on the European Tour.

Q. Wondered if being based in London was a factor, too.
RETIEF GOOSEN: Well, I've been based in London for 17 years so it's not really --
Q. Just more so kids getting older?
RETIEF GOOSEN: No. My wife is English, all the family up there. That was always going to be sort of the base. Easy to fly out of London as anywhere in the world. Good central base to travel out of.

Q. When you play a course like this week that you haven't seen before and I guess a couple weeks you go to the now TPC San Antonio, is it difficult as a player to come into a place you haven't seen to try to, you know, to master a course immediately when you're playing an event for the first time?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yes, it could be tough or you could like it instantly, too. Obviously, playing here a few times, you would know where to leave the ball on the right side of the greens or the right side of the flag than somebody who doesn't really know where to leave it or try and leave it.
But, you know, at the end of the day, it's a golf course. You need to hit the shots. You need to hit it down the middle of the fairway and hit it at the flag and make a putt. I doesn't matter what course it is. But just having that little bit of knowledge definitely helps.

Q. Talk a little bit about the top four guys, the top, the rankings now, European. Do you consider it's kind of a cyclical thing, that was kind of the trend in the '80s. You kind of drifted over here when Tiger and Phil got hot. Now, you have four young guys on -- kind of on the way up there. What's your take on the rankings?
RETIEF GOOSEN: The world ranking are world rankings. If you play well, you're on top. If you play bad, you fall back. There's been a lot of saying we're not sure the rankings are correct again, Tiger and Phil is not on top anymore. They've not been playing the best golf, so the guys that play the best golf move up. Guys that play a lot of events also get rewarded. I'm pretty much one of the players on the list that plays most events. So, yeah, I do support world golf, play around the world, and world rankings is around the world, it's not just over here.
Now actually some of the European Tour events are getting stronger in world rankings because we've got European guys ranked up there on top. But the world rankings I think are fair. You play well and play a lot, you do deserve your position.
MARK STEVENS: Couple more?

Q. How many -- did you just get here, have you played a couple of rounds?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Played yesterday.

Q. Impressions of how it suits your game.
RETIEF GOOSEN: It's a good course, lot of water around. You need to drive it straight. The fairways are fairly wide, but in places if you miss the fairway water hole in the marshland. Greens are tough, greens are very large greens. You need to find the right levels to have easy putts. The grass, the way they cut it, like I said, great preparation for Augusta. Tough around the greens to get it up and down. It's a good course. I'm playing the Pro-Am this afternoon and hopefully learn a little bit more.

Q. Did you go to Augusta on the way here like a few guys have or you know the course so well?
RETIEF GOOSEN: I know Augusta fairly well. I didn't have time really to get up there before. I'll get in there on Monday and get my practice rounds in.

Q. What aspects of your game are you looking to sharpen up this week in particular to get ready for next week?
RETIEF GOOSEN: I think my driving. My driving needs -- Augusta has become a very good driving golf course now. So it's something I intend to be working on this week is my driving. Putting, I've actually this week I am going back to my older putter, putter I won my opens with. That's back in the bag. Hopefully get some good feelings on the greens this week.
MARK STEVENS: Okay. Everybody good? Thanks a lot, Retief. Good luck this week.

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