THURSDAY, 12TH JULY
RETIEF GOOSEN – FIRST ROUND – 62 (-10)
How low could you have gone today?
But for the bogey on the 13th it could have been a different story. I’m very happy with the round. A bit more breezy out there than the other time I made 62.
The way you finished on Sunday and way you started today, you were in the same groove?
Last time I started with a bogey when I shot 62. Today was a much more different start. I hit a drive and a nine iron to about 15 feet. The second hole was a drive and a six iron, probably the same and the third a driver, five iron to 25 feet. I was thinking of a really low one but a long way to go from there. But then I think the 10th and 11th were really tough holes. The 10th was a drive and a five iron and the 11th a four iron. After I made a birdie on the 12th I pulled my drive slightly and I was trying to hit a three wood just short of the green and try to chip and putt but I mishit it out the rough and into a bunker and left myself with a difficult shot. Unfortunately I hit it too soft and it rolled down the bank and I made six.
Do you feel a lot more confident in yourself having won the US Open?
Yes, obviously I am a lot more confident out there now. You sort of realise you can play under pressure conditions. Today I felt very relaxed out there and I was nervous for the first couple of holes but after that I felt really comfortable and I was looking at the flag with every shot. Obviously the confident is very high at the moment but I am working on that. I have been working with Jos a long time to try and get my confidence up a bit more and it seems to pay off now. The first time I saw Jos again was last week at the European Open. We just worked on the same sort of principle we’ve been working on. It’s obviously helping so we’re not going to change anything right now.
Are you enjoying yourself more now?
I am enjoying playing well. It’s great out there playing with Nick (Faldo). It’s the very first time I’ve played with him in a tournament so that was great and Gary Orr had a lot of support out there and they played very well. They just didn’t make as many putts as I did.
You said you were going to talk to Paul Lawrie? Have you?
No I haven’t. I don’t want to get in his way at the moment but after the British Open I will probably have a good chat with him.
Did the figure of 59 come into your mind at any time?
Yes, obviously after the 12th with the 13th coming up and if I had made a good drive I could probably have reached it. That really stopped it but I still had another five holes after that to make birdies. The 14th – they put the tee up to tempt us to go for the green but I decided not to and made four. I left it short on the 16th and made a good birdie on the 17th. At the 18th unfortunately I hit a bad drive into a bunker and was lucky to get away with a four.
Do you actually calculate what you have to do?
No I didn’t really. I knew the chance was there but the last few holes are tough. I could have been 11 under if I had birdied those two (13th and 14th). I would still have needed another one somewhere. Anyway I’m happy with the round. There are still three rounds to go and it would be nice to build on this. My lowest was 10 under (62) when Jimenez won the Volvo Masters two years ago.
What driver are you using?
Just the regular Taylor Made driver, not the one that’s illegal in the States. I decided to use one that I can use in America as well. Every time I go to America I’m not going to chop and change drivers. I am hitting it 10 yards shorter but the only difference between them in three miles an hour in ball speed which works out at 10 yards. I think the golf ball has become more consistent and that’s why the guys are playing so well. The ball’s playing a lot better in the wind. I don’t think I am hitting it any further. I did use the 360R and was definitely hitting it a little further but I feel comfortable with the one I am using at the moment, even though I’m a few yards shorter.
What did you partners say when you started four under after three?
They just said good playing. We sort of combined very well the three of us. We never got in each other’s ways. That was the first time I had seen Nick since winning and he said: ‘very well played, US Open champion’. I thanked him for the message he left on my phone on the Sunday night. He said: ‘no problem, we know what you went through there and it was great coming back the Monday after’. Ivor (Robson) did announce it on the first tee. He never does. I don’t know why he did it this time. It’s a great feeling obviously and I’m sure he’s not going to do it again. Nice though.
Do you sense bigger galleries now?
Yes I think there were a lot of people out there supporting me. There are a lot of South Africans here this week. My caddie’s mum and dad and his girlfriend and a lot of other people. So there were good crowds out there, knowing the way the weather’s been. It was nice to have that support.
What do you like about Loch Lomond?
It’s a great golf course and a great design. Some courses you just blend in to. Others like the K Club last week I’ve never really played well. Sunday’s 66 was the best round I’ve ever shot there. I just don’t seem to get comfortable and see the shots. You’ve got to like a course to play well on it.
Was the five iron at the 10th the best you could hit?
It was a tough shot out there. It was really gusting at that stage. Nick Faldo had to hit a three wood in there and Gary Orr had a two iron. I hit a really good drive and hit five iron from 170 metres. That was as good as I could hit it. It nearly went in.
Are you surprised how quickly you’ve settled back into tournament golf?
Yes, it was a bit difficult last week. I had a sore hand after the first couple of days, but once I got to the weekend I was thinking of my game again and thinking about golf. This week with the rain delays I only played nine holes with Sergio and the course was very wet. There was not as much attention at the beginning of this week so I could focus on the game a bit more.
How far ahead of Nick were you?
Probably on average about 30 yards ahead of him. He wasn’t swinging that well out there.
What did you do in the morning?
Luckily I rang before I planned to leave and I feel asleep on a couch for anotehr hour and a half.