Goosen Overlooked at the Top

By Associated PressMarch 23, 2005, 5:00 pm
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Poised, polished and absolutely unflappable.
 
Watching Retief Goosen now its hard to imagine he once threw a club in jest'let alone snapped one in anger. Goosen says his younger days were marked by frustration and insecurity, leading to broken clubs and lack of focus.
 
My temperament pretty much used to be the worst part of my game, said Goosen, the forgotten star among the worlds top five at The Players Championship.
 
Retief Goosen and Tiger Woods
Retief Goosen has had a hard time getting mentioned with the likes of Tiger Woods.
Goosen had to fix the mental side of his game, overcoming poor shots to recover and excel.
 
I knew there was always a problem, that my focusing wasnt good enough to get around the course, he said.
 
That hardly seems the case these days for the worlds fifth-ranked golfer, often nudged out of conversations about the PGA Tours Big Four of Vijay Sigh, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson'all to tee off Thursday at the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass Stadium Course.
 
While the attention is aimed at those four, Goosen goes about showing he belongs alongside them.
 
Goosen was the only player who stayed with Mickelson at the U.S. Open last June, overcoming the fan favorite to win his second major. Then in November, Goosen chased down Woods to take the Tour Championship, becoming only the third golfer to knock Woods out of a 54-hole lead.
 
Goosens only problem? He seems fairly, well, dull. Theres rarely a grimace or any show of emotion.
 
Im quite happy to go home and relax and not come into the media (tent), Goosen said.
 
Darren Clarke says Goosen might be overlooked by the media and the public, but not by his fellow players.
 
Hes won two U.S. Opens, Clarke said. Youve got to play some to win a couple of those.
 
Goosen knew to advance hed have to calm himself.
 
I had to pay for all those broken shafts and it was getting a bit expensive, he said.
 
Goosen had worked with swing coach Sam Frost but became so frustrated at hitting the ball well and not winning, he gave up coaches. He linked up with Belgian psychologist Jos Vanstiphout in 1999, and things began to click.
 
Two years later, as a PGA Tour rookie, the South African won $1.1 million and his first U.S. Open title in an 18-hole playoff with Mark Brooks. Goosen reached the top 10 on the money list a year later.
 
His most successful season was last year, when he won the U.S. Open and the Tour Championship, and finished sixth on the money list with more than $3.8 million.
 
I think once I got out on tour here, I knew I could play the game, he said.
 
He has shown it ever since.
 
Hell need every bit of that ability to stick with the field, which includes the worlds top 50 players as well as the Big Four.
 
Theyve all won one or two tournaments, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. Theyre joined by a lot of other players that are playing well. But Vijay, Tiger, Ernie and Phil have the opportunity this week to create some stories that could be pretty special.
 
It doesnt always work out that way. Woods is the only one to win The Players Championship, the richest tournament in golf - $8 million - in 2001.
 
Maybe Ive run out of patience here in the last couple of years, Els said. So I think this week Ive got to be really patient, sometimes just throttle back and put the ball in play'play it like a major.
 
Els has only two top 10s in his 11 years at Sawgrass, and the others arent much better. Singh has just two top-10s, his only year in contention ending with a tee shot he hooked into the water on No. 14 in 2001 when he finished second to Woods.
 
Mickelsons best finish came last year, when he was four shots behind champion Adam Scott.
 
Woods has had the most success. Besides his win at this site four years ago, he finished second to Hal Sutton in 2000 and won the U.S. Amateur title at Sawgrass in 1994.
 
Ive had a nice run here, Woods said.
 
But he has gone three straight years outside the top 10, and last year nearly missed the cut after opening with a 75.
 
Goosen has missed the cut in five of his six appearances at this event. But he had three straight top-10 finishes this season and feels ready to challenge for The Players Championship'and maybe turn the Big Four into the Big Five.
 
I need to win a few more tournaments and a few big ones, I think, to really put my name up there, he said.
 
Related Links:
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    Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

    John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

    The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

    That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

    He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.