Goosen The Quiet Man Wins Again

By Mercer BaggsJune 20, 2004, 4:00 pm
Retief Goosen sits passively in an airport terminal, awaiting the second leg of his flight to his home in Orlando, Fla. He is alone and unnoticed. He is flying commercially.
He has the look of a professional golfer: nice tan, polo shirt, crisp slacks. But so, too, do other travelers.
He looks straight ahead and, almost mistakenly, makes eye contact with a person bearing a Pebble Beach hat; the one person who seems to recognize him: me.
Hey, Retief.

End of conversation.
Retief Goosen is not the man you want in the passenger seat of your car as you attempt an all-night road trip. He doesnt speak unless prompted; talks softly; and is as monotone as a man with an accent can be.
He is so nondescript that he is unmistakable.
His Invisible Man persona, however, belies his radiant talent.
He has quietly, very quietly become one of the best golfers in the world. He has done so by winning in his native South Africa, by winning across Europe, by winning on the PGA Tour, by winning two European Tour money titles.
By winning two U.S. Opens.
Goosen won his second U.S. Open title Sunday at Shinnecock Hills just as he won his first at Southern Hills three years prior: without much fanfare and with very little flair.
He entered the final round of the 104th U.S. Open leading by two strokes. But his light-blue shirt, the one solid in color and buttoned all the way to the top, seemed to deflect the attention away from himself and onto his pursuers.
There was his playing companion Ernie Els: the man who would be king with a win. And there was Phil Mickelson: already king of the common fan.
The pressure was packed; the crowds peaked. Every Mickelson footstep garnered ridiculous applause. And while the fans cheered on Phil, they tried to will on Ernie early; knowing the value of his victory and the Augusta atonement it offered.
Els redemption song, however, wasnt sung Sunday. He first shot went right, and everything thereafter went wrong.
With his countryman crumbling like Babel, Goosen stood firm, limited his mistakes and kept at least a share of the lead until Mickelson overtook him with a birdie at the par-5 16th.
Goosen easily could have folded down the stretch. He had a 10-footer for par on 13. Made it. A 20-footer for bogey on 14. Made it. A 10-footer for par on 15. Made it.
Needing a 12-footer for birdie at the 16th to tie Mickelson, he converted his 10th one-putt of the round.
And when Mickelson double bogeyed the par-3 17th, Goosen one-putted 17 for par, and officially one-putted 18 for par ' and victory.
It wasnt just U.S. Open golf; it wasnt just Retief Goosen golf. It was Retief Goosen: spectacularly unspectacular; remarkably unremarkable; impressive in its ordinariness.
The applause was modest. The crowd that so heavily favored Mickelson was stunned. They clapped in respect, but they, too, seemed defeated.
Goosen smiled and shared a laugh with a gracious Els. He kissed his wife and carried his son in his arms on this Fathers Day. He signed his scorecard and held high his trophy. He explained his experience and made his speech.
I knew it was going to come down to Phil and Ernie ' those were the two guys to beat. Im just happy to come away with the trophy, he said.
It was simple and direct. It was expressed with little outward emotion. It wasn't what you might exepct from a man who just won the U.S. Open.
It was textbook Retief Goosen. Just like his play Sunday.
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    Watch that time Tiger throttled Ames, 9 and 8

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 4:54 pm

    Nine and eight. Three words that live in golf lore. Just say them and any golf fan can tell you what they mean.

    In the 2006 WGC-Match Play, Tiger Woods faced Stephen Ames in the opening round. Ames, when asked prior to the event about his chance of winning, infamously said, "Anything can happen, especially where he's hitting it."

    What happened on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at La Coasta Resort & Spa, was the most lopsided result in tournament history: 9 and 8 Check out the highlights below:

    After his win, Woods was asked if Ames' comment had motivated him. Woods replied, "9 and 8."

    Woods eventually lost, 1 up, to Chad Campbell in the third round. He then won his next start at Doral and went on to finish the season with six consecutive Tour wins, including The Open and PGA. He also won his first start in 2007 to make it seven consecutive Tour titles.

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    Schedule change, caddie change for Casey at Match Play

    By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 4:12 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Paul Casey originally planned to skip the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, opting for two weeks off before the Masters.

    Those plans changed when he removed the Arnold Palmer Invitational from his schedule and returned home to England last week to attend the funeral of a family friend. That adjustment also prompted a caddie change this week, with Scott Vail stepping in for the Englishman’s normal caddie, John McLaren.

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    “We looked at tickets and it just didn't make sense for Johnny to fly back. We try and base our schedule around playing the best golf possible, but also having quality family time,” Casey said on Tuesday at Austin Country Club. “For Johnny to break up a nice three-week break with his family, there was no point to ruining that.”

    This isn’t the first time Casey, who won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago, has needed a replacement caddie. At last year’s Travelers Championship, McLaren took a similar break and was replaced on the bag by Shannon Wallace. Although it’s not uncommon for caddies to take a week off, McLaren does have one stipulation.

    “The only rule we have is that if Johnny is not going to work, he picks my caddie. So he picked the caddie,” said Casey, who is 20-12-1 in 12 starts at the Match Play and has advanced to the championship match twice.

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    Westchester selected to host 2021 U.S. Women's Am

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 3:20 pm

    The USGA announced Tuesday that Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., has been selected to host the 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur. The tournament will be held Aug. 2-8, 2021.

    The club's West Course first hosted the event in 1923, and it boasts a storied history of professional tournaments as well. The PGA Tour hosted the Westchester Classic, later known as the Buick Classic and eventually The Barclays, at Westchester from 1967-2007, including the first-ever FedExCup playoff event, won by Steve Stricker in 2007.

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    First held in 1895, the Women's Amateur is open to players with a USGA handicap index not exceeding 5.4. Sophia Schubert won last year's event at San Diego Country Club, while this year's tournament will be held at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs.

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    Stock Watch: Park rises again, under the radar

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 20, 2018, 12:48 pm

    Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


    Rory (+10%): The massive drives, the fist pumps, the unmistakable strut – McIlroy finally found the spark that he needed to play confident, aggressive golf. Bring on Augusta and his shot at history.

    Tiger (+7%): It was another forgettable end to a final round, but let’s not lose sight of the big picture: Five events into his comeback, Woods has now carded 10 consecutive rounds of par or better – all on tough tracks – and can be viewed as a legitimate threat at the Masters. Remarkable, really.

    Inbee Park (+5%): Fighting injuries and questioning whether she should retire, the Queen ‘Bee routed a top field in just her second start back. Stud.

    Bryson (+3%): When The Machine operates properly, he’s one of the best ball-strikers in the world. Yes, he’s still painfully slow, but there’s no denying his talent – his runner-up against a star-studded field should help him tremendously.

    Laura Davies (+2%): Fifty-four years old and nursing an Achilles injury, she turned back the clock with one of the coolest performances of the young season, on any tour. She’s still got tons of game.


    Henrik Stenson (-1%): Maybe he’s just destined to go winless at Bay Hill. In the past four years, he’s had three excellent chances to win there and came away empty-handed each time.

    Rickie (-2%): Hanging near the lead, Fowler closed his third round bogey-double, then shot 74 in the final round to drop out of the top 10. Sigh.  

    P-Reed (-3%): His whiny protest to a rules official about a free drop – “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth” – got even juicier when the Ryder Cup partners were drawn in the same group at the Match Play. Get your popcorn ready.

    Ted Potter Jr. (-5%): His impressive victory at Pebble Beach over DJ, Phil and J-Day is looking more and more like a fluke each week. He’s now missed four consecutive cuts.

    Fan behavior (-7%): Another week, another player complaining about increasingly hostile spectators. The Tour has (frustratingly) remained quiet on the issue, but the tipping point will come when one of these dopes affects the outcome on the 72nd hole.