Goosen seized the day against Mark Brooks, winning the U.S. Open playoff Monday with an even-par 70 against Brooks 72. He seized the day when Tiger Woods couldnt ' after winning four straight majors, Woods had struggled all four rounds and finished in a tie for 12th. And he saved the day for South Africa, proving for one day at least that the countrys best golfer was not named Ernie Els or Gary Player.
I worked awfully hard out there today, said Goosen. Its been a long week and it feels like a year out there. I played awfully well the entire week. What can I say - its amazing.
Retief Goosen comments on his U.S. Open win
Throughout the tournament, Goosen played with a steady hand. He made all the up-and-downs, and his putting was beyond reproach save the 2 -foot miss at 18 on Sunday that sent this one into the playoff. Goosen was, without a doubt, the best player in the tournament.
He hit two great shots on 18 yesterday and he should have won then, said Brooks. Like I said yesterday, if Id have finished at 5-under (Brooks finished at 4-under), theres no way he would have three-putted.
Today was just one of those weird days. I got punished severely for being in the rough so much. And that was the difference.
Brooks got started early with a 9-iron to five feet at the third, but Goosen came back to tie it up with a beautiful tee shot on the par-3 6th. He arched his iron to within five feet and canned the putt.
Brooks hung his tee shot to the right on the seventh hole and had to dig it out. He wedged it on to the green 12 feet away and just missed the par putt, Goosen now taking the lead. Brooks missed the green on the par-3 eighth, dumping it in a bunker, but he hit a nice blast and canned the putt for par, remaining one behind Goosen.
Mark Brooks talks about losing the Monday playoff
Brooks continued his subpar play at the ninth, shoving his drive into the crowd and this time failing to make par. He battled a tree in getting it back out to the fairway, then failed to get it up-and-down and made bogey. Goosen, meanwhile, was tightening the noose a little more, making birdie at the ninth with a 15-foot putt. That gave Goosen a three-shot cushion as the second nine began.
Brooks problems continued at No. 10, where he once again drove into the right rough and made bogey. And Goosen was brilliant again, arching an iron to with 12 feet and sinking the putt for birdie. By now the South African had a five-shot lead and the championship was no longer in doubt.
The tournament was delayed by thunderstorms Thursday, but Brooks said it wasnt really a factor. It meant for some very long days as the large field slogged through the first tee only on Thursday and Friday, and the tournament didnt get back on schedule until Saturday evening. But by Monday, there was absolutely no effect on the two opponents.
Weve had a lot of long days the last month or so on Tour, played 36 somewhere. And we ran out, back and forth at Memorial, said Brooks. So it was good preparation.
Tulsa, incidentally, was far different from the venue of Goosens last outing eight days ago - the Forest of Arden Golf Club near Birmingham, England. His tie for fifth there was a prelude to what happened this week.
Last week we got windburn, this week sunburn, said Goosen. It was very cold there, especially the first two rounds. I dont know, the wind chill must have been nearly zero.
He came to Tulsa and the temperature most of the week hovered around 90.
Goosen is debating seriously whether now to use his Open championship and the resulting $900,000 to play the U.S. tour next year.
Ive enjoyed it out here this week, he said. The crowds have been great. When it was my turn to play, it was dead quiet. And when I made a putt, I got a good clap. It was great. It was a great feeling. I enjoyed every moment of it.
U.S. Open Playoff Scoring
U.S. Open Playoff Stats