Monday, March 23

A Good Transitions for Retief Goosen


Retief Goosen tees off at The Open Championship. (Newton/Flickr)

I GUESS IF 50-YEAR-OLD Tom Lehman couldn’t win the Transitions Championship, then why not 40-year-old Retief Goosen? The South African put together a solid 1-under 70 in the final round to edge Brett Quigley (0 for 342 starts, but knocking at the door lately) and a resurgent Charles Howell III.

The players commented on how tough the course played over the last couple of days, and it definitely showed in the scores. It’s rare when 8-under wins a PGA Tour event. The greens, in particular, were a thrill ride.

That was fine with Goosen. There’s something about Retief and hard, crusty, slick greens. (Anyone remember Shinnecock Hills in 2004?) He only needed 25 putts over the final 18 holes at Innisbrook on Sunday. It all came down to a nerve-wracking five-footer on the 72nd green.

“I hit it dead straight, and it went in left half,” Retief said. “It was great to see that putt go in. The greens got scary.”

His long game, both irons and woods, was also more consistent than it has been. Goosen said the Innisbrook course fits his eye better than Bay Hill, this week’s PGA Tour stop.

“I knew I just needed to strike the ball a bit better and I did today, and this whole week,” he said.

Goosen File

Turned pro: 1990
Birthplace: Pietersburg, South Africa
World ranking: 22
European Tour wins: 14
PGA Tour wins: 7
Major wins: 2
Equipment: TaylorMade

−The Armchair Golfer

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