Q&A: Two-time U.S. Open champ Retief Goosen reveals his favorite Open venue

Retief Goosen

Retief Goosen was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2019.

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In honor of his two U.S. Open victories (2001 and 2004), we asked magnificently chill South African Retief Goosen a series of questions with two-part answers.

What are your two favorite U.S. Open venues? Are you partial to Southern Hills and Shinnecock, where you won in ’01 and ’04?

Southern Hills and Shinnecock have changed dramatically since my wins, so it’s difficult to comment on their current designs. Pinehurst No. 2, a semi-links, is a truly unique course — very natural looking with its waste areas and, obviously, especially challenging around the greens.

Two favorite courses in South Africa?

The Gary Player Country Club at Sun City is a great course at a great resort. Polokwane Golf Club was my home course growing up and where it all started. My family are still members and I enjoy going back there when I’m visiting.

Two favorite pieces of golf gear?

I like how my Callaway Chrome Soft X golf ball performs. It’s very good off the driver, and I can control it into the green — it does what I want it to do. And the ball speed on my Callaway Mavrik 3-wood is outstanding, plus it’s a versatile club. I can rely on it off the tee and for a lot of different shots.

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Two favorite pre-round warm-up drills?

I focus on flexibility in my hamstrings and glutes, always stretching those, and walking on a treadmill for a few minutes before starting my range warm-up. I also use a few light weights to activate my arm muscles prior to making any swings.

Two tips for staying calm and collected under pressure?

I always try to stay focused on what’s ahead of me on the course and on the shot itself rather than on the situation. Another key is to make sure I stay hydrated and snack on the course. I’ve always believed having food in your system helps with concentration.

Two favorite swing thoughts?

I really only have one thought, which is to focus on swinging smoothly, because, generally, your swing speeds up under pressure.

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A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.