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.
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.
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.