Goose turns to Player – for some in­spi­ra­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

IF Retief Goosen gets his way, he’ll get a putting tip from a lit­tle man in black this week­end that will turn him from a mul­ti­ple also-ran on tour into a mul­ti­ple win­ner.

That lit­tle man in black is 74-year-old Gary Player. He and the Goose have been paired as a bet­ter­ball team in the 36-hole Gary Player In­vi­ta­tional, pre­sented by Coca-Cola, at The Links at Fan­court to­day and to­mor­row.

“Gary’s such a pos­i­tive guy and just be­ing around him makes you pos­i­tive,” said Goosen, who has won twice this year – at home in the Africa Open and in Amer­ica in the Tran­si­tions Cham­pi­onship.

But, as he dis­closed yes­ter­day if his put­ter had been hot­ter he could have won half-adozen times, as his su­pe­rior long game time and again put him in con­tention all over the world in 2009.

So, he fig­ures, maybe be­ing in the com­pany of Player – who has won over 160 tour­na­ments around the world in­clud­ing nine Ma­jors and nine se­nior Ma­jors – out on the course for a cou­ple of days will re­sult in a putting tip, or a putting les­son, or just a pos­tive vibe, and he’ll start rolling in a lot more birdies.

At 40, Goosen - who plays in next week's Nd­bank Golf Chal­lenge at Sun City - be­lieves he is hit­ting the ball bet­ter than he has for a num­ber of years. “I’ve played a lot of tour­na­ments this year, be­cause I be­lieve it’s bet­ter for my golf if I play rather than prac­tise. Yeah, it’s been quite a good sea­son with those two wins but I can’t help feel­ing there would have been a lot more if I’d putted bet­ter.”

The Gary Player In­vi­ta­tional is one of the world’s fore­most char­ity golf tour­na­ments, em­brac­ing a se­ries spread over four con­ti­nents – Asia, Amer­ica, Europe and Africa. How­ever, the South African event at Fan­court, with its star-stud­ded line-up of pro­fes­sion­als, celebri­ties and busi­ness­men, is the big­gest and best of them all.

In the re­gion of $30-mil­lion has been raised for needy chil­dren over the years.

“That’s why I like to play in the In­vi­ta­tional be­cause it’s all about char­ity and to see the smiles on the chil­dren’s faces, thanks to the sup­port from the play­ers, celebri­ties and busi­ness­men, is pretty spe­cial,” said Goosen.

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