Goose turns to Player – for some inspiration
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.