By RICK BROWN, PCC Senior Reporter
Retief Goosen has had more than golf on his mind in recent weeks.
He will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on June 10 at Pebble Beach, Calif.
“Obviously I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time,” said the two-time U.S. Open champion, who is making his first appearance in the Principal Charity Classic this week.
Goosen got the news on his induction in October, in a phone call from Gary Player.
“We’ve got everything worked out now,” Goosen said. “People from all over the world are coming (to the ceremony). Next week is for catching up with friends in San Francisco for five days, then we’ll go down to Pebble and do all the stuff there. Once that is over, it will be back to concentrating on golf.”
Goosen has won 33 tournaments worldwide, including U.S. Opens at Southern Hills in 2001 and Shinnecock Hills in 2004. He won seven times on the PGA Tour, 12 times on the European Tour, eight times on the Southern Africa Tour and three times on the Asian PGA.
Now 50 years old, Goosen became eligible for the PGA Tour Champions in February. He made his debut at the Oasis Championship, and is playing in his ninth PGA Tour Champions event this week.
Goosen is coming off a career-best fourth-place finish last week at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill. He also tied for second in the Chubb Classic in his second tournament, but has struggled with his wedge play in his new surroundings.
“I’m just not good enough to play on the other tour any more,” said Goosen, who has shot 71-69 in his first two trips around the Wakonda Club. “So I was looking forward to the PGA Tour Champions, and catching up with the guys I haven’t seen for awhile. It’s been fun out here so far. My golf hasn’t quite caught fire yet, but hopefully it will come alive.”
Goosen isn’t concerned about the challenge of learning a whole new set of courses on the PGA Tour Champions.
“A golf course is a golf course,” Goosen said. “You’ve got to hit it down the fairway, hit it on the green and make a putt. For me, my short iron play has just not quite been sharp enough. That’s something I’ve got to work on, because I’m still pretty good off the tee, so I have a lot of short irons into the green. If I get that right, I’ll be hitting it close to the hole and I’ll start making putts.”
Goosen played 20 events on the PGA Tour last year, and he plans to play a handful of tournaments on that tour this summer. But he’ll spend a majority of his time on the PGA Tour Champions.
“My focus is out here now,” Goosen said. “I just need to get in a bit of a groove.”