March 30 2011
HUMBLE, Texas -- New old putter. New grip. New course.
Two-time U.S. Open champ Retief Goosen hopes that’ll do the trick this week at the Shell Houston Open. And, maybe at next week’s Masters, too.
“I think that's the main thing,’’ he said. “You know, I've always done well at Augusta playing the week before when we had the event at Atlanta, and since that was moved, I don't really do that well at Augusta. So I feel playing here hopefully this week will give me the feeling you need to have going into Augusta.’’
What drew him in was the course setup -- fast greens, shaved runoff areas – that emulates conditions players will see next week.
“A lot of the players said it's as close as you can get it to Augusta settings or grass, I should say,’’ he said. “So that's definitely -- that definitely made me decide to play this year.’’
Goosen finished third at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship earlier this year and shared 12th at the Northern Trust Open, but his game still needs work. So, he’s changing his grip and going back to the YES! putter he used to win both of his U.S. Opens.
“Hopefully,’’ he said, “get some good feelings on the greens this week.”
His other concern? Driving.
“The game is not great, not really done much this year,’’ Goosen said. “Couple of good events but not really playing that well. I got my coach here this week, so we're working on a few things, a little bit of a grip change. I think this week, which is always a bit hard, you know, to get comfortable on, but changing my grip slightly this week and hopefully, you know, come tomorrow, start hitting a few good shots and give you some confidence going into next week.’’ -- Melanie Hauser