Retief Goosen revels in the tough Northern Trust Open conditions at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.
The Major Champion Retief sits on top of the Northern Trust Open leaderboard at -6 under par following his second round -1 under par 70
The conditions have been likened to a U.S. Open by Retief, and other players, firm very quick greens, and some of the holes are extremely difficult to par, let alone get a birdie;
“The greens are definitely becoming, you know, U.S. Open greens.”
“They are getting firmer and quicker. Some of these holes, if you get away with a par, it’s a good score.”
“It’s been such a long time since I’ve last been in contention, who knows how my game is going to hold up?”
“But I’m feeling good, my back is feeling great. So if the nerves can hold, just continue to make good golf swings and make a few good putts, who knows?”
Who knows indeed, just take a look back at last year when Bubba Watson came through to win with a pair of 64’s on the weekend. That does not look likely in these conditions, but who knows.
In second place are three players, all on -5 under par, and just one shot back, Ryan Moore, Justin Thomas and Canadian Graham DeLaet, who carded one of the lowest rounds of the day, -4 under par 67. Ryan had a second round -3 under par 68 and Justin -2 under 69.
Ryan stated that to get close to the pin you need a lot of luck;
“There’s a few out there today, if someone got it inside 10 feet, I mean, it’s an accident.”
“It’s luck to get it around a couple of these holes. As firm as they are, they are where they normally put the pins here but they are firm and bouncy and it’s a little breezy.”
“It’s a great test of golf right now.”
Graham reported that you have to be the real deal to get it around this course, and he thinks Justin, who he played with today has the credentials;
“You can’t fake it around this place.”
“It’s a good, solid traditional golf course. It’s pure golf. But the 10th hole, everybody talks about, it’s a 300-yard hole that’s like a chess game.”
” Just to make a four there, you’d take every single day.”
“But the finishing hole is great and everything in between, there’s just no let up on the golf course and you have to hit quality shots all the way around.”
“It was a lot of fun.”
“Justin Thomas is a hell of a player. He’s the future of golf. He’s your prototypical new young star: Bombs it and does every part of the game well. It was a pleasure playing with him today.”
Rookie Thomas has played here as an amateur, and has some good memories of the course;
“I loved the course as soon as I got here, so a lot of good memories that came back.”
“I’ve only played one major but from my experience and from what I’ve heard from others, this is very U.S. Open like, I would say.”
“It’s very firm, and being in the fairway is such a huge premium, and all the spin you can get on it is really important.”