2001: Goosen’s victory proves U.S. Open was no fluke

Luss, Scotland

If you didn’t know Retief Goosen was for real after his U.S. Open victory at Southern Hills, you should now.

The South African proved his playoff triumph over Mark Brooks in Tulsa was no fluke by running away with the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond. Goosen won the tournament July 15 after posting a 16-under-par 268, with rounds of 62-69-66-71. His check for $522,648 brought his earnings in the last 28 days to about $1.5 million.

Denmark’s Thomas Björn finished second at 13 under. John Daly, Adam Scott, Paul McGinley of Ireland and Englishman Barry Lane shared third at 12 under. Darren Clarke was seventh at 11 under.

Goosen said the wire-to-wire victory was important to prove he deserved to win the U.S. Open, despite his three-putt on the 72nd hole.

“If people say I was lucky winning the U.S. Open, then maybe I’ve proved myself a little bit this week,” said Goosen. “To come and win is great for my confidence.

“There are players that have won majors and then not won afterwards. I know Paul Lawrie hasn’t won since the (1999) British Open. Mark Brooks hasn’t won since the (1996) PGA Championship. So it was nice to win here, and I give myself a big pat on the back and say well done.”

Goosen extended his lead at the top of the European Order of Merit to nearly $295,000 over Björn. He said his main goal is to finish the season at No. 1.

Björn said his game is better now than when he defeated Tiger Woods in the Dubai Desert Classic in March.

“That was a good performance,” he said. “I played proper golf. I mean straight down the middle and controlled. I hit my irons pure. I am hitting the ball as well as when I won in Dubai, but I’m swinging the club better.”

Scott, who turned 21 the day after the tournament, complained that his game was letting him down under pressure.

“It wasn’t the birthday present I was looking for,” said the Australian. “I putted terribly today and put so much pressure on my long game. It is pretty disappointing to play like that. I’m not too happy. I have to work on my game. It is just not holding up when I get in contention.”

There were a few consolation prizes. Lane and Scott qualified for the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes this week, while McGinley moved up to eighth place in the Ryder Cup standings for Europe.

Meanwhile, Daly’s four rounds – 68-68-66-70 – showed that maybe he really is a reformed character.

“It’s been a good week,” said Daly. “I just need to find a way to get the ball in the hole. I can’t hit the ball any better. My mind is good. I am starting to believe in myself again.”

The Scottish Open also was a showcase for Michael Hoey, the 2001 British Amateur champion. Hoey, 22, who has been named to the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team, was the only one all week to play the front nine in 7-under 29. The former Clemson player finished with 64 Sunday for the low round of the day. His 7-under total tied for 11th.

The tournament experienced poor weather the first three days until the sun came out Sunday. A four-hour and 10-minute rain delay meant 15 groups from Thursday had to complete their rounds Friday, and preferred lies were in operation all week.

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