MONTREAL (Reuters) - Retief Goosen predicts low scoring at this week’s Presidents Cup with the small, contoured greens at Royal Montreal Golf Club likely to provide the biggest challenge.
“The fairways are generous and there’s not a lot of rough so scoring’s going to be good,” Goosen told reporters after playing nine holes in practice with Canadian Mike Weir on Monday.
“It’s not that tough off the tee and I think putting is going to be an important part this week. The greens are tricky and there’s a lot of slope,” added the South African, who has a win-loss-half record of 9-5-1 at the Presidents Cup.
The par-70 Blue Course has been revamped since it staged the most recent of its nine Canadian Opens in 2001 and designer Rees Jones has strengthened the greens by introducing tiers.
However, the tree-lined layout is not particularly long by modern standards despite being stretched by 300 yards to 7,153 off the back tees.
Goosen, who will be representing the Internationals for a fourth time against the United States in the biennial team competition, is well aware of the fickle nature of matchplay golf.
The Internationals boast nine of the world’s top 19 in their 12-man line-up but their opponents go into this week as slight favorites as they bid to secure a fifth triumph in seven editions.
”You could play well and still lose,“ twice U.S. Open champion Goosen said. ”You can’t really measure your game. You can shoot seven under and lose and you can shoot even and win.
“At the end of the day, you’ve just got to catch the right guy at the right time. And the team’s going to have to blend well together.”
Goosen, who beat world number one Tiger Woods 2&1 in the last-day singles at the 2005 Presidents Cup, accepts his own form has been below par this season.
The 38-year-old has not won on either the European Tour or the U.S. PGA Tour, where he has posted just one top-10 in 14 starts.
“I‘m still working on those few swing changes and I‘m starting to hit better golf shots,” said Goosen, whose best finish on the 2007 PGA Tour was a tie for second at the Masters in April.
“My putting is not quite there but it’s coming along nicely. I‘m feeling like I‘m ready for this week.”
The Presidents Cup starts on Thursday with the opening six foursome matches.