Goosen Gets His Groove Back

By Tim Rosaforte Illustrations by Julien Pacaud
April 21, 2009

Retief Goosen seemed like the last man who would ever need to use a belly putter when he won the U.S. Open at Southern Hills in 2001 and at Shinnecock in 2004, making one key putt after another on dried-out, extremely fast greens (some of which became so crusty they had to be watered between groups). However, time frays the nerves, so there was the South African using a belly putter early in the year. According to his coach, Gregor Jamieson, Goosen was using the belly only to help get his stroke back. When he won The Transitions Championship in Florida in March, Goosen putted with the same normal-length Yes! Golf Tracy putter that he used to win his two major championships. Because it's forty grams heavier than most putters, Goosen says it helps him on quick greens. With his putting stroke back, Goosen is among the favorites to win the Open at Bethpage. ... Aussie Aaron Baddeley played his way into the final twosome of the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont with the Stack & Tilt swing taught by Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett. He used the belly putter to get his stroke back.'But he returned to his childhood swing coach,Dale Lynch, just before the Masters. "He's looking long-term," Lynch says. "He's trying to get his game to match up to his talent." ... Another Australian, Robert Allenby, lost his mother, Sylvia, to cancer in January, and will wear a pink shirt in her honor every Sunday on tour this year. "Your mom's your mom. You can't replace her," Allenby said. ... Newlywed Annika Sorenstam will miss her first U.S. Women's Open (July 9-12) since 1994 but will still be busy this summer. She's launching a fragrance and moving across the street in Orlando to the home previously owned by instructor David Leadbetter, who's moving to Sarasota, Fla. Sorenstam and husband,Mike McGee, were looking for more space after announcing they're expecting their first child this fall.

Tim Rosaforte, a Senior Writer for Golf Digest and Golf World, appears on Golf Channel's "Golf Central" and NBC's coverage of the Players, U.S. Open and Presidents Cup.