A Look at the Life of Retief Goosen

A Look at the Life of Retief Goosen

As the induction of golf legend Retief Goosen into the World Golf Hall of Fame draws closer, Essential Golf takes a look at the life and career of the man who sat for over five years on the Official World Golf Ranking’s top ten list. 

Full name: Retief Goosen

Nickname: “The Goose”, “The Iceman”

Born: February 03, 1969

Hometown: Pietersburg, South Africa

Turned pro: 1990

Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame: 2019


Goosen turned professional in 1990, following a win in the South African Amateur Championship of the same year. In 1992, he was a medalist at the European Tour’s Qualifying School, and he enjoyed success on the Tour between 1992 and 2000.

However, the calm and collected “Iceman” did not make his name in America until 2001 when he won the U.S. Open on a demanding Southern Hills Country Club course. During the final round, Goosen nearly lost his chance at victory by missing a two-foot put on the final green but managed to make a playoff with the 1996 PGA Championship winner Mark Brooks.

That year also saw Goosen named European Tour Player of the Year and began his 250-week place within the Official World Golf Ranking’s top ten—from 2001 through to 2007.

He led the European Tour Order of Merit in 2001 and 2002, going on to win his second major title in 2004, which came at the U.S Open on the extremely tough Shinnecock Hills course. Goosen rose to his career-high world ranking position of 3rd.

Goosen won on the PGA Tour each year from 2001 to 2005, adding a seventh win in 2009 at the Transitions Championship. He also played in six consecutive Presidents Cups from 2000 to 2011 as part of the International Team.

The golfer’s 33 worldwide wins and celebrated legacy will see him honored at the World Golf Hall of Fame Ceremony on June 10, 2019 in Pebble Beach—the week of the men’s U.S Open Championship.

Career Wins

2001—U.S. Open Championship
2002—BellSouth Classic
2003—Chrysler Championship
2004—U.S. Open Championship
2004—THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola
2009—Transitions Championship

Personal life

Goosen was introduced to golf by his father—a local real state agent and amateur golfer who shared his love of the game with his son from an early age.

On the course, the pro is known for his calm demeanor, an attitude his mother attributes to the effects left on her son after he was struck by lightning on a golf course at the age of 16.

Goosen is also recognized for his interests in business and wine. He started his vineyard in Garden Route, South Africa—situated 2,500 feet above sea level—in 2005 and labeled his award-winning fine wine The Goose.

He reflects his enthusiasm for golf in his golf course design business, with projects including The Legend Golf & Safari Resort in South Africa and Dayi Smokey Mountain Resort in China.

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