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Retief Goosen takes a break

Globe-trotting Retief Goosen is enjoying the hottest streak in world golf at the moment and even the problems of jet lag have not unduly worried the South African.

Since his team triumph with compatriot Ernie Els in last November's World Cup of Golf in Japan, the U.S. Open champion has been criss-crossing the oceans.

He has flown to Hawaii, Sun City, Cape Town, back to Hawaii, to Durban, Johannesburg, Perth in Australia and then on to Sun City in South Africa for the Dimension Data Pro-Am which finished last weekend.

During this time he has finished third, joint-eighth, tied for second, joint-14th, tied fifth and joint-second before posting back-to-back wins at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia and at the Dimension Data Pro-Am on Sunday.

He has returned to the top of the European Tour money list, which he clinched last year, and has climbed to a career-high number seven in the world rankings.

"This has been a great week for me," Goosen said after his three-shot triumph at the Gary Player Country Club on his 33rd birthday.

"It's a pity I can't stay on (in South Africa) and try to win the (S.A.) order of merit. But I'm really tired after five hard weeks on tour and I'm taking two weeks off. I really need the break.

Goosen returned to his Surrey home in England to recharge his batteries before he begins preparations for the opening major of the year - the U.S. Masters at Augusta from April 11-14.

After clinching his first major title at last year's U.S. Open, and then winning twice in Europe on his way to topping the season-ending money list, Goosen plans to play on both the European and the U.S. Tours during 2002.

"There's a lot of golf to come this year and I've got to refresh my mind a bit. I have felt really tired over the last two days," he said.

"I had sore feet and spent a lot of time in the physio room (at Sun City) to keep me in shape, so I've got to take a break. But at least I know I'm playing well when I return."

Goosen, who cruised to victory by eight shots in Australia the previous week, won on Sunday after closing with a 66 for a 20-under-par total of 268, beating Scotland's Scott Drummond into second place.

His only regret at the moment might be that he is peaking too early in the year, with all of the bigger events still to come.

But a win is a win, and two wins in a row are even better.

The "Goose", as he is widely known, will be hoping he can maintain his sky-high confidence and impressive form for the rest of the international season.

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