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Retief Goosen putting family first

The European Tour Order of Merit is now a two-man battle between Colin Montgomerie and Michael Campbell, to be settled this week at the season-ending Volvo Masters in Spain.

Montgomerie will try for an eighth money title, and leads the U.S. Open champion by about $183,000. That means Campbell has to finish at least fifth to have any chance of winning.

Retief Goosen, meanwhile, took himself out of the race when he didn't play for three weeks while spending time with his family and resting a sore groin.

Goosen missed the WGC-American Express Championship, a $7.5 million event that would have at least kept him in contention for a third Order of Merit. By not playing -- Monty earned $353,600 with a tie for third at Harding Park -- Goosen now is about $390,000 behind and will play the Chrysler Championship in Florida this week.

"It was a big event to miss. It probably cost me the Order of Merit," Goosen said. "But you've got to spend some time with your family. I haven't seen them much over the last three months. I needed to have a break with the kids."

Goosen plans to spend three months in South Africa after the season, and won't return to the United States until the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa during the last week in February.

That means missing the Mercedes Championships at Kapalua, a tough decision for a guy who once said there was no better way to start the season than holding a drink with a flower in it.

"But with kids, it's 35 hours traveling from South Africa to get there, and that's not what we wanted," he said.

October 26, 2005

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