|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
THE SHARK SHOOTOUT MEDIA DAY
October 2, 2009
LEE PATTERSON: Thank you again for joining us as we kick things off for the Shark Shootout's 21st edition. We are joined today by tournament host Greg Norman, who will be competing in his 21st Shootout. And by Taylor Ives, the tournament director, whose staff is preparing what will be the ninth Shootout to be conducted in Naples, Florida.
Hopefully everybody got the release we sent out about 15, 20 minutes ago that has the field that we're going to announce today. And if not, if you're in front of your computer, it'll be on thesharkshootout.com.
At this time I want to just turn it over to Greg, who's going to discuss today's news, and then we'll open it up for questions once Greg is finished with his comments. Greg?
GREG NORMAN: Good morning, everybody. I apologize for not being there. Unforeseen circumstances, and the surgery I had on my right shoulder was a bit of a surprise. I was trying to delay it until January of next year, but as it turns out I had to get it done now. Again, I apologize for not being there.
Yeah, the Shootout, 21 years, has been very consistent. But to me it's been a phenomenally successful event and even the economic circumstances where we are today on a global basis, I think we should be very proud of the way we're positioned in the Shootout going forward. Taylor Ives and his group have done a tremendous job with that.
The field is as good as you want to see for an event like a Shootout. We have a lot of multiple winners for the tournament this year. I think with that said, we have players who have won many, many times out there, and I think from that standpoint you look at what Steve Stricker has done, he's catapulted himself up into the World Rankings and is now No. 3. With his performance this year for the Shootout should be one of the better ones we've ever had.
From my standpoint playing with Freddie Couples, I think that's a great thing for myself and Freddie. Obviously we're Presidents Cup captains, we're great friends, and we talked about it at length up in Washington, DC, went up there for the last press conference for the Presidents Cup, and just proud to say that he'll be my partner.
Q. Could you just give us a little update on the shoulder? Are you going to be in a sling next week, or is it going to affect you writing out your pairings?
GREG NORMAN: Well, it'll affect me writing out my pairings because my right arm is in a sling, absolutely. I will be in a sling. I will be a lot more relaxed with it next week than I am right now. It's not going to affect anything that I'm doing at the golf tournament as far as the captaincy. So it's something that's called -- the surgery I had is called SLAP. It was a SLAP tear in my right shoulder, and it's really a tear that happens to athletes that do a lot of overhead sport. I played a lot of cricket when I was younger, hit the ball a lot, golf impedes on it, and like I said, it's called a SLAP tear. If you Google(tm) that, you'll see it. And we repaired it, and my doctor, Dr. Bradley, who works with the Pittsburgh Steelers, said it's like 101 percent recovery.
Q. You're absolutely, positively certain you're still going to be talking with Freddie by December?
GREG NORMAN: I think we're going to be fine. I just got a text from Freddie yesterday, and we're both looking forward to the start of the Presidents Cup next week. Once Thursday comes, it's all up to the boys, and however it plays out, there will be a winner. Both of us respect each other enough to know that we've put our best foot forward, and now it's in the hands of the players.
Q. Can you talk about juggling the responsibilities of the Presidents Cup along with the Shootout and everything else you're doing and what allows you to do that?
GREG NORMAN: I've actually had a pretty easy deal. I'm a kind of "DIN" and "DIP" guy. We call it "do it now" and "do it properly," so whenever there was a task at hand needed for The Presidents Cup or the Shootout, I just got on it and did it. I never really backed myself in the corner with anything.
I'm here to say right now everything is just perfect. I actually finished most of my stuff for The Presidents Cup about a month ago. There are a few little things we've got to do like getting the press together, players ready for the pressroom, players for the practice rounds. But that's really stuff you do the night before you play.
Q. Are there any changes planned in the setup of the course for this year?
GREG NORMAN: You're talking about for the Shootout?
Q. Yeah, the Shootout.
GREG NORMAN: No, none that I'm aware of.
Q. The SLAP tear, do you think with the surgery you've had, it seems you've had things reasonably well repaired, is it any chance it's partly a result of the recent increase you've had in the last couple years of playing more and practicing more to get out there?
GREG NORMAN: No, it's got nothing to do with that. Actually the doctor told me I have an anomaly. It's a bit of a birth defect, where my joints, like the socket in my hips and shoulders is just a little -- my ball and socket is a just little bit -- my ball is a little bit too big for my socket.
My history is the fact that I've had hip surgery and left shoulder surgery and right shoulder surgery, and it happens in about 12 percent of individuals. And I'm one of those 12 percent. It's unfortunately just an anomaly, and because of my athletic history, it's just started to show through at the end of the day.
So it's one thing I would never have known about and one thing I could have never avoided.
Q. You're an old pro unfortunately at these. Do you ever get at all anxious just about the procedures?
GREG NORMAN: No, no, not at all. The shoulder surgery is probably the most painful one to recover from. I've had the left shoulder, so I knew what to anticipate. It was just a matter of staying patient. You don't get much sleep because your arm is in a sling and you're in a tough position, but you've just got to stay patient and rehab the whole way through.
Q. Are you into double digits yet for procedures?
GREG NORMAN: I'm one shy, I think.
Q. One thing regarding the field was I noticed there's, I think, four American side Presidents Cuppers. There are still four players to announce for the Shark Shootout field; do you foresee any of your guys coming to Naples?
GREG NORMAN: Well, they'd love to, there's no question about that. But with the international players, the schedule in Australia and South Africa really dictates their schedules, and the Shootout conflicts with a couple of those. As much as I'd love to have them in there, I think the sheer fact that the southern hemisphere is in full swing with their tournaments down there, like I said, whether it's Australia or South Africa, I don't think we'll have that opportunity. I would love to see them, but I'm just not too sure whether that will happen.
Q. Because golf is an individual sport, when it comes time for a team competition, players always talk about the different pressures that they feel in not letting a teammate down or their country down. What is your experience with that, because it seems to a regular person that it's hard to imagine nerves being any more frayed than playing for a major championship. Just how do you contrast the feelings, and will you talk about that as a subject as a captain next week?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I was going to talk about it as a subject more as a player than as a captain. As a player I always felt like when you sat on the sidelines and you had four or five or six guys, depends on where you were in the play of the day that day, of your teammates just standing on the edge of the green just pulling for you to make the shot or watching you hit the second shot in the green, oh, you feel it, definitely. You feel it more than as an individual, because as an individual you're just responsible for yourself.
In a team sport you're responsible for 11 other players, plus their caddies. So there's a totally different feel about it, there's no question about it.
I enjoyed it. That's one of the reasons why I was so determined in a lot of ways with my suggestions way back when for the international players to get to experience a Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup format. There's so many great players who have never experienced it. With the Presidents Cup coming on line, we have that ability, and it's a tremendous experience, there's no question about it.
Q. I was going to sort of follow up on that by just asking, do you have a philosophy as captain? Do you have anything, any way you're going to approach this, or do you just sort of wing it when it comes to pairings and how that's all going to transpire next week?
GREG NORMAN: No, you don't wing it. I have had a formula for the way I'm going to approach this in the last month and a half. I'm not going to divulge that formula. Frank Nobilo and I will be flying out together on Sunday, so we'll have five hours to talk about it.
I have my ideas, there's no question about it. I'm very methodical in my due diligence and analyzation of players and golf balls and styles. I went out to Harding Park to play it deliberately for that reason, to understand the golf course, to marry up what I think are players playability-wise just to the golf course. No, I've done a lot of due diligence on it. It doesn't mean to say you're going to do the right thing, but at the end of the day, it's totally up to the players. You put them together and you just hope they go out there and perform to the level they want.
Q. That leads to the whole thing, and we've seen this a lot in the Ryder Cup, where the captains get a lot of criticism if things don't go well. Do you ultimately feel, though, that it is the players? That when it's all said and done, you can do all the homework you've just talked about --
GREG NORMAN: Look, this tournament is about the players, it's not about the captains. And I can just tell you that point blank.
I think that from my perspective, and I'm sure Freddie is going to be the same way, we should stand in the background. We've done all our work. Like I said, we've just got the minor details of just doing pairings. All the work a captain is responsible for doing happens in the two years leading up to the event. So now it just becomes the players.
I think I'm going to get that feeling whether we win, whether we lose. Some of the media are going to jump on you and second-guess. It's very easy to second-guess when you're sitting back there being an armchair critic. But at the end of the day when a player goes out to play in a golf tournament, it's really up to his playability whether he wins or not.
Like I said, I'm taking a backseat on this thing, and come middle the next week, Wednesday night, over to you, boys; you either win this or lose it; it's not up to me.
Q. Can you talk about your feelings on the tournament being back to the Shark Shootout and also its potential future with the contract coming up in another year?
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, right. Under the circumstances, I touched on it a little bit before, the economy has dictated and changed a lot for everybody. Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, you can go down the list. You pick up a newspaper every time, and there's a new situation in the last 48 hours and stuff like that. So there are a lot of changes on a day-to-day basis, and we've all got to be flexible and adjustable to those. We have to respect the situation that companies are in.
But that having been said, and I truly believe golf is a great platform, I think the turn of events in September of last year with the viewing of corporate dollars being spent on sports marketing and stuff like that have been taken out of context to some degree. And I think it's a shame, because golf is a great platform for exposure for corporations, it's a great platform for introducing revenue for the local communities, and people want to come and support the game.
So somebody like a Merrill Lynch have got to take that into consideration, and it's a lot of behind-the-scenes discussions. Am I disappointed? Am I saddened for Merrill Lynch? Absolutely, because they don't deserve to be in this position they're in right now. Sometimes the marketplace dictates situations that are beyond our control.
Q. If I can follow up on that, beyond 2010, B of A has, I guess, been reported to be expressing an enhanced interest in Tiger's event. Does that give you any concern that there may not be as much room or the room that you would need for them to continue on with you guys possibly?
GREG NORMAN: Well, there's always going to be -- in good times and in bad times, there's going to be sponsorship changes, people looking for other opportunities that may suit their platform or their portfolio better. Even in the halcyon days of the '80s and '90s people were changing. So I don't expect that to be anything different.
I'm very confident of the positioning of the Shootout and the credibility of it and what it gives to corporations and the guests that come in and the exposure they get. You've got to respect whatever B of A's decision is come 2010.
Taylor Ives and I have discussed this going forward, and I don't think we have any concern. Obviously it's all work, no question about it, but at the end of the day, I think our positioning in the world of golf is very strong. I don't think we'll have a problem.
Q. I just wanted to ask you about Adam Scott. I'm sure you saw he got off to a nice start yesterday in 40-degree temperatures in New York. I'm just curious from your standpoint, obviously you picked him for next week. It's been a tough year for him. Have you been able to determine or notice, is it technique, is it mental, is it -- it's just been so perplexing to those of us who follow to see him struggle like he has.
GREG NORMAN: You know, I really can't answer that because I don't know what goes on behind the scenes. All I know is every athlete goes through a bit of a tough time in their careers, whether it's on the golf course or in their arena or whether it's in the outside world.
I know Adam is a great player. I know Adam has got a great head on his shoulders. I know Adam is very determined to move ahead, and yesterday was just a great indicator of it. He told me that he's going to work extremely hard on his game the three weeks up to this tournament, and with that I think he's proven his case.
As I said, one round can be the catapult to getting your confidence back very quickly. An invitation to be one of the two spots in the Presidents Cup could have been a confidence builder for him, who knows. All I know is he deserves a spot. It's a captain's choice. That's why we have two picks. Some people are going to agree with you, some people don't agree with you. At the end of next week, we'll see what happens.
Q. Do you have any idea what your schedule looks like for next year in terms of how many tournaments you'll be playing in next year?
GREG NORMAN: I'm not 100 percent certain yet. I will be playing some early on in the year coming up, but I'm not 100 percent sure which ones I'll do.
Q. And also, do you have any idea at this point if the Ace Group Classic in Naples is on that list or not?
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, I've always looked at that. I've always looked at that tournament. There's a possibility of that, but I've also got some other things to do vis-√°-vis my golf course design work and other stuff. So I haven't really drilled down to the schedule that far out yet.
LEE PATTERSON: Just a reminder, he will be paired with Fred Couples as we have the Shark Shootout in December.
Q. When do you anticipate the other four names to come out in the four pairings?
GREG NORMAN: Probably in the next week to ten days.
Q. One last topic. You mentioned second-guessing, that sometimes for people it's easy to do. I was just kind of curious about you and Chris attending a fair number of sports events. What kind of fans are you guys? You always look like you're sort of quietly evaluating the events, but are you guys playing armchair critics a little bit? Are you analyzing or just there for the ambiance?
GREG NORMAN: No, we aren't really armchair critics or analyzing too much. In sport, like I said before, you've just got to go out and do what you do. I think at the end of the day I've done a very good job of setting up the correct base for them, for the players going into the tournament.
I think at the end of the day, you can't overanalyze or over-engineer in situations like that. I mean, players, when they get to the first tee, they just go play, no matter what sport you play, tennis court, whatever. You've just got to set it right up for them and make them as comfortable as possible getting there.
Q. What's a highlight for you as far as what you've been able to -- as far as what you've attended? Have you had any favorite event that you've been to with Chris?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I've enjoyed going to the U.S. Open. That's been a great deal. I've been a big tennis nut for my whole life. So just getting to meet some of the players -- you meet them over a period of time anyway, but going to the event and meeting them back in the locker room is a pretty neat experience.
Q. I have a question for Taylor. Talk about adding the 5K and going that route, and also, I guess, the new ticket package with the chamber.
TAYLOR IVES: Well, the 5K, it is year nine in Naples, and we thought it was a logical extension to tournament week, logical for a few reasons. Greg is someone who's passionate about fitness, and Naples being home to a very vibrant running community, we partnered up with Gulf Coast Runners. The event will take place within Tibur√≥n on the interior roads of the development. It'll be on Saturday morning, December 12th, prior to the commencement of play.
So it's a nice opportunity for the community to come out, enjoy a workout, help benefit CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation and then come back out to the event later that day or later that weekend.
In terms of the Collier Club, that's a new upgraded ticket that we have worked out in partnership with the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce. We have factored in some special pricing for chamber members. The facility will be located between the 8th and 17th holes, and it will include beer, wine, soft drinks, bar snacks, and we've got all the information on-line. We'll also include that in the press kits that we'll be mailing out next week.
We're excited about both new ventures and happy to answer any additional questions.
End of FastScripts