August 21, 1996
WES SEELEY: We have our defending champion, Greg Norman. And I guess we will start with a couple of thoughts on your last two days, which is another pleasant experience.
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, it was. We had an exceptionally good two days, actually. Brad and I have synergies about the play. We play together very, very tight. We haven't played a bogey in two years playing together, which is pretty good. And, you know, we actually came back from three shots behind with nine holes to do. We played great the back 9, obviously. I don't know whether anybody saw it. Nobody likes to see what happened to Mark Calcavecchia. He had a very makeable putt, but fortunately for us we are on the receiving end of the mistake made by him.
WES SEELEY: Folks.
Q. Monday was not like an outing. Monday was actually a golf tournament. You came in here last year under the same circumstances. I just presume it gave you momentum. And the other part of my question is, for the last few years - besides winning last year - for about the last five years, you have played very well here so, you obviously like this long par 70 golf course?
GREG NORMAN: Yeah. Only time we haven't been here is when we were over the road. I think - what was that, two years ago? Yeah, I have always liked the golf course. It sets up well for me. Got to drive the ball exceptionally good around here. And that is what I have a tendency of doing. So I feel comfortable here. I have played here enough and, obviously, winning last year, after playing here many years without winning, was important for me. So I am going to take it on this week. And winning yesterday or the two days - even though it was a Monday/Tuesday deal, it is still a win and you still feel the pressure. You still feel the competitive drive that you need to go through to win. So I am looking forward to it. I am keen to play this week.
Q. Winning here last year kind of turned a very good year into a great year. I mean, it put you on top of the money list. Could it do the same thing this year?
GREG NORMAN: I don't think it will turn it into a great year. Not like last year. This year has been a bit of a strange year for me - a lot of ups and downs. A lot of good sides and a lot of bad sides, so there has been a lot of inconsistencies. And I don't feel like I am an inconsistent performer. I feel like I am fairly steady with the way I play. And my way, I dedicate myself, and my dedication has been there, but the overall end result hasn't been the same. Yeah, a win here will, obviously, be very nice, but I wouldn't put it up there in the G-R-E-A-T category.
Q. How about the fact, Greg, how often - I know it happened at the PGA, how many times -- does a spasm like that just comes and goes, I assume?
GREG NORMAN: Yeah.
Q. How many times has it come up this year?
GREG NORMAN: You don't know when it is going to come up. I could be brushing my teeth and not be able to stand up, that type of deal. It comes at home when I am messing around at home and doing things. It is just one of those little quirks of the game of golf. It's just given me degeneration in my back, like probably majority of guys out there have. And, you know, you live and bear with it. I don't want to have surgery. I have no intention of having surgery, so you do an exercise program which I have completely changed. I started on a new program next week, actually when I get back home. And, you know, continue it on. And for the next many years that I need to continue it on. It is just one of those unfortunate things that happen. You don't know when it is going to happen. I could be feeling great like at the PGA Championship and pull out a pitching wedge and go and put the club on the ground; hit my first shot and I can't get it down. From that moment on, you know you are in trouble for the rest of the day because your muscles have gone into a spasm to protect that flare-up of what has gone on.
Q. How long does it last?
GREG NORMAN: You can get rid of it in a couple three days, but then you need to let it die down. You need the inflammation to die down; then you can get back to work.
Q. You said you started a new regimen. What would be different from what you are doing now? Adding? Subtracting?
GREG NORMAN: It is just a completely new routine. Different approach to it. I am not truly up to speed with it. I am going to be -- I have been speaking with Pete for the last two weeks about it since the PGA. I have been speaking to a couple of doctors about it. He is coordinating with them. I love working out anyway, so it is actually going to a bit of a joy for me because I have been getting a bit of a mundane approach to working out. I am doing the same routine all the time, so to me, it is going to be -- I am going to be very enthusiastic for the next couple of months, twelve months, about it.
Q. Is it something that you are concentrating on to help your back?
GREG NORMAN: Oh, yeah, that is purely the reason why I am doing it.
Q. Are you making the change because the old one is getting mundane or it is not working?
GREG NORMAN: Old way works, but you need to change. You need to improve. You need -- like anything, you just can't keep doing the same thing all the time. So a good routine, a good change-up is good for you. I am still working the same muscle segment, but it is going to be a different way of working them.
Q. As long as you are on that back subject, I know a lot of players, as you said, on the Tour have the same problem playing golf. I am always reading about different ways you can stand and things like this to take pressure off. Have you had to change the mechanics of your swing and various things to accommodate your back?
GREG NORMAN: No. That one thing I won't do. I don't want to go changing my swing for that reason, so I'd rather change my body physically and keep my swing the same than trying to change my swing to protect my body.
Q. You said the year has been up-and-down for you. Does that make it up-and-down emotionally also?
GREG NORMAN: What do you think? Yeah, of course, it does. When you are not playing the way you know you can play, you obviously feel the emotions about it. If you are playing great, you feel the emotions about winning. Yeah, that is a very logical sequence of being physical and emotional parts of the game.
Q. What is left for you this year? What is the rest of your schedule?
GREG NORMAN: I got one left in America. That is THE TOUR Championship.
Q. What about overseas?
GREG NORMAN: I am going to play the Dunhill Cup, European, Masters, and two tournaments in Australia.
GREG NORMAN: And the Shark Shootout - there you go, so I got 5, I think is left.
Q. Australia after THE TOUR Championship?
GREG NORMAN: Yes. And the Shark Shootout. Got three in a row - Shark Shootout, Australian Open and my tournament in Australia, the Holen Classic.
Q. Besides keeping it in the fairway out here and hitting it straight. What about iron-play and putting on these greens if they get -- if they build up to the speed that they normally can?
GREG NORMAN: Well, these greens are designed for high ball hitting. That is why I think again I play well around here because I hit a lot of high iron shots. I can think in many holes out there iron-play is where you are hitting 5, 6, 7 irons, 4-irons; you got to bring them in from some type of attitude. So, yeah, but then again, you see someone like Mike Reid winning around here too and someone like David Frost, the Fulton Allems of the world who flight the ball well. If you are playing good you can adjust anywhere, but it does have a tendency of favoring the guy like a Freddie Couples who can bring it in high or Davis Love who has got the length and the strength, so you know, there is a bit of a favoring towards those type of players.
Q. Since this is sort of the end of the year for the PGA TOUR, what kind of grade would you give yourself this year?
GREG NORMAN: It would probably be the lowest of about since 1991, I would say.
GREG NORMAN: Yeah.
Q. Your high would be Doral, I guess, would that be the high point of the year or was there anything else?
GREG NORMAN: No, I had a high point at Augusta. Of course, the end result wasn't the way I wanted to have it, but that was a high week for me. Doral was good. I thought my application was probably the best in the four Majors, taking away two rounds - last round at Augusta and last round of PGA, obviously, because of my back. The rest, I was right in there for what have we got, 14 of the 16 rounds, so you know, I enjoyed the Majors this year. I just didn't convert them the way I would have like to have converted them.
Q. So you were second scoring (sic) in the Majors this year (inaudible)?
GREG NORMAN: I figure that because I was playing -- I knew I was playing good going into them and maybe that my enthusiasm would peak up a little bit for them, and when I go to another -- that is why I say, my application for this year has been strange and maybe I haven't been as keyed up as what I should have been.
Q. Did it take maybe four weeks to bounce back from The Masters or did that -- did you just bounce back like any other tournament?
GREG NORMAN: Like any other tournament. I mean, there was a lot of emotion about it because of what was written about it. You know, IT was great for you guys because you had a huge story to play with for six months, but you know, from my point of view, I got to Hilton Head. I had played pretty good at Hilton Head. So I am very resilient in that way being able to put that stuff out of my mind and go on and even if I win I can go on and play pretty good. You need to do that- because that is sport, you got to learn to make those adjustments.
Q. Is there any reason, other than your back then, that has made this year, you know, your lowest grade since 1991?
GREG NORMAN: Like I just said before, sometimes you just don't -- you don't have it in your head to go out there and play. Maybe this year was one of those years where I was there, but I wasn't 100% there and you have to be 100% if you want to perform.
Q. We have got so many first-time winners on the Tour this year that you have helped this because other people have helped this and are we seeing a changing of the guard or are there just so many good people out there you have got to be 100% every week?
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, this is an argument that goes on every year when you see a lot of guys coming out and winning. I don't think there is any changing of the guard. You see the old guard winning, Tom Watson. Everybody basically had written Tom off and the old guard comes through. I think what you see is the fact that the game of golf is truly a professional game now. It is a pure business. The guys see what you can make out of the game monetarily. They go out and they work at it. They are more dedicated. To me, there is a less of intimidation factor. When I first came out on the Tour, you were intimidated by the Nicklaus's, the Watsons and the Floyds and Trevinos and those guys, and the Palmers. Nowadays, guys come out of college who come out of Q School and they are ready to go. They are ready to win. That is a credit to our game because, you know, of what they can get out of it. So they are ready to go and seize hold of a business the best way they possibly can and the way they do that is they win. So I don't think it is any changing of the job. I think you are always going to see this happen for ever and a day, this wave of kids coming in all the time. It is just a matter of their longevity - how long do they stay out there - like a Watson who has been going on for 25 years or a Nicklaus or a Palmer or those guys? You know, it is a long road to go and it is just only time tells.
WES SEELEY: Okay.
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