August 24, 1996
WES SEELEY: Greg Norman, 70, 68, 69, 207. 3 under par, and 3 off the lead for Greg Norman. A few general thoughts about your long day.
GREG NORMAN: That is about what it was, long. Anyway, 3 for 3 for me with the rain delays last three tournaments I played in. It was just a very steady day. Nothing spectacular about it. The golf course wasn't giving up a lot today even though it was soft. The breeze kind of like nullified a lot of the chances we had, thinking we could shoot a good low number out there and, you know, 67, 66, is what we classify as a low number around Firestone. Anybody shooting 68, 69, 67 today was a very, very good score.
WES SEELEY: Take us through your third round. With the birdies. Started with birdie on two.
GREG NORMAN: Come on Wes, we don't need to go through --
WES SEELEY: They will ask later.
GREG NORMAN: We went through those last night.
WES SEELEY: Third round.
GREG NORMAN: This afternoon's round? I thought you meant this morning's round.
WES SEELEY: After lunch.
GREG NORMAN: All right.
WES SEELEY: Too many holes today - I am sorry.
GREG NORMAN: Driver 2-iron, 2-putted from 30 feet. Refresh my memory.
WES SEELEY: Bogeyed 4.
GREG NORMAN: 4, I drove it in the left trees. 5-iron short of the green, chipped it short. 2-putted from about 20 feet.
WES SEELEY: Birdied 8.
GREG NORMAN: Driver, 7-iron to about five feet.
WES SEELEY: 11.
GREG NORMAN: 3-wood, sand iron to about six feet.
WES SEELEY: Bogeyed 15.
GREG NORMAN: 4-iron in the left bunker, 2-putted from about seven feet.
WES SEELEY: 17.
GREG NORMAN: Driver, pitching wedge to about ten feet.
WES SEELEY: 18 bogeyed.
GREG NORMAN: Driver in the left trees; hit the trees and 8-iron in the back bunker. Got it up and down for bogey.
WES SEELEY: Questions?
Q. Did you hear the explosion?
GREG NORMAN: I heard an explosion. Billy was over the ball somewhere. We heard an explosion. I didn't know what it was. .
Q. Did you guys speculate what it might be?
GREG NORMAN: I had no idea what it was.
WES SEELEY: Someone through something in a trash barrel. M-80 type-thing.
GREG NORMAN: M-80 like an M-80? (Indicating a gun)
WES SEELEY: No, firework.
Q. Like a stick of dynamite.
GREG NORMAN: A stick of dynamite? Really. I never - I didn't know anything about it, honestly. We didn't hear anything about that. If that is the case, I think it is just sad that some clown thinks he can get his vicarious thrills out of hurting people, I suppose. We don't need that in the game of golf. We don't need that anywhere in the world - especially after what we saw in Atlanta and what we see happening with all that other stuff, to think that has happened on a golf course; especially over here, I don't think it has ever happened anywhere. We have had some stuff at the British Open a couple of years ago Birkdale. I think we had some guy irate painting on the greens, stuff like that. I think we had a bomb threat there, if I remember, right?
Q. Yeah. Sunningdale. You remember the European Open in Sunningdale?
GREG NORMAN: I don't remember that.
Q. It was -
GREG NORMAN: What can you do? You'd rather not talk about it because those people obviously get themselves off by hearing about it.
Q. How did you play today? Yesterday you talked about how you hadn't been putted well in months. You putted -
GREG NORMAN: I putted pretty good today, yeah. I had no complaints. I hit a lot of good putts today, and I don't think too many people made a lot of putts, but I was happy. I am not complaining about the way I am stroking it.
Q. In a big tournament now, Greg, you are going to be the chaser instead of chasee. I guess that is the proper term. How about this course, can you make up three or four shots on this course if that winds blows tomorrow and it becomes the real Firestone with faster greens?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I think this is a golf course where it is hard to shoot a real low score. Firestone, it is hard to shoot 6, 7, 8 under par around this golf course. If you play good, you can shoot 3, 4 under. That is what I made. 66 is a very good low score around here. But I am not saying you can't drop three or four shots easily either, so it is a very, very difficult golf course to play. You have to drive the ball in play. You have got to play fairways and greens all day long. If you can do that and hit 3 quarters of your fairways and 3 quarters of your greens, you are - you know you are not going to hit every single one - you have got a good day's work done, give you some chance of winning tomorrow.
Q. What happened on 9? When you did come back this morning at 8 o'clock you were talking yesterday you were in the middle of the fairway?
GREG NORMAN: Yeah. Well, I had, I think it was, 196. Yesterday I was downwind and today we were into the wind, so I pulled 4-iron into the left bunker; hit a very poor bunker shot, and I lipped it out for par and then I just parred all the way until, I think 18 -- 17, excuse me.
Q. You were saying yesterday you thought the scores would be lower because it would be softer, but apparently they -
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, but I said if the wind doesn't blow too. The wind blew. That was my defense. I had an out there, Steve. Firestone runs north/south. Only two holes that run east/west, I think that is 5 and 6. Every other hole is north/south. So if you get the wind down in the north, like we had today, all your long holes were into the wind like 9, 18, 16, like the long par 3, 15, like 13 is into the wind, all your long par fours are hitting right into the teeth. So it makes it very, very difficult. You are going into those small greens with 3-irons, 4-irons, 5-irons. So the north wind around here is the hardest wind to really score on.
Q. Because as you said, as low as anybody can shoot will probably be 66 or 67. Does that narrow the list of contenders tomorrow to maybe a handful of people?
GREG NORMAN: I think some of the guys that are under par are about the guys who have got a shot, you know, again, if the wind stays the way it is. If the wind dies down, then maybe it will be a different story. If it is dead calm like it was on Thursday, Friday afternoon, when we went out and played, when we got the delay, before the delay, it was beautiful. I mean, guys were going to shoot, I thought I could have shot 62 if I didn't have a delay. That is the type of feeling you had because there is no wind; the greens are soft and you got the speed. So if the wind is blowing tomorrow, you know, that is my feeling. If the wind is not blowing tomorrow, you can really start thinking about, you know, you may not have to shoot 62. I don't have to shoot a 63 tomorrow, I know, that but somebody might have to.
Q. Would you prefer to play with Phil in the last group or does it make a difference to you at all?
GREG NORMAN: It doesn't make any difference: He is obviously playing pretty good. I am playing pretty good. Billy is playing pretty good. I don't know who else is up there, but we are the ones who have got to keep playing good to keep going after him. It is a long way around this golf course, so it will be interesting . It really -- who I am playing with is not a factor in what is going to happen and how I am going to play tomorrow.
Q. You said earlier in the week that even - I think I am getting this right, but I wasn't here - even if you win it is not a great year. I mean, we all know what happened, but what keeps it from being a great year?
GREG NORMAN: A great year is a year where everything is consistent. My year hasn't been consistent this year. It has been rather poor for me in that department. So it wouldn't make any difference. If I win here and I win THE TOUR Championship, then maybe it will get up there a little bit....
Q. So a great year is not necessarily a Major, where you win a Major, that doesn't define a great year or not?
GREG NORMAN: No, I don't think so. I mean, you can go out there and play some great golf and perform in the Majors and not win them and then perform very well like Mark Brooks. His year, this year, he has won outside the Majors; plus a Major. There might be other guys who won tournaments who haven't won Majors. In their mind, it might be a great year for them too. I think a lot of guys don't necessarily put all that criteria on the Majors. You can have a great year without winning a Major. You can have an average year and still win a Major. You can win a Major and not do very well in any other tournament; to me, that would not be a great year either. So it depends, like I said, it is consistency, what you do during the whole the year. If you feel like you have balanced you year out, with your performance level; if you have been in contention; fighting your way three quarters of the way of the tournaments you play in, that is a good year.
Q. What is the reason for this inconsistency in your mind?
GREG NORMAN: No, it is just sport. One year is good. Next year is great. Next year is average. Couple of more years -- it is just sport. I mean, so many things come into factor into sport. Life, in general - not every day you wake up feeling great. Sometimes you feel a little bit off color and you are not going to put in your best performance, so....
Q. The second shot on 18 where you said you hit the trees. Were you going for the green or just playing out?
GREG NORMAN: I was-- I had a shot. I had a low hooking 4-iron. I had about 189 yards, I think it was, and I just got it up a little bit too quick. I did have a play on the shot.
Q. Do you feel that your past success here gives you a shot or two on the field, walking to the first tee?
GREG NORMAN: I don't know whether it gives you a shot or two on the field. I think it gives you a good feeling going into it because you remember where the pins are. You remember shots that you played. Yeah, I think there is an advantage, but I don't think it is a two-shot advantage. I wish it was.
Q. When you go into a final round in contention, is it- do you- - is that significantly more interesting, more fun for you to play, or do you have to treat it like any other one?
GREG NORMAN: No, you don't treat it like any other round. If you are not in contention in any other round -- sometimes your concentration is not in there 100%. It is there, but you are not there. If you are in there with a chance to win, I think your internal, competitive drive kind of like gets up a little bit more. That is not to say that it works every time, but you do -- I think you do play differently when you got a chance to win.
Q. Is the final round for you significantly more interesting, more fun?
GREG NORMAN: Oh, yeah. Yeah. That is what it is all about - gives yourself a chance to win, as far as I am concerned, yeah.
Q. How many times have you played with Phil and do you have any special memories of playing with him or anything?
GREG NORMAN: No. We have played together quite a few times because we have been out here. He has been out here a while. I don't remember anything startling. I don't even know if I am going to play with Phil tomorrow, tell you the truth.
WES SEELEY: I believe you are going to play with Nick.
GREG NORMAN: Okay. Well, there you go, so I'm not playing with Phil tomorrow.
Q. What about playing with Nick, will it get the juices flowing?
GREG NORMAN: No. My juices will be focusing on winning than playing with Nick.
Q. Have you played with him since The Masters?
GREG NORMAN: I don't think we have, no.
GREG NORMAN: No.
WES SEELEY: Okay? All right.
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