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August 3, 2002

Greg Norman


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: You managed your game well in the wind and you came out here today and played very well. Why don't you take about the week so far and we'll go into some questions.

GREG NORMAN: Well, the week has been a good week. Coming out here, I knew I was playing very, very well. Yesterday, unfortunately, we just got the rough end of the stick. I know the morning group had some wind, but we played the back nine last which was the most exposed nine holes. At this altitude and trying to judge the wind and the trajectory, it was very, very awkward.

I think Andrew here asked me a question and I had to go back to really 1976 to -- for modern type of golf courses, not like British Open golf courses, modern golf courses that really are not designed for 40 mile-an-hour wind. Became a very, very awkward day indeed.

Q. When was that?

GREG NORMAN: It was a Bicentennial at Royal Melbourne. I think Trevino even threatened to walk off that year, if memory serves me right, that hot-headed Mexican that he is. (Laughter.)

Q. You've been playing well for a while, just saying the putts are not dropping. Is that all it was today in did you get the putter hot or what?

GREG NORMAN: No, I didn't actually. I think I had three 3-putts today. I played fairly well today. Obviously, making eagle on 17 helps you. I made all the short putts. I hit the ball fairly close at times, but all in all, just the ball-striking has been pretty good.

Q. How close were you at Muirfield?

GREG NORMAN: I could smell it. It was the first time I've smelled it in a few years. You're going down 7 on the last day, the par 3, I knew my position, I was just perfectly placed, and I knew if I could get 2-under around those four holes, like 8,9, 10, 11, if I could turn those in 2-under, I would be in great shape for the win because nobody was really doing anything.

We knew nobody was really going it pull away. The conditions of the golf course was not giving up anything.

And I remember missing a very short putt on the 11th hole from about 12 or 11 feet and I lipped it out, and I had a feeling then, I said to Tony, "My God, I hope that's not the one that kills the momentum." And as it turns out it really was.

It was close, it was really, really close. But there was probably 20 guys saying the same thing, not just myself.

Q. I saw you on the putting green here on Thursday night; you were working a lot on that. What do you think the problem is?

GREG NORMAN: I don't know. I don't know what the problem is. I don't want to think it's technique, but when we were working on it Thursday afternoon or whatever it was, I was trying to work on my lines to make sure the shaft was straight up-and-down and square at impact.

I don't want to start searching too much because I don't think there's a lot there to look for. I think it's just a matter of making a couple of putts early on and that will build up momentum for me as the day goes by and the tournament goes on. I think the secret to putting well is to start putting well on the first nine holes on the first day. I haven't got my full confidence that I had back a couple of years ago when I was playing a lot of golf. It's just a matter of building it up and getting it there and when I know it's there, I know my ball-striking, it won't let me down.

Q. With so much made of the younger generation of players and how much attention they get, is it any more satisfying for you when you come out and you're near the top of the leaderboard and you show that you're still around here today?

GREG NORMAN: Not really. I don't think about it from an age aspect. You think about it from a tournament aspect. You want to come out here -- I feel the last couple of months I've been playing well enough to win and that's what my objective is , not to beat the 21 -year olds or 24-year-olds or 30-year-olds. I just feel that age is really a number in a lot of people's minds. If you think you're old, you're old; and if you don't, you're okay.

Quite honestly, I think I'm probably fitter than most of those young guys, anyway, which is a pretty good, positive step.

Q. Talk about how well positioned you are going into the final round, and what do you need to do most on Sunday?

GREG NORMAN: Make a punch of points, simple as that. These guys have got nine holes to play, and the back nine will probably give up six points, seven points to a majority of them, leaders on the leaderboard. So I imagine 26 will probably be leading at the end of the day, 25 or something like that, which is not much. It's really only three birdies and you're only three shots back.

So in realistic terms, I feel very comfortably placed, to tell you the truth. Irrespective of what the weather is like tomorrow, I'll be looking forward to it.

Q. Obviously, it's a big change in mindset when you have to play in conditions like you did yesterday. But is there much of a change from playing yesterday to playing today, as far as your mindset?

GREG NORMAN: No. Yesterday was six hours and two minutes on the golf course, and you get tired at the end of the day and you really just walk off the golf course and you are downbeat and you don't hit any golf balls.

This morning, I hit more golf balls just to get my rhythm back. That's all you really lose; you get a little quicker off the ball. Not that anything else is affecting your head, but this morning, I went up to the top range where it was very quiet and peaceful, and I hit balls there instead of being down in the bottom there instead of trying to beat them up that top slope, and I think that helped me, just to get away and get your rhythm back again.

Q. With all of the success off the course, how do you balance playing and having success outside of golf without getting burnt out?

GREG NORMAN: I think that's a generic question every week, I suppose. But I've never really played a lot of golf, quite honestly. I've always played around 23, 25 tournaments a year, which is not a great deal. Of late, I've had good people around me that I can trust when I go away to Europe for three weeks. It's not a comfortable feeling to leave your office because a lot of things that are happening in the middle of the year. You're getting ready for the end of the year stuff and getting ready for what you want to do in business for 12 months. So this is about our time to really set where we want to go.

So it's hard to be away for a three-week period of time. I've got very, very good people who are heads of each of the divisions of the companies that I have, and it makes me comfortable. It's taken a long time to get to that position, but you have to build up trust and faith in everybody. Fortunately, I've got a great group of guys that I have a faith and trust in. I listen to them when I'm away, I'm on the phone and on e-mail; it's not like you are totally out of touch with things.

I enjoy it. As soon as I get home, I'm in the office about six o'clock in the morning on a Monday morning and I go for about three or four days and try and catch up on everything that needs to be caught up on.

Q. (Inaudible.)

GREG NORMAN: I enjoy doing both. They are totally different things. I get a big buzz out of golf course development and design. That stuff , Steve Stricker and I were talking about it all the way around today, because I enjoy doing stuff like that, but I also being out here.

Once you get yourself in the thick of things , it's like riding a bike, the old self comes back. That's what you grew up on. You grew up on competition and competition on the golf course is great, but competition off the golf course is just as great, and you still need to the same dedication and ethics and morals. And so whatever you established on the golf course, you take it off, you should be all right.

Q. (Inaudible.)

GREG NORMAN: Those two things you mentioned, a lot of other people do all that for me. That's a branding issue. The things that I have under the GNSE umbrella that we actually run is design, development, turf and stuff like that, which you're really very much hands-on, the distribution down in Australia. So when you have a branding issue, it's pretty easy. We still have to meet -- like last week we met with the wine, where we are going to be in 2003, 2004, 2005. So you've got to let them know where your head is at because your name is on the product, so you have to protect it.

Q. What brings you back to this tournament so many years? What do you like about this tournament and what do you like about your victory?

GREG NORMAN: I come back here for Jack Vickers, Jimmy Vickers, Tommy Vickers. They have been tremendous supporters of the game of golf, to come up with this concept, to back this tournament at times when people are saying it's a bit of a hicky-type tournament. They have done a tremendous job in supporting the game of golf.

They are just lovable guys, too. I think when you have the opportunity to come here supporting people like that, no problem, whether you like the golf course, whether you like the golf course out here or the setting or the ambiance -- that all is great, too, but I do it for more the Vickers than anything else. They deserve it. They deserve all of the success they get, and what they have put into this community here is tremendous.

They went through a lot of rocky roads getting this development off the ground, too, early on. So you respect that. They hung in there and they supported this tournament, whether it is out of their own pocket, but they supported the tournament with their own time and effort. So tremendous, tremendous guys.

Q. (Inaudible.)

GREG NORMAN: I don't have much, actually. I remember wearing a shitty-colored shirt. I remember that much. (Laughter.) A branding issue -- things are different nowadays. (Laughter.) It won't be that loud, I can tell you that. '89, what is that, 12 or 13 years old? I won't come out with a Hawaiian shirt, that's for sure.

Q. Can you talk anything about the course layout for Red Sky?

GREG NORMAN: Red Sky is coming along beautifully well. We should open it by summer of next year. Hopefully around the first of June, middle of June it should be ready. I think we have ten holes and we've sodded most of them. Tremendous project. Great setting because it is up there, panoramic views from basically 360 degrees and been extremely successful. I think there are 238 or 240 members at 175.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Can you takes us through your round, please?

GREG NORMAN: 1, driver, 5-wood on the front edge of the green and 2-putted.

3, I hit driver, 9-iron to about 12 feet.

4, left bunker, 7-iron. Left it short in the fringe and chipped it on and made it from about two feet for 4.

7, 8-iron to about 25 feet and 3-putted.

8, driver, 5-wood to about 15 feet, 2-putted.

10, driver, 9-iron to about five feet.

13, I hit driver, sand wedge to about 15 feet.

14, driver in the right rough, right trees chipped it out, pitching wedge to about two feet.

Next hole is 3-wood, sand wedge to about six feet.

Next hole, 5-iron to about 30 feet and 3-putted.

17, I hit a driver, 5-iron to about 18 feet, 1-putted.

So Andrew, I only had two 3-putts.

Q. You played with Sergio at Muirfield the first two days. What did you see? Did he impress you? Did he look like he had the characteristics of a kid that could really blossom over the next 10, 15 years?

GREG NORMAN: Oh, I think he's right on the cusp of blossoming right now. What I liked about Sergio is his attitude, his demeanor or on the golf course. He gets just mad enough to be good. I don't like seeing a guy get really mad to be mad, just to be angry. Sergio gets mad just because he knows how good a player he is and I think that's great. It's a sign that you know you're good, and he's got enough ego and enough confidence about himself to not be too far out there, but just enough to know.

There's a lot of time for him. He's great for the game and he will continue to be great for the game. You know, as far as he hits and as straight as he hits it and as great as he putts, he's got a huge, huge future. As long as he keeps his head level and not get too far ahead of himself, he'll be fine.

I hate to see where everybody tells him he can't be Tiger, he can't be Tiger, and comparing him with Tiger all the time. You've got one golfer over here and you have another golfer over here, just let the guy go and he'll do what he needs to do. He's got the capabilities to do whatever he wants to do. He'll win his major championships because he's that good.

Q. Do you carry different clubs here for certain shots?

GREG NORMAN: Yeah, I take my 2-iron out and I put a 5-wood in, basically for holes like 1,8 and 14, if you get it on the fairway, then you can hit that in there. The greens are soft enough to be able to do that. If the greens were firmer, then I would probably put the 2-iron back in the bag and you'd be chasing them up to the front edge because you could not fly them on the greens anyway.

Q. Are you happy with the Shark Shootout at Tiburon?

GREG NORMAN: It was a very successful event. I think out of the ten years or 11 years we've been having it, it was the most successful event. I think Naples was crying out for a tournament of something like that, at that time of year. It was supported tremendously well by the spectators and the sponsors, and I see nothing but really blue sky for the tournament in that area.

I think the PGA TOUR recognizes that, too, because I don't think any regular tour events are have been held in Naples, ever. So, I think it's been tremendous. And now we are getting a lot of interest from a lot of other higher-ranked and better players who want to play because the Ritz Carlton is right there, we've got a great golf course. And it's in Florida, it's not on the West Coast where we have cold weather early in the mornings and we don't have to tee off the 6:15 and stuff like that. So I think the guys are starting to like it much better over there in Naples.

End of FastScripts....

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