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May 30, 2002

Greg Norman


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome Greg Norman back to the Kemper Insurance Open press room.

4-under 67 today we started on the backside today with a birdie on No. 11, could you walk us through that hole, please.

GREG NORMAN: 9-iron to about 7 feet.

TODD BUDNICK: Bogey on 12.

GREG NORMAN: Driver, left rough, pitching wedge short of the green, pitching wedge on the green, 2 putted from about 12 feet.

TODD BUDNICK: 14, 15 and 16?

GREG NORMAN: 3-iron, sand wedge to about 12 feet, driver 7-iron to about 24 feet and 3-wood, 6-iron to about 12 feet.

TODD BUDNICK: And we made the turn and No. 5?

GREG NORMAN: 3-wood, pitching wedge 12 feet.


GREG NORMAN: 6, driver, 3-wood, 2-putted from about 45 feet.


GREG NORMAN: 6-iron in the right bunker and out to about 25 feet and 2-putted.

TODD BUDNICK: As we stated yesterday, you like to play here. You've always played well. Looks like you've got off to another good start.

GREG NORMAN: I played very well today. I drove the ball exceptionally well. I had the ball in play right up until the 8th hole. I had the right feel for the golf course today. It was really there to be had this morning. It was very nice conditions, not much wind to be concerned about. You can be fairly aggressive with your iron play. There's not much to worry about if you've got a good strike on the ball; head it straight at the flag.

Q. On the 6th hole a lot of people go for the green, but you were well into the right side of the fairway. Did you feel that was a pretty audacious shot to go for the green in two?

GREG NORMAN: I was a little on the upslope. The length of the shot was about right. It was like a normal swinging 3-wood, and I could see the shot and felt good about it. Even if you laid it up, it was going to be an easy pitch shot anyway. My philosophy if I was going to cut it, overcut it so the ball would be right of the green, if anything. So fortunately I hit a beautiful shot right there.

Q. (Inaudible.)

GREG NORMAN: No, not in my mind. The caddy would have liked me to lay it up. He knew I could see the shot I wanted to hit, and that was the end of that.

Q. You talked about how you felt good today on the golf course. In this point of the season, with your game, how do you feel about putting four rounds together as you have done so many times in the past when you've done?

GREG NORMAN: I feel pretty good about it. Like I said, I drove the ball well today. That's always been the strength of my career is driving the golf ball. I'm not as long as I used to be. I'm probably as long now as I used to be, I should say, but compared to what the players are doing nowadays, I'm not as long as the younger players are. Getting the ball in play at 280, 290 is crucial, and that's what I'm doing today. If I keep driving the ball well, I'll give myself a lot of chances. You've got to make close to between 20 and 24 birdies for the week on this golf course. That's the number you've got to think about because you know scores are going to be low here. Always 16, 18 under around here, so you've got to keep pace with that number.

Q. Greg, on I think it was 7, all three of you guys, I was walking up saying, "Good luck," and you almost holed it. Jose gets up-and-down; Mark holes that second drop shot. Do you find when guys get sparked like that, it triggers the whole crowd to play well? You have a good short game going right now.

GREG NORMAN: There's no question it was a group save. I didn't miss a lot of greens today. And that's probably -- I had to hit that shot perfectly. I had to see it and feel it. And you don't want to short side yourself, especially on that green.

Mark chipped it in. He probably had the hardest shot of the whole lot of us because he was close to the green but also behind the green. So his shot was a lot harder than my shot.

Jose hit the easiest shot, really, but I think it was a little late in the round -- if that happened like on the 7th hole on a regular round, then you've got the next 10 or 12 holes that people can get excited about because that was three pretty good up-and-downs.

Q. What was the distance on that shot on No. 6?

GREG NORMAN: I think it was about 228, something like that.

Q. No. 9 was a hole that you obviously criticize when this place first came open. They've made another change so you can see the whole green. Do you like that hole now? And how much has this course matured and changed, either for the better or worse, since you've been coming here?

GREG NORMAN: Layout-wise I like the golf course. I like -- there's a lot of undulation on this golf course. I'm still not a fan of No. 9. I think it's too much of a dramatic shot -- drop for that short a shot. If it was maybe 30 yards longer, then the drop wouldn't feel so dramatic. You stand on the tee and you've got 155 yards below you, it feels like you can actually throw it on there. It's a real awkward feel. If the green was actually back, 30 yards further back, it's no problem. But it just feels -- to me it just feels funky. When you get on the tee there, you really can't see the flight of the shot, because it's so much downhill, you really can't picture the flight you want the ball to come off the tee.

Q. With so many young players coming out and you talk about how far they hit the ball, in what areas are you able to make up your advantage in terms of the short game, is it experience, to stay competitive out here?

GREG NORMAN: Well, I think it's just all around your game. Just because you get out driven doesn't mean to say you can get out played. Obviously length is a huge advantage. I was a testament of that when I was back in my 20s and 30s, length was an advantage. You get to the golf course and you feel like it's going to be a par 68. So you get older, you lose some of that ability, hitting the ball farther. You don't really work on anything different; you just work with what your game is. And you make some adjustments to some game plan, instead of being -- well, the 6th hole was the way I would have played it ten years ago. You just get up there, play aggressive. You see the shot and you know you can play the shot, whether it's a 3-wood or 5-iron.

So there's not anything specific you've got to work on, it's just the overall game. You've got to know your game and know how to play your game -- know how to play yourself around the golf course.

Q. Greg, because you're playing so infrequently, do you feel you still are capable of winning out here?

GREG NORMAN: Oh, yeah. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think so. I don't think infrequent play is the ingredient for non-winning, because I know in my career, you've taken five, six weeks off and come out and won the next week. I think if your heart is in the game, no matter how long you've been out of the game, you should be able to step up to the plate and compete. I make the analogy, it's a little bit like riding a bike. If you haven't been on a bike in many, many a year, when you get back on, you feel a little uncertain, but once you get your momentum going, everything kicks in. And it's the same with the game of golf.

The hard part about coming back after a long period of time and not playing for a long period of time is actually getting yourself into position, getting yourself motivated and keeping that going for a period of time, where come Sunday, you actually feel that little bit of movement in the stomach, which is great. That's what you're looking for. And then everything else goes on automatic pilot, and then you just go play. I'm not a big believer in lack of play is going to be detrimental to your chances of winning.

Q. (Inaudible.)

GREG NORMAN: This place, here, Avenel? I've never been a believer in one place owing you anything. I know I've played well around here. I just never really played well enough to win. I don't think of it that way. I'd like to come out obviously the next three days and really put myself in a position to win coming down the last five or six holes. I think that's a position that I want to put my mind at for the next couple of days playing.

Q. Would you tell us some of the things you do to stay in top shape, such as workouts, massage therapy, things you do?

GREG NORMAN: I've always been a meticulous guy that works out in the gym since late '80s, early '90s, and nothing has really changed in there. From a nutritional standpoint, I'm really not doing anything that methodical. I still drink cold beer, and I still drink wine. I don't over indulge in anything, really. I'm very well balanced with what I do, whether it's working out or taking time off. I think that's the most important thing. But I've always enjoyed working out. I think it's a necessary part for myself to unload the stress that I have sometimes, and working out does that for me.

Q. Greg, has anybody been able to figure out that period in golf from mid 40s to 50 in the Senior Tour, has anybody kept their game together so well that others go to them and say how do you do that, how do you get from 45 to 50?

GREG NORMAN: No, I don't think so. I answered the question a little bit before, a different question in the same way. It just depends on what you have in your heart, really. If your heart tells you you want to get out there and play, whether you're 45, 47, 50, whatever it is, if you really want to go play, go play. If you feel like you can play well enough to win, go win. That's all it is.

I don't think there's any -- anybody can give you any guidance on how to approach it in your late 40s. I think you've got enough experience under your belt from 25, 30 years of playing the game of golf that you should have the knowledge and the feeling of what to do.

Q. I'm sure the fans here, given the field here, would love to see you in position Sunday. Would it mean more to you now to get in that position than it did fairly early in your career when you were doing it on a regular basis?

GREG NORMAN: Would it mean more now? I don't know whether it would mean more now. It would mean a lot to me right now. I don't know whether it would mean more to me. It would be the reinforcement of the belief in myself that I can do it. That's all it is, all it would be. If I didn't think I could put myself in a position to win the golf tournament, I wouldn't be here, trust me. I've got too many other things I love to do in life to come out here and feel like I'm just walking around the golf course. So it really would be the fulfillment of how I feel inside, that, yes, you can still do it. And today was a good indication of that, even though it was only one round of golf.

Q. One question, it's been a long time since you've been a non-exempt player on this Tour. I know in Atlanta, you had gotten the exemption, you weren't going to go, and it turned out you wanted to go, but the exemption was gone, then. Can you talk about what it's like in your case to be a non-exempt player out here now?

GREG NORMAN: Sometimes it feels fantastic because I'm a free man and I can go do whatever I want to do. But it's quite ironic this year, to tell you the truth. This year I would have played more tournaments as a nonmember than last year when I was a member. And that's just unfortunately the way last year worked out, unforeseen circumstances for me. I wish there was a better way to allow players the opportunity of going and playing a few more golf tournaments even though they're not members because I don't want to go overseas and play golf. I live here in the United States and I'd like to play golf here. But at the same time for me to be a member of the Tour here, I have to play 15 golf tournaments. 15 golf tournaments here, with my commitments in Australia adds up to too many golf tournaments. I'm in that no man's land, really.

It feels good to be a nonmember of the PGA TOUR, because I can really make the choice to go where I want to go. But it doesn't feel good, because when I want to go play more golf tournaments, I can't play golf tournaments. I've received a lot of invitations this year for a lot of tournaments to play, and I can't give them an answer, And that's a sad thing. And I actually make personal phone calls to every tournament director that's invited me, and I say here's the situation, instead of writing you a letter saying I'd love to play, but I can't. I have to explain why I didn't, nonmember in my position cannot accept an invitation for tournament play.

And, yes, you're right, Atlanta I wanted to play Atlanta, but because it was a week before Augusta, everybody dished out about (inaudible) -- those are the things you've got to live with.

End of FastScripts....

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