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May 31, 2002

Greg Norman


JOE CHEMYCZ: Greg, welcome. Congratulations on another great round. Just talk a little bit about your play today.

GREG NORMAN: Well, the play was fairly consistent to say the least. I drove the ball exceptionally well. And I mentioned that yesterday, if you get out on this golf course and drive the ball well -- I got off to a slow start to say the least. I didn't capitalize on some of the good shots. But I hit a good shot on 8.

And one on No. 9 helped me get momentum. And there on in I kept hitting the shots I've hit for the last two days.

JOE CHEMYCZ: 12 of 14 fairways today.

GREG NORMAN: You have to drive the ball well around here. If you start hitting stop hitting the fairways, it's a heavy bluegrass rough. Some of the greens are located in tough positions, because they roll up, and you can't lob the ball on to it. Keeping the ball in play is crucial.

JOE CHEMYCZ: 24 putts as well, obviously a good day on the greens for you, as well.

GREG NORMAN: A lot of those putts are on the fringes, too, so I don't think that is a true indication -- I made a lot of good putts, no question, but also putting off the fringe quite a few times.

Q. You looked like you were relentless. Does that kick in for you, or is it something that once you get a couple of things going, it kicks in or is that how you came in?

GREG NORMAN: The hardest part about getting motivated is getting yourself there. Once you get going, a lot of your inner self starts coming out. Sometimes the hard part is actually getting to the starting gate. And once you're out of the starting gate in a good fashion, everything else just takes over naturally. And that's how I've golfed the last couple of days.

Yesterday was a good start. Shooting a 68 was just the tonic I needed to feel comfortable going to bed last night, to wake up feeling comfortable. And I have no apprehensions or thoughts or feelings that I have to work on something to keep myself feeling motivated. I feel pretty good right now and very comfortable in the position.

Q. You said the toughest thing is to get started, the first couple of days to get there and get into it. The first two days are usually the toughest, and looking at your lead in the tournament.

GREG NORMAN: You want to keep that feeling going all the way through. Now I'm in a position where everybody is on the same page. All the leaders are off at the same time. We're all going to experience the same golf course at the same time, so now you can pretty much keep pace or keep ahead, or if somebody shoots a great round tomorrow, I'm going to be there going into Sunday, anyway. So I'm in a very good position right now going for the weekend, not only from my physical aspect, but from my mental aspect, as well. I feel -- I'm looking forward to just going back and relaxing now. I feel like I've done a pretty good two days of work.

Q. You've had a lot of questions about golfers at your age, 45 approaching 50, the last two days has made the statement that you still have something to contribute on a regular TOUR event?

GREG NORMAN: I've always been a strong believer, you're only as old as how old you feel. And I've been a strong proponent of keeping my body feeling strong, as healthy as I possibly could do it. I don't feel 47, to tell you the truth. I probably feel better now than when I did when I was 35. I may have a few more aches and pains, yes, but I think when I was 35 I had those aches and pains, and you just didn't pay attention to them.

But from health-wise, my work ethic has been second to none, I will guarantee you that, in my sport, anyway, and for the long period of time that I've been doing it.

Q. Obviously this tournament needed a player of your stature to be in this position. How much did you need for your own confidence, for your own plans for the next couple of years to be in this position again?

GREG NORMAN: Well, I wouldn't go as far out as the next couple of years, from a confidence aspect. I've always been a confident individual. I've always been a believer in my ability to achieve things no matter what. There have been times I've been frustrated, yes, because my body hasn't allowed me to do the things I like to do. Now my body is in sync with my mind. My mind is in sync with what I want to do. So for the moment, right now, it's a very, very good tonic for me. Irrespective of the outcome, it's a very, very good tonic because I know now I've brought myself back to where I feel all the hard work I've been doing over the last year, year and a half to get myself, from the rehab perspective, to get myself physically strong has paid off.

Q. Just to follow up on that, you were around the world when you take these long breaks. You talked about getting off the bicycle and on the bicycle, but what do you do when you're building courses, when you're doing all those things that you're doing away from the golf course? Do you get on the course at some point?

GREG NORMAN: What do I do when I'm not playing golf?

Q. Yes. Do you get on the course occasionally or try to make something every day?

GREG NORMAN: No, not every day. But, yes, I do try to practice. For example, when I finished at Hilton Head, I didn't play golf for almost five weeks until just before I came here. But I kept myself physically fit. I work out. I ride the road bike. I do up to close to 120 miles a week riding a push bike on the road. So anything I do away from the golf actually is advantageous to the game of golf. So when I go back to the game of golf and start practicing again, I'm not that far behind the eight ball. I'm ready to go because I'm physically ready to go play.

So when I go to golf course design work, that's strenuous because I walk, so that's the type of thing, if you're fit you can do that. So I have a very regimented routine about how to maintain what I know I can do and keeping myself very well balanced. And a lot of my workout, like I said the other day, is stretch related. I relieve myself from a long day. I go to the office around 7:30 every day, and I work until about 4:30 in the afternoon when I hit the gym. And to me the gym is kind of like, or my road bike, because that's when I absorb everything and go -- I relax and I'm fine.

Q. Greg, obviously winning any tournament would feel good. Would it be especially pleasing to win a tournament on the PGA TOUR while not exempt on the PGA TOUR?

GREG NORMAN: Well, that really -- that doesn't bother me either way. Winning out here is winning on the PGA TOUR, anyway. No, it doesn't make much difference whether I am a member or not a member.

Q. When was the last time you remember feeling this good about your game, about your mind, just in general feeling this good about where you are in the world of golf?

GREG NORMAN: I've felt this way since the Skins game. The Skins game is not a 72-hole event by any stretch of the imagination, but when I was in Palm Springs in Thanksgiving last year, I felt I was right there. I felt I was going to be the guy to be the guy. I felt very good going into the tournament and I played that way. I hit the right shots at the right time coming down the stretch. And so that's not that long ago. And even though it was a Skins game and made for television match, I played some of the shots that were necessary under the gun. I've never had to make a putt for a million dollars. And those are the kinds of things that I knew I was very calm within myself and I didn't have one bit of apprehension about anything I did during that Skins game, so that was a good indication to me. And that's pretty much how I feel right now.

Q. (Inaudible.)

GREG NORMAN: I shut everybody out.

Q. (Inaudible.)

GREG NORMAN: A million dollars.

Q. (Inaudible.)

GREG NORMAN: That was Montgomerie, Woods, Parnevick.

Q. When was the surgery, when was --?

GREG NORMAN: It was two years ago July.

Q. And that was for your elbow?

GREG NORMAN: That was on my hip.

Q. You haven't won since '97. Is the drive more in your mind to win another event or is the drive more in your mind since you're involved in business now to do some big deal?

GREG NORMAN: Well, when you're out here you don't think about the deals. When you're off the golf course, you think about doing business. So it's hard to say can which one you like to do the most. But I'm in a certain environment when I'm trying to get something done in business, you feel great. When I'm out here doing this, it feels great to do this. I put them on an equal.

Q. Is it a replacement? Eventually you won't be able to play at this level, obviously you know that. Is business for you a replacement for this?

GREG NORMAN: No question. I said that back in 1993. I started my career where I would have an avenue to go to when I stopped playing the game of golf. And I've seen too many athletes when they wrap up their sporting careers have no where to go. They gravitate to television or they gravitate to something else that is either a fill-in or stopgap. I didn't want to get in that position. I wanted to get in a position where I knew at some stage of my career I was going to be a noncompetitive competitor. And when that came, I had enough going on around me that I could move on over there and be happy as anybody.

And that's worked very, very well for me. I've done a great job of having a vision and building up for that vision and have come to a position now where it's actually -- it generates its own character, its own business, and you just have to monitor. Before we had to go find the right things to do; now we've got it structured in such a way that we're building on the base of what we have, and eventually with a strategy where you sell them out or (inaudible).

Q. Did you think you would ever come here after what happened in '97? And because of the situation you're in in terms of getting sponsors' exemptions, would you be here if not in that situation?

GREG NORMAN: No. I told -- I was going to play here last year but unforeseen circumstances came up and I couldn't make it. I was committed to come here. And I said, "Sorry I can't make it this year. You can count me for next year." I gave him a 52-week notice, or maybe it was a 54-week notice that I would be back here for the tournament. And that's the way I am. My commitment is my commitment. And now, what happened in '97, a lot of people made a lot of stuff out of that. I thought that was a very, very insensitive thing to do when I'm on the first tee ready to go for the tournament. I don't mind if somebody wants to say away from the first tee, when I'm trying to concentrate getting going. I thought that was bad timing. And I'm a free guy. I can express my opinions when I want to express my opinions, but that had nothing to do with me not coming back here. Scheduling is scheduling.

A lot of people want to look for a reason why somebody does something or doesn't do something. It's like everybody still talks about the 9th green here. That's done. That's an issue that's done. People want to keep talking about it because it was a subject that had a bit of contention on it at the time. '97 had no bearing on me coming back here at all.

Q. After your first round at WorldCom you had said you'd changed putters. You took a putter out of Tony's bag.

GREG NORMAN: Yes, I did.

Q. Are you still using that putter?

GREG NORMAN: No, I gave it back to Tony after WorldCom.

Q. When was the last time, do you remember, when you were in this position going into the weekend?

GREG NORMAN: I played very well in Australia this year, in answer to your question, in the Heineken Classic. I was right there going down the stretch, and I think I was either leading the tournament or tied for the lead or one shot behind Ernie Els. It's been a long time since I won, but there's been tournaments where I've actually been right there on the cusp of either winning or going on with it. And in Australia in February, I put a lot of heat on Ernie Els, but Ernie had about five holes to play behind me, and he birdied four of those five holes, and he said, "See you later." And that was when I was right there in that tournament, as well.

Q. Which tournament?

GREG NORMAN: That was the Heineken Classic, PGA European Tour event in Australia in February.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Take us through your round. 7 pars to start.

GREG NORMAN: Yes. I got it up-and-down, just short of the green and chipped it to about 6 inches.

Then I got it up-and-down on the second hole. I hit it over the back of the green and chipped it down to about two feet.

I got it up-and-down on 6. Is 6 the par-5? Hit it in the water there. And I got it up-and-down for a par there.

And then from there on in I pretty much hit every green and I birdied the 8th hole, driver, 8-iron to about 7 feet.

9th hole was a 7-iron, about 24 feet.

The 13th hole, hit 3-wood, 5-iron to about 7 feet.

Next hole, 3-wood, 3-iron, putted off the fringe for about 15 feet.

16, I hit a driver, 8-iron to about 9 feet.

17, I hit a 6-iron to about two feet.

Q. And No. 6, what did you hit into the water, same 3-wood?

GREG NORMAN: I was a little bit further down and tried to cut a 2-iron around the tree, and hit it a little fat and it came up short of the water.

Q. On 18, to follow up the first question we had, believe it or not, you had hit the drive probably pretty long. I think you thought the ball before yours was in fact your ball. And then you were thinking between clubs. Did you have a lot of adrenalin at that point?

GREG NORMAN: No. I know the drive I hit at 18 was probably the smoothest swing I made all day. And distance without effort is when you're playing well. 18 was a prime example of that. I knew I hit a good drive there, but when Olazabal hit his, he ended up swinging a hook. I hit a fade. And then Tony wanted me to hit a high pitching wedge. I wanted to cut a 9-iron back to the corner there. And he thought the pitching wedge was the right play, and he was right. So adrenalin, no, I didn't have any adrenalin flowing through my system, that I know of, anyway.

Q. Looked like you were fighting a little bit to the right, but today you didn't seem to lose as many to the right. Is that something you worked out?

GREG NORMAN: I worked on the range last night, hit it very solid on the range. Hit the ball beautifully on the range this morning. I guess my timing was a little bit better today. My strike of the ball was a lot more crisp at the ground. I had a lot more ball curve today than I did yesterday. So all around today was a better ball-striking day.

Q. You talk about playing well is like riding a bike. Is winning the same scenario in terms of putting yourself in contention? Do you look back on what you've done and say I've done this so many times before, it's going to feel the same, or because you haven't done it in a while, is it going to be different?

GREG NORMAN: Well, I think what happens is you know how you feel under certain circumstances. You know when you get a little bit anxious. You know when to back off. You know if you get a little bit lethargic, you know how to get yourself up. I think those are experiences you draw from. If you're getting yourself out of sync, you either slow yourself down or just take a few deep breaths. Those are the things that I feel that come back out, the more golf you play, because once an athlete, always an athlete. You always have an ability to draw on past experience.

End of FastScripts....

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