June 2, 1997
GREG NORMAN: One birdie on -- I got lucky with my tee shot. I think I spoke to all you guys out there, the same group.
WES SEELEY: Birdie on 15.
GREG NORMAN: 3-wood, from 256. Hit it to about 24 feet. I left the first putt about two-feet short, foot-and-a-half short.
WES SEELEY: Questions.
Q. What was the golf course like, I guess, compared to when you finished yesterday?
GREG NORMAN: The big difference was the fairways. They hadn't been cut for three days, and you could see the growth from yesterday to this morning. And that's where you had to get very, very protective on your iron shots off the fairways. You know if you hit -- very easy to hit a flier, very easy to stick it on 18 like I did on my second shot. Unless you caught it clean, you wouldn't get a flier, or you wouldn't get the club sticking, it just called for a lot of caution and care out there.
Q. Greg, you had said you needed, you figured you might need about two birdies. After the birdie on 15, the three remaining holes, did one of them size up as a birdie hole?
GREG NORMAN: All of them. The reason being they had the front tee on 16, which I've never played off of, I can't remember, I may have. It was only a 180 shot downhill, no wind. 17 is a driver, 7-iron. And 18 is a driver, 7-iron. When you've got a 7-iron in your hand, you know you're looking pretty good for making birdies. And I knew I was playing well. So I was looking at each and every one of them.
Q. How far past the pin were you on that shot at 16?
GREG NORMAN: I probably hit it about four or five yards long, but a little bit left, it was about 24, 25 feet, something like that.
Q. Greg, how well do you play at Congressional, have you played there very much?
GREG NORMAN: I haven't played there since they did some of the changes to the golf course. So I'm looking forward to getting back there. I've played there quite a few times in my early stint over here on the TOUR at Congressional, I played quite a bit there. I enjoy playing a round there. But whether the golf course is physically different to play when they made these changes, I won't know until Monday.
Q. The PGA was there some years ago?
GREG NORMAN: '76? No, I wasn't there.
Q. You were asked yesterday about having to stop after the roll you were on, and you felt you could get back in your rhythm this morning. Did you feel like you were?
GREG NORMAN: Oh, absolute, yeah. I hit -- the shot I hit into 17. The 3-wood I hit into 15 was just covering the flag all the way along, from 256 off an uphill lie, so I knew my swing was right there. Every shot I hit today, except the one shot I hit was the tee shot on 15, I pulled a little bit, trying to hit it hard to get it on top of the ridge, and you've got a flier to about 275 up the hill. And I was trying to go after it a little bit extra. Every other shot I hit today, including my putts, were exactly where I was looking, and exactly how I felt. The one on 18, my second shot there, I kind of stuck the club in the ground a little bit.
Q. Some days they just go in and some days they don't, is that what it comes down to?
GREG NORMAN: The putt at 17 I'm still miffed that I missed. It was one of those deals that -- I thought I made it, and Tony thought I made it, it just decided not to go in.
Q. Well, you said you needed two birdies, and then Singh hits the eagle, were you aware of that and obviously that changes the whole --
GREG NORMAN: Oh, yes, on the first hole, I think it was, 15. So they posted his score. I thought he must have holed his third shot. I didn't realize he had hit it that far down there on his drive.
Q. Is Vijay the kind of player you might think if you're thinking about guys who would win here sometime, he's the guy --
GREG NORMAN: Under these conditions, yeah, because he's extremely long. And when you're that long, you're going into these shots, 6-irons and 8-irons, where some guys are hitting 4-irons and 5-irons. So his length was a big asset here under the wet conditions.
Q. Well, on the putt at 17 it looked like it was right on there, and it broke real sharp at the hole?
GREG NORMAN: It broke hard left. I was playing the putt just right at center, and I watched Bob Tway -- I'm not a watcher of other players, but I watched Bob's putt and Scott was directly on my line, and his ball never even broke. I said, look, the water has got to get off the water somewhere, and I think it's going to the left, and I played inside right, just right of center. And it broke four inches, which I never even -- I would still go and hit the same putt that I did 40 minutes ago.
Q. Greg, have you ever played in the British Open when the conditions were as bad as they were here?
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, where were we at Lytham and St. Anne's, where we stopped playing sometime and finished Monday. In '88. It was horrendous conditions, there. I remember playing in Scotland when I first went in '76 where we had to stop because of wind, it was blowing the tents down and everything. You've got different soil, too, over there. The golf courses are used to a lot of rain and a lot of wind. So it was very unusual for Lytham to be under water as much as it was.
Q. Can you recall when you won here seven years ago, how do the grounds out there now compare to the way they were in '90, say on Saturday, the third round in '90?
GREG NORMAN: I can't remember whether we had lift clean and place. That was the big thing here. If we could have lift clean and place, when they called play on Saturday -- when they called play on Saturday, or before play even started they could have it lift clean and place for everybody. Knowing that the weather was going to be iffy for the next three days. But I can't remember whether we did it 1990 lift clean and place.
Q. We did one year.
GREG NORMAN: We may have done, but the conditions were the same; slop. Hit, slop, hit, slop. You know it's wet when you can see the bull spinning back, and the water is coming up off of it (laughter.)
Q. Well, as a guy who has his own tournament, can you sympathize with Jack and talk to him about the bad breaks he's had in weather, do you think it would be better to move the tournament to a different time slot?
GREG NORMAN: He's moved it around a lot looking for the right weather, I told Pandel Savic and Ross the other day, just leave it where it is. The golfing gods think you're going to move it, fool them, and leave it here and next year it will be good. I do. Nothing you can do about it, just a bad break is a bad break with the weather. But it's unusual for this to be consistent at this time, and I know what I'll be doing next year, I'll be looking at the long range weather forecast the week before I come here, to see what I'm going to bring. I was running out of clothes.
Q. What will you do between now and the U.S. Open, Greg?
GREG NORMAN: I'm going to go to Kemper, if it is still playing after all this rain goes away.
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