June 1, 1997
WES SEELEY: What you thought of today and what Ben Nelson said.
GREG NORMAN: They've tried everything possible to get this to a 72-hole tournament. But it's going to be 54 holes, and we're coming back at nine o'clock tomorrow, and finish our round and that's it.
Q. No chance that it will be 72 holes?
GREG NORMAN: No. Nine holes tomorrow, finish our round, finish, 54 holes.
Q. You must like that, you did well the last time this was a three round event (laughter.)
GREG NORMAN: That guy is pretty smart back there. (Laughter.) Whatever. 72 holes or 54, it doesn't bother me. I'm in a pretty good position right now.
Q. Is it one of those things where obviously you always hate it when you're brought off in the rain, but when you're playing as well as you're playing, I guess it's twice as bad?
GREG NORMAN: No, not really. We're fortunate to get where we are. It's been the longest 18 holes, it's taken us three days -- we still haven't finished 18 holes. So sometimes I think it's frustrating, but I'm playing well enough to pick it up where I left off today. I knew the putt on 14, for example, I could see the rainstorm coming in, and that putt was probably the putt I needed to make the most all day long, because you knew there was going to be a rain delay, and you knew things were going to stop because of how dark the cloud was. Making that 5-footer was important. I'm ready. We couldn't have teed off anyway, there was a group on the tee, and we would have had to wait another 15, 20 minutes to play. My day was done when I made that putt.
Q. Greg, you finally got the putter going today, can you put your finger on why?
GREG NORMAN: Like I said, I've been hitting a lot of good putts, making good strokes, I haven't been worried about my stroke, per se. And it was a matter of just staying with it. Sooner or later they've got to drop in. There's nothing like I've got anything to worry about. You go through a patch where sometimes you don't make putts. You hit a lot of good putts and they don't go in. Today, I hit fairly close to the holes, too, so it made it a little easier, as well.
Q. So it doesn't -- you don't think it's going to destroy your rhythm, Greg?
GREG NORMAN: No, it's not going to destroy my rhythm anymore than it's going to destroy the other guys that are leading the tournament; they've got more holes to play, which gives them more chances to make birdies, yes, but it also gives them more chances not to make birdies, mistakes. I'm on the 15th tee, so I know what I've got to do. I've got to make at least another two birdies before I finish to give myself a good chance.
Q. Greg, with the ground like it is out there, do you just fire at the flag on every hole?
GREG NORMAN: Every hole. Actually you fire at the top of the flag, because you know the ball is going to go four or five -- 15 feet behind the flag it's going to back on up.
Q. Do you have to use one extra club, Greg, out there in that wet weather and the damp air?
GREG NORMAN: No, most of the time you get in a little jumper off the fairways, anyway, because there's so much moisture. We aren't allowed to play lift clean and place. With that moisture in there, most of the time the ball will fly an extra five or six yards. So you've got to calculate that.
Q. Physically is it more demanding to play like this, starting and stopping from day to day?
GREG NORMAN: It would have to be, yeah, because you like to get out and get the job done, over and done with.
Q. Do you notice that or have you noticed it?
GREG NORMAN: No, it hasn't affected me, because I've been out here long enough and had enough rain delays that I know how to react. Some days you feel great, and some days it's hard to get going again. When a rain delay comes in, nothing you can do about it, you just accept it. It's hard when you wake up early in the morning, 4:30, 5 o'clock in the morning to get the deal going, and you sit around and you can't do anything like we did today, that's pretty hard, because you get a little tired from four or five hours, you don't know whether to go to sleep until the middle of the morning, because you don't know what the plan is, if it's going to be two o'clock, we don't know whether we're going to play at two o'clock, so it's a waiting game. You've got to entertain your mind.
Q. You spoke on television about putting some of your business things aside and concentrating more on golf. Could you talk about that a little bit?
GREG NORMAN: Well, all I've done is really delegated. My business is still there, just that I've delegated. I put the responsibility on individuals in my company. And I made a few changes. I'm bringing a guy over for Australia that's worked for me over there a while to be president of my company, and he's worked for me a couple of years. And then one of my guys here, Frank Williams, is going to go back to Australia and become executive vice-president of GWS down there. And then I'm going to keep one of the other guys I've had here all along in the operations -- so it's just a matter of reorganizing, making sure the guys get the right responsibilities on their plate. I don't need to be doing all the work. I shouldn't say I'm doing all the work anyway, but I feel like I'm doing four or five different things that I shouldn't be doing. And I just came to the realization that you can't be good at everything. And so you want to make sure that you put the right people in the right place to take the right responsibilities and quite honestly a good executive only needs to make about three or four decisions a year, because all the other people should be doing their jobs for me. So that's basically what I've done. I've just delegated, reorganized and everybody is extremely happy in my company.
Q. Were you, prior to this, making three or four decisions a day?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I was spending about eight hours in the office on my days off. I enjoy doing that, but I don't need to do that. But I'm very much a hands-on individual, too. It's very difficult for me to let it go, as well. But -- because I like to know exactly what's going on, with my name and with decisions that are made. But at the end of the day I can't know exactly what's going on, because there's a few things that you don't see, and you don't need to see, because they don't eventually come to fruition. So those type of things you waste your time spending time on, when other people can be wasting their time spending time on it (laughter.) I love it.
Q. Greg, you're now in what amounts to a four-hole tournament. So how much time and how much energy do you spend with mental preparation with those holes, 15, 16, 17, 18; do you think about what you would ordinarily do with those shots?
GREG NORMAN: No. The most important shot is the tee shot on 15. If I hit that long and straight that's setting myself up, that's the most important shot. I never do think about the shot after that shot, because you never know what that shot is going to be until you hit the first shot. So I always play one shot at a time. I won't do anything different in my preparation in the morning. I'll still go out there and hit the same number of balls, I'll stretch and work out a little before I tee off and treat it like it's 18 holes.
Q. How much of an incentive was the No. 1 ranking in the world, which obviously you're going to retain?
GREG NORMAN: No incentive. I've never been a believer in this. I've been consistent in this statement, 10 years, or however long the ranking system has been around. My life doesn't revolve around the Sony rankings. I'm not a believer in it. I'll be a believer in the ranking system when we all play together on the same tournament. It's difficult when you've got 20 or 30 guys playing in Europe. You've got 20 or 30 guys playing in Japan. And you've got 40 guys playing here in the United States. You've got a hundred of the best players in the world spread all around the world and we only play in four or five tournaments a year, if that, and really, quite honestly, it's the TPC and the PGA Championship, where you have the top 50 players in the world playing. If you take that into consideration, how can you have a ranking system? So I've never been a believer. I don't go out there and make it a destiny in my life, saying, okay, I'm going to lose it this week if I don't play well. I go out and try to play the best golf I can play every time and everything else would take its place.
Q. The fact that Tiger could have passed you, is that a factor to you?
GREG NORMAN: Tom Lehman passed me in Spain, that doesn't make a factor, either. There are going to be athletes in the game of golf that are going to come do their thing and play well, and as I say, that's going to take care of itself, the ranking system or whatever you do. If you perform well on the golf course, everything else off the golf course takes care of itself.
Q. You've only played -- this is your 6th time in this country. How many times have you played across the world this year?
GREG NORMAN: Three, maybe four. How many did I play in Australia, Andrew?
Q. I don't think you played in Australia this year -- I mean last year.
GREG NORMAN: So I played two overseas, then, Japan and Spain.
Q. What do you want to accomplish with your career from here on out? Do you think about those things?
GREG NORMAN: To keep winning. Winning is the best medicine any athlete could ever have, whether you're a golfer, or a tennis player or the two athletes running off today, by the way who won that race?
Q. Johnson pulled up five seconds --
GREG NORMAN: Pulled off a million.
Q. Pulled something.
GREG NORMAN: Rematch to come, right, two million? But winning is the best medicine anybody can have. Long as you just keep going out there and keep trying to win, and when you do win, that's all it's about.
Q. This starting and stopping problem we've had here, will that affect your preparation for say the Kemper and the Open?
GREG NORMAN: No, I wasn't going to play golf tomorrow, if we weren't playing, I would go back to Florida. I wasn't going to go to the Kemper Open until Wednesday. It makes no -- it hasn't got any effect on me, just the fact that I'm not going to be home tonight. I'll be home tomorrow afternoon.
Q. You said earlier you've got to make two more birdies tomorrow. How do you arrive with that with respect to where the other players are standing right now?
GREG NORMAN: I would like to birdie 50 percent of the holes. I would like to birdie all four. But from a numbers point of view, I've always thought what I needed when I walked off 14, I knew at that stage if I could birdie 15, then I could keep going. So two more is a very realistic possibility.
Q. Is it more difficult to birdie a hole like 15 first thing out in the morning than it would have been this afternoon in the flow of the round?
GREG NORMAN: No, I don't think so. Well, it depends on whether the wind blows from the opposite direction. It was downwind today, you could have easily driven it to the top of the hill and had about a 3-iron or 4-iron into the green.
Q. I was thinking of the tightness of the tee shot right off the bat in the morning?
GREG NORMAN: It's going to be tight whether you're there today or in the morning. I'm going to be loose in the morning. My body will be ready to play. I might be fresher tomorrow morning, because I've been awake since 4:30 or 5 o'clock this morning.
Q. To go back to your company for one last question, could you delineate the things your company does, I assume build golf courses, clothing, what else, are you a club manufacturer?
GREG NORMAN: No, Cobra does that. My two principal operations that I'm really involved in is the golf course design and my clothing line. Now, I have other companies that I'm involved with, my sod farm business would come in a close second or third in that one, which I really enjoy doing. We look at expanding all that all the time. I look at grasses. I've been more of an agronomist than I expected myself to ever become. Those three there are probably the principle three.
Q. Is the sod farm here, Greg, or in Australia?
GREG NORMAN: Avon Park, South Florida.
Q. What's the bloke's who's coming over?
GREG NORMAN: Bart Collins.
Q. Was he working in your Australian office?
GREG NORMAN: Yes.
Q. Are him and Frank basically swapping?
GREG NORMAN: Yes. Frank always wanted to go back to Australia after five years of being here, and I fulfilled his wishes, because he spent a lot of time being down there. And Bart being an American would like to come over here. His wife is American, and he'd like the kids to grow up in America, of course. So it was a perfect swap around for both of them, they're extremely happy about it.
Q. Have they started?
GREG NORMAN: Bart will start here the third of July, say Independence Day. And Frank will start the first of January down in Australia.
Q. Well, you came here this morning anticipating a 7:30 -- did you spend all your time here?
GREG NORMAN: No, I've got a condo right across the road. I actually never even left the -- I called here at I think it was 6:15 when it was pouring down rain, and they said, stop.
Q. Were a lot of guys in the locker room?
GREG NORMAN: I imagine they would have been.
Q. You've had a lot of success here, Greg. What is it about this course that you would say suits your game or you feel confident or comfortable out there?
GREG NORMAN: Just knowing it, knowing the shots I've hit. You can feed off those things, knowing the conditions, knowing where I drive the ball under wet conditions, knowing how the greens react, knowing where the pin positions are, those type of things you become very familiar with, very comfortable with.
Q. Before he wraps it up, the putts?
WES SEELEY: Do birdies and bogeys.
GREG NORMAN: 7th hole -- you just want the birdies, do you? 6-iron into about 9 feet. The 8th hole hit an 8-iron to about 5 feet. 11, I hit a pitching wedge to about 6 feet. 12, hit 9-iron to about 18 feet. 13, 5-iron to 18 feet. 14, a sand wedge to five feet.
Q. What about 4 and 5?
GREG NORMAN: That was yesterday. 4, I hit a 4-iron to 5 feet. 5, I hit a sand wedge to about 18 feet.
Q. When you get to DC, are you going to be in contact with the President while you're there?
GREG NORMAN: Maybe, yeah. I know he's coming out for the U.S. Open.
Q. Did you have a short birdie putt at 10?
GREG NORMAN: I missed about a three and a half footer there.
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