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December 5, 2008

Gregory Norman

Greg Norman


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Greg and Gregory Norman, thanks for joining us this afternoon. Third year participating in the Del Webb Father Son Challenge. Tied for 6th in both 2006 and 2007. Just an opening comment from each of you about coming back to play in this event.
GREGORY NORMAN: Have a good time with my dad. Try to play some golf.
GREG NORMAN: Well, from my perspective, you know, and I just said this to Scott out there on Golf Channel, to be able to walk inside the ropes with your son over a period of a couple days with your son in a golf tournament is special.
My life has always been a professional golfer and I'm used to walking inside the ropes. There's times when we share with our sons and sometimes our daughters, the caddying. But when you're actually playing with them, it just elevates that experience so much more.
The whole concept of a father/son and to have it evolve into more than just father sone and having a father/daughter or father/grandson, father/daughter, whatever it is, it's great for the game of golf. Like I said, the share the moments and 36 holes with your son is extremely important.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Gregory, maybe talk about your game coming in this year. It's an eventful year for Greg from a golf point of view.
GREGORY NORMAN: I played a lot of amateur golf this summer and did the whole tour and went to all the major events and realized it wasn't exactly for me. I love golf and love to play golf, but realize this is his area and this is where he shines.
I have another sport I shine at. I'll always enjoy playing with my dad and I'll always enjoy this event and the time we get together. Haven't practiced much for this event. Just going to go out and try to play and have a good time.

Q. Gregory, did you watch the Open? And if you did, what was the reaction seeing your dad play like he did and just the excitement of everything?
GREGORY NORMAN: Of course I watched Open. How could I not. Like I was saying earlier, I didn't really get to experience at an older age, watching be no. 1. To see him in the hunt like that at a major, I would have loved to be there and be on the bag.
But at the same time, watching him in his element and seeing how good he's playing, being that close to it, it's something that -- you know, not many people get to experience that. Rooting for him the whole time. Would have loved to see it happen, but just to see him be there that close is pretty amazing.

Q. Greg, I know you mentioned you were surprised right after that Open that you were invited back to Augusta this year because of that top finish. Can you talk about your plans now for going back, and now that it's had time to settle in, what you think about going back there after what, five, six years?
GREG NORMAN: Specifically to be invited, yeah, I was shocked. I know the qualification criteria changed since I was in the game on a regular basis. So I was shocked with the British Open that far out with another major in between the Masters and the British Open, would get you an exemption into Augusta.
You know, I didn't even think about it or even know about it until somebody told me when I walked off the green. I was being interviewed, and it was one of the local guys here who mentioned it to me. I think it was Tim Rosaforte if my memory is right. I kind of blew it off. I didn't really take any real credence with it.
Then all of a sudden when I go into the first room a few more people talk about it and I said, okay, must be reality. And then said, Look, I'm not going to deal with that until I have to start dealing with it.
When I came back from the summer schedule, finished up with the US Senior Open, then I started thinking about, okay, what about the Masters. If you're going to go play in the Masters, then you've got to start getting your game into preparation. How long does it take for getting your game into preparation for Augusta? Augusta is a little different from the British Open, and the British Open is different than the US Open.
So to me, my practice routine really started 1st of December, and that'll give me time to get ready for April. Yeah, and that's just -- not only just hitting golf balls, that's conditioning. Quite honestly, I don't play a lot of golf. I still work out a lot, but my workout routine is different than what my golf routine workout is.
So I have to get back into that schedule and the special exercises and stretching and stuff like that which is golf specific. So I started that. I wanted obviously to go into Augusta and play well. My expectation is -- I'm going to have my expectation the same level as when I went into the British Open, because I haven't played that golf course for, I think, six years now.
I know it's been lengthened. I have been up there with friends in the winter months and I hit a 3-wood into 11. So the days of hitting 8-iron into 11 are long gone. Admittedly that was January and it's going to be April, so it's going to be different. I look forward to it, and I'm going to get myself ready. I'm going to play through Augusta and into the July period, and after that, probably end of August, sit back and see how the year went and if I'm going to play much more golf after that for the year.
So, yes, there is a dedicated focus leading up to April, and then in April it will stop and then I'll start in June for July.

Q. Your son just mentioned that he didn't get to really maybe be able to comprehend you playing golf at that level in those events as No. 1 in the world. What's it is going to be like going back there, not only that, not going back on a special exemption, but earning your way into the field and playing in front of a new family and sort of showing off that?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I don't think I'll be showing off. I think -- I'm actually looking forward to having Gregory on the bag for that. He's a very, very good player, and he understands the game. He understands my game because we do play quite a bit of golf together.
On top of that, he putts very similar to the way I putt. I'm not a really speed putter; I'm a touch putter. He's very much that way as well. So from that aspect, of taking him out to Augusta. And I've always said Augusta is a golf course you actually have to play before you see it on television. Television it looks great, but it's two dimensional. Augusta is truly a three dimensional golf course because of the lies you have off the fairways.
For him to experience that it's going to be a pretty neat experience. I'm looking forward to seeing what Augusta is truly like in April the way they length end it. I think it's 7,600 yards if my memory is right, close to that, so I'm looking forward to seeing that.
You know, in comparison to the way I played in the '80s to where I'm going to play in nearly 2010, that's nearly 30 years later, so it's going to be interesting to see how I do.

Q. You hedged on whether you were going to go or not for a few week right after the British Open. What prompted you to decide to go?
GREG NORMAN: Oh, no, I just wanted to -- I had to focus on the Senior British Open, and then I didn't want to get way into April. I really wanted to keep my -- I really wanted to win one of those last two tournaments. Actually, the more I played the better I played. Leading into the Senior US Open, I was actually more disappointed about that than I was about the British Open, believe it or not, because I thought I hit the ball extremely well.
So once I got off that run, my focus was, okay, now what do you do? I spoke to Crissy and I spoke to Gregory about it. I wanted to make sure if he was able available to come there. Obviously he would have graduated from college. He's got a few other things that he wants to do for himself, and I wanted to make sure he had that blocked out.
Once that was all squared away, then my decision to go was one 110% in my head then.

Q. How are you going to balance that with all the other irons you've got in the fire? You know, you've been kind of -- well, more than kind of a part timer for a good length of time and you're going to be back into it possible with a few more events.
GREG NORMAN: I will be, yeah, it's tough. Ever since July to now, obviously the world's financial climate has changed dramatically. A big change on my business and every tax payer in the world. So I really haven't practiced until Tuesday since the Sunday afternoon of the Senior U.S. Open.
This week was the first time. I played an occasional round of golf and opened a couple golf courses, but I haven't hit one practice ball. You got to get out there, and understand these circumstances -- in my business I hate layoffs, and there's a lot of people with layoffs right now. You got to put that extra ounce of effort into it, and we're doing that right now. You got to put the time in.
You build it up, and when something like this happens which is beyond your control, you got to put the saddle on the horse even tighter and just ride it a little bit harder. Because you gotta come out of this - as a business I'm talking about - you got to come out of this ready to go and trimmed up. When the economic pendulum starts swinging back up, then GWSE is ready to go full speed. We're doing a good job with managing it.
I'm getting to your question about what am I going to do in April. It's a delicate balance for me, because I have to spend a lot of time doing some of the business stuff that I'm doing. We've secured a lot of things in the past couple weeks, which I'm very, very happy about. But it's just an ongoing process.
You know, it's going to be tough. I'll be honest with you. Never been tough on me before, but it's going to be tough to practice, play golf tournaments, keep my business, and keep everything going the way I established it right now and then get ready for April. There's a lot balls in the air.
But I've got great people around me, and as long as I got -- Gregory and I drove up yesterday in the car for two and half hours. He's a business major, so we had conversations about things. It's interesting to now have somebody to talk to about it outside of somebody you pay, you know.
So we can -- even in times going forward, his expertise from the University of Miami comes into my world in a big way. So we have great conversations like that. So I'll be ready. I mean, it's just a matter of putting 26 hours in a day. (Laughter).

Q. Gregory, getting to go back to Augusta then and carry the bag, what has been your experiences there before? I mean, how old were you then last time you went?
GREGORY NORMAN: Six years ago. I'm 23.
GREG NORMAN: We went out two years ago and played. I went there and played, it was a cold January day.
GREGORY NORMAN: No, it was pretty warm.
GREG NORMAN: Okay, then I have been twice then.

Q. What will it be like then going to go and be between the ropes and experience the hole thing from a totally different perspective?
GREGORY NORMAN: I have only got to play Augusta one time, and that was the one time we just mentioned. But to be there during the Masters and to be inside the ropes, I've never got to experience that. To be there for as long as we've been there watching my dad play, it's going to be an amazing experience. Needless to say, I've never been so excited to put on a white overall in my life.
I think we're going to have a great time. Regardless of what happens, I know he's going to play well. But that experience I'm probably never going to forget in my life. No one really gets a chance to do that.

Q. Greg, did you think that you would get another chance to go there and compete in the Masters and really go there on your terms as a guy who played his way in?
GREG NORMAN: To be honest with you, no, I did not. I'm 53 years old, and I wasn't playing my full schedule. If I was playing maybe fifteen to twenty tournaments a year you think, okay, you play your way in under other circumstances. So to do it in one tournament, and that's basically what happened. I hadn't played much leading up to the British Open, and then wham, bam, there is it is.
So it goes to show in a lot of ways that if you put yourself in the position and you trust your inner self, which is really what you do in any circumstance, good or bad, you got to trust your own judgment and how you feel inside.
You know, no, I didn't think I'd ever get back into the Masters. Obviously playing my way back under my circumstances, I'm proud of doing that, too.

Q. Gregory, if I heard you correctly, you mentioned there's another sport that you specialize in. Can you clue us in as to what you play?
GREGORY NORMAN: Yeah, I kiteboard. You know what that is?

Q. Yeah.
GREGORY NORMAN: Been doing that for about eight years now, and I will be doing that full-time and traveling around and selling videos, trying to push the sport as hard as we can. It's obviously a small sport and got room to grow. Luckily I'm in a position to be part of that.

Q. When did you graduate from UM, and where will your first business trip be, if you know that?
GREGORY NORMAN: I graduate in two weeks, so I'm very excited. From there, I'll be going to Hawaii to stay there for a month and meet him there for the skins game. I'll work for him there, but at the same time, I'll also be kiteboarding there for a month and a half for my sponsors.

Q. Gregory, did you ever want to be a touring professional?
GREGORY NORMAN: I have. You know, growing up, I saw what it was like, through his life, to be out there and be in contention. I thought that would be pretty amazing to be able to do that. I found my own way and realized golf wasn't for me. I love it, but I have other passions. I love to be in the water more than be on the course.
That's something that I came to realize the past few months, and I want to pursue my own venture.

Q. Greg, did you want Gregory to be a professional golfer?
GREG NORMAN: I wanted him to do whatever he wanted to do. I wanted him to experience it, but I knew for a period of time there was a hiatus from golf for him. When he wanted to go play amateur golf last year I thought that was great because he was excited about going out there. He worked hard and he practiced hard and he had a lot of lessons. He wanted to experience and test himself to the next level that he could possibly do.
But you can only make your own decision. I can't force him or tell him to do anything. I can only suggest, you know, do as much as you can. One thing about life, is every young person should always find a sport that they can play the rest of their life. Golf he can play the rest of his life. Kiteboardinbg, probably not the rest of his life because it's an extreme sport. It's hard on your body. He's young and strong and flexible and he can do it now.
I've always encouraged both my kids to chase whatever they want to chase. If you have multiple sports when you're younger, one will pop through and really shine. He's done that now with kiteboardinbg.
Nobody expected in my family me to be a great golfer, and yet I popped out through Aussie Rules football and Rugby and Squash and all the other sports, but never golf. Golf was never even considered. I never considered him to be a great kiteboarder, and he is a great kiteboarder. He's found his way doing the things that he loves to do.
Like I explained to not only Gregory or Morgan or to other people, there's only one No. 1. There's probably hundreds of No. 2s and thousands of No. 2s and ten of thousands of No. 4s. But to get to that No. 1, you got to punch your way through thousands upon thousands of people still wanting the same dream: Trying to be No. 1.
To do that in any sport is tough. I admire him for trying it, because you can only find out for yourself. He found out for himself that he wanted to go for kiteboarding.

Q. Historically it's been very, very difficult for a son of a great champion golfer to become a great champion golfer. Why do you think that is?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I think a lot of the expectations from the younger -- the son, the expectations of himself, because he's seen the dad out there doing it so easily in a lot of ways. When we're playing well it looks easy. You know, we win on a regular basis and we lose. At the same time, you know, it's hard for them to really equate to what it -- and I actually said this to Gregory very early on. The sacrifices in the game of golf that you have to take to get to a level are enormous. The time from the family and the time away on the weekends and it's time away from yourself and everything.
Certainly later on in life you pop out the other end and you go, Oh, my God, I did miss twenty years. Like Gregory said, my father was away all the time but he was doing what he loved to do. It's only when you wound down that you realize what you missed.
Would you change it? Yeah, the only thing is you wouldn't have a family young, but then you wouldn't have your son and daughter. So you're in a catch 22. It's a tough one on everybody. The balance is there to be had.
GREGORY NORMAN: I could add on to that, too. Being a son of a champion like he was, you're being constantly put at his level, and you can't compete in the sport when you're looked at like that. You can't focus and be in your very own mind. Very view people can do that. Just a way of blocking out. It's a lot of pressure to be out there on the golf course with his name especially. People lock into that. It would be different if I had a different name. Having the same name, people put you in the same exact level.
GREG NORMAN: When I grew up, I remember what happened to Gary Nicklaus when he was thrown on the Sports Illustrated cover. Right? Boy, that was a huge amount pressure. How many athletes -- great athletes never get on the cover of Sports Illustrated. So there you are, and it's not even Jack Nicklaus, Jr., it's Gary Nicklaus.
So the weight of the expectation is jsut enormous, not just from the son, but from everybody around. They expect that individual to be just like their dad. You know, it just doesn't work that way.

Q. To revisit the Augusta theme one more time. A lot of water under the bridge there for you personally. It's been well-chronicled by a lot of us in this room. When you look back upon your trips there, do you look at Augusta fondly?
GREG NORMAN: Absolutely.

Q. Was there any hesitation about whether or not to go back?
GREG NORMAN: If I was worried about that I'd never step foot outside my house, because everybody has got a different perspective of you. I loved Augusta, and I still do. I've got a lot of great friends up there. I miss going to Augusta to see my friends. I still think Augusta is the purest golf tournament in the world. There's no hype of corporate tents and all that stuff. You just go there and play golf.
The dictatorship, a lot people don't like a dictatorship, but dictatorships work well when they're done right. Augusta is managed and operated on an extremely high level, and they do an extremely good job. That's why I loved it.
Of course I have had a lot of pain there, too. I've had a lot of pain at the British Open and a lot of pain at the Senior U.S Open, too. I'm not going to single out Augusta. At the same time, it was a huge turning point in my life. When I had that six-stroke lead and it didn't work, I mean, I was elevated in the world of the public eye by losing, not by winning.
That changed my life, I can tell you that, dramatically, just by the outpouring of e-mails and letters and support that I got. No matter whether I walked anywhere, somebody would make a comment about how it changed their life towards their son or daughter the way I handled it.
So I won in a lot of ways, but I didn't win the green jacket. You guys see it from one side and I see it from a multifaceted side. So I always have a lot of high regard and high respect for Augusta.

Q. This is for each of you. What have you learned through playing together and competing in the same event together?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I can say that I've learn from Gregory his tenacity and his desire to be good at whatever he does. It resonates out. When you're under pressure, you can see the intensity that comes out of an individual. What do you want to do? Fly like an eagle or fly like a buzzard? Gregory wants to fly like an eagle.
He wants to get out there and challenge himself, and he enjoys the pressure of. When somebody enjoys the pressure you know they're going to be pretty good in life. So golf is a good indicator, as far as I'm concerned, with that. Your conduct and performance and what you put in a golf course, and this is what I've seen with him will be very secure because of the way he relishes and cherishes pushing himself and challenging himself and loving the pressure.
GREGORY NORMAN: I can say that right back. I learned how to do those things from him. I learned how to do all those things by watching him in every aspect of his life: the golf, the business, the way he treats his family.
I mean, everything I learned has been from him, and I can't be more grateful for that.

Q. Has Crissy ever been to Augusta to a Masters tournament? And will she do anything with you there, like possibly caddying a par-3 or anything like that?
GREG NORMAN: No, she hasn't been that I can recall.
GREGORY NORMAN: She should definitely caddie.
GREG NORMAN: We have talked about that actually. Whether that happens or not, I don't know. I think it would be -- you know, it would be -- anyway, that has been talked about. Whether it happens or not, it's only speculation.
She's looking forward to it. One thing, when you have an iconic athlete like she is and has done so well in her sport and dominated her sport more than any other tennis player with her success ratio. It's like at the British Open. You kind of get inspired, because you know they've been there before and you really want to walk into your world and show, okay, this is what the world of major golf is all about. Totally different than the world of slam tennis. So it feels good in a lot of ways.
Believe me, she's got more nervous at the British Open than I did. She couldn't sleep on Saturday night and I could. It's one of those things. It's a joy. Just as much a joy having Gregory there experiencing it, but it also having joy from somebody else from another sporting, part of the sporting world.

Q. Probably did not expect to be preparing and adding another element to your schedule on a year when you are the President's Cup captain. But you would think that being out there a little more often and being in the environment with the guys on your team is going to be a benefit.
GREG NORMAN: Well, yeah, like you said, it never hurts because you like to see what the players are doing. We talked about this coming up in the car yesterday, about me looking at some of the players that are performing well now and some who are not.
Now it's easier for me being the captain of the President's Cup and going up and asking them, Hey, what's wrong with you? Where's your head at? I'm talking to him as a captain not is a competitor or anything like that.
I want to make sure that they're ready for next year with their attitude. Okay, I've got to get my game ready to carry it all the way through. It's good for me to go out there, no question. I've got a great assistant captain. He's seen them every day through the commentating, so I have really a good leg up in the stirrups, in the saddle, for that one, because Frank and I communicate a lot. He's going to come out here this week. We're on e-mails all the time about, you know, let's catch up and let's talk, let's golf.
So from our perspective, from President's Cup, the captain and assistant captain, we've got a very good handle on where we're going to take this team.

Q. Gregory, I'm a long-time PGA member, and my son is am amateur. I try to give my son golf tips, and he listened to me until he was about 11. Although my playing record isn't quite as impressive as your father's, if your father tells you, Listen, these greens are a little bumpy. On a 5-footer, hit it a little firmly, do you listen to him?
GREGORY NORMAN: No. I say, Shut up, dad. No, I listen to him. One of the best things we used to do together would be to go on the back of our golf course at home and just go chip and putt and he wold teach me his short game. We' d spend hours had, and that was one of the best time I had. Learning from him and picking his brain, because he knows more about the short game than anyone else. He knows more about the game than anybody else, so there's no better person I should listen to. I would be stupid not to listen to him.

Q. But even today, when he gives you advice, will you anxiously listen to that?
GREGORY NORMAN: I'll listen to it, but I might add my own little thing in there. Obviously everyone plays the game differently. I'd be stupid not to listen to him, but at the same time, he plays the game a little bit differently than I do. At the same time, he was No. 1 in the game.

Q. Greg, are you at all frustrated when you he doesn't listen as much as you think he should?
GREG NORMAN: No, not at all. To me, the secret to coaching is throw out all the advice that you can in a way that you don't tell somebody what they should do, you suggest what they should do. All the advice gets thrown out there and they get to pick pieces that suit them, not just for golf, but life in general.
Because everybody leads their life a certain way, the way they want to do it. Everybody has different ways of learning from experience, whether it's from the golf course or short game or learning how to spin the ball, making the ball run, you learn that from experience.
If you can give that experience to somebody else in a broad spectrum, and they have the to pick little bits and pieces, they're going to go through life a lot more faster and productive because they've been able to source the information.
I feel sorry for individuals that don't have that ability to source a wealth of knowledge. I did it in my business world. I call up all my friends and ask them for advice. What would you do if? They'll give you six or eight different things and you pick out one that works specifically for what I am looking for.
If you think you're beyond all that, you know it all and can do it all yourself, you're an idiot. He's not an idiot. And I throw it out and he picks and chooses what he likes to do.

End of FastScripts

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