home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 1, 2009

Greg Norman


GREG NORMAN: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My Spanish is not as good as everybody else's here, but on behalf of myself and my golf company, and production company, the Greg Norman Golf Course Design, it's an honor for us to be here.
To be involved with the Mayakoba from the outset is just a great honor to be coming out here to Quintana Roo and to really promote what the game of golf is all about.
We've seen a tremendous amount of growth in Mexico with the game of golf, but more importantly, we've seen a tremendous amount of growth here in Quintana Roo, Cancun, the tourism of late. And given the state of the economy on a global basis, to see the increase of about 11 percent in tourism over the last year speaks tremendous volumes about the popularity of Cancun, Riviera-Maya, all the way down. It's just an honor to be here. Thank you.
(In Spanish)

Q. Mr. Norman, how do you see the Mexican tourism and how is our position in the world?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I've seen the transformation take place here in Quintana Roo over the last five years, ten years. And to see the quality and the design of the Quintana Roo golf course is really a testament to the growth of what's happening in this area. And people who, like OHL, want to come in and invest in an area, they normally force the best of the best.
And when you start getting that type of name and that type of game coming in here, Cancun has always been a great destination, beautiful beaches, great hotels and a great place to come and relax. There are many people here who have primary residences or secondary homes or sometimes even a third home.
So we get bought into that and I believe we can expand on that. And I know for myself personally to be involved with Mayakoba the way we have and how carefully we've integrated our design and the whole concept of this development with the eco-friendly approach that we've taken with the golf course really tells you about the process that has taken place here.
And although the development to expand and the popularity of this whole corridor keeps going further and further south, it's becoming a known destination on a global basis.
The corridor is probably known more by the southern part of the United States, New York, Chicago, Florida, that area, some people coming across from Spain, but now it's got a global reputation.
And it takes time to build something that's successful, and the period of time is really a delicate time, and you'll see the growth just keep going and going and going, and are very successful too, I might add.

Q. Greg, in designing courses, do you have to keep in mind and perhaps make the assessment to make it just a wee bit easier, it being a tourist destination, as opposed to one that's primarily a destination for golfers and hopefully a tournament?
GREG NORMAN: Oh, definitely. We know in designing a resort golf course, people want to go out there and have fun and get around the golf course very quickly. You don't want to come to a resort, a golf course and spend six hours on the golf course and get back and have no time to go to the beach or have lunch with your wife or girl friend or husband or whatever. So you really have to have that in mind, and you want to make sure that it's a friendly, enjoyable experience.
Here at Mayakoba we were very much restricted by the mangroves and corridors we had to go through. So what we found out to be was an exercise in environmental sensitivity, an exercise in trying to get as maximum width to the golf course and the corridors of each hole, so the resort golfer can get around here just as much as a tournament player.
Of course, when we were building the golf course, we had no reflection that it would be a PGA TOUR event here, and I think that speaks highly of my design team and the construction people that actually what we built, designed on planned, we built here turned out to be a host to a PGA TOUR event.
So every golf course, design project you approach on a single basis. You can't really do to one as the other, but you have to respect the ultimate goal of what the end result needs to be. And the result golf course, of course, it should be and can be built differently than what a purely dedicated tournament golf course is.

Q. Greg, can you talk about the maturation of the course, and of course, the tournament itself, the field growing every year?
GREG NORMAN: I remember the first year everybody -- the guys who came down here came down with a bit of trepidation. They know Cancun for what Cancun is all about.
Professional golfers don't make a trip away on a holiday with their golf clubs. You might come here for a holiday with your family, but you're not going to go out there and play.
But the first year the word got out, the first game, first practice round word was getting back about the players said, wow, what a great golf course, wow, what a great experience they're having at the Mayakoba, from the shops, the tournament, individuals, around to the hotel, all the way through to the beaches and obviously the golf course itself.
So that reputation built on itself. The guys go back to the United States. Even though it's opposite a World Golf Championship, the guys said, boy, if you're not playing the World Golf Championship, get down to the Mayakoba, get down to the Cancun area and enjoy what they have to offer.
So year one and year two sort of pick up, and now you see this year the quality of the field coming up a little bit. And now, I think OHL and Mayakoba are in a great position to say, hey, you need to understand one thing. The popularity of the event, from the players' perspective and from an exposure standpoint, what we're getting here at Quintana Roo is world class golf. So it really supports the fact that we've got a great golf course.
(In Spanish)

Q. Mr. Norman, the first golf course, what can you tell us about it?
GREG NORMAN: Well, again, that's another thing I've tracked in a lot of ways. The idea of promoting the game of golf on a global basis goes beyond just doing resort golf courses. You have your community and your private golf courses.
You have to have a base for golfers to go to, public golf courses. And to be the first one here, I know in Quintana Roo, but might even be in Mexico itself, in the country -- don't quote me on that, but I think I might be right. But to go beyond and say we're going to build the first public golf course in this area again is a testament to what everybody is thinking about the promotion of the game of golf here.
I think, if my memory is right, not so long ago the population here was about 10 or 15,000. Now it's over 175,000 and growing very quickly. So you've gotta give the opportunity for the younger generation to explore their talents and for guys to pick up the game of golf and to do that through a public facility.

Q. (Question in Spanish).
GREG NORMAN: Yes, we do. We have (laughs) -- we have quite a few. We're in negotiations right now. As I say, the passion for the game of golf in this area, the Riviera Maya, the whole Quintana Roo area down to Bacalar in the future is going to be tremendous, and obviously we will try to be involved from the golf course perspective and even from a development perspective, from a Norman Development Team and even from another development. We always think of great opportunities because we see it.
I've seen it since 1991 from coming down here, an exceptionally great, diverse opportunity, not just in the game of golf, but right across the board. So yes, we hope we're going to get involved in quite a few more.

Q. What do we have to do, what are we lacking in order to get -- what do we have to have in order to get that positive area?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I think any time -- that's a very good question, because you have a lot of positives, there are going to be some negatives. And no question, the dramatic growth in this area has caused some people to sit back and take a look at, in infrastructure.
And since I've been flying in here since 1991, I've seen that infrastructure change dramatically. And I know Mayor Sanchez and the governor will probably sit down and think about, okay, what do we need to do to improve the facility, not just for the local residents, but for the bigger picture in general.
And that's the same concept with OHL to the world to make sure they're all in sync with the growth corridor. So it's very few that I see.
What I see on a positive side, again, is local collaboration, all the way from the highest state level down to the local level to create the best of the best.

Q. Greg, getting back to golf for a minute, how involved are you in your places every day? And secondly, when you're designing, did you walk it long enough to be able to take into consideration the wind directions that would be coming off different parts of the water?
GREG NORMAN: First part of your question, I do not get involved in the setup of the golf course. This is a PGA TOUR event. They have the TOUR officials down here to do that on a week-by-week basis. They're excellent at it. They understand what the players like, from their experience over the years, and they also have the experience of dealing with seaside golf courses, windy golf courses, golf course elevations, so I do not get involved with the setup of the golf course.
That being said, I do speak to some of the TOUR officials before the event. I spoke to my dear friend, the official here. He gives me an update on the golf course and how it's playing, and we just have a general conversation, nothing like me saying, hey, this is what should happen or shouldn't happen. It's just a general conversation and update.
And as for the second part of your question, you know, the -- refresh my memory again. Oh, it's very different when you walk this land, number one. We actually figured out the routing. And we started doing a very small channel line. It was probably about 12 feet, maybe one meter wide where we just traversed our way through all the mangroves to understand, before we went anywhere, the way we wanted to go, before we violated any more of the mangroves.
And yes, you do have to walk it, and you do have to understand the cenotes on one, and on two. And speaking of cenotes, I went to dive today and the Taj Maja Cenote, about 30 kilometers from here, I had a phenomenal morning going through there. Not only does Quintana Roo have a great golf destination, but for the SCUBA diver and the cave diver and the cabin diver, it was phenomenal. So I encourage anybody who loves to SCUBA dive to enjoy the cenotes.
Anyway, going back to your question, we discovered the cenotes. We understand certain characteristics of them. So we worked around them, and we incorporated them in. The only way you're going to find those is if you actually walk the virgin golf course in the beginning.
So I've always done that. I'm never going to stop doing that, because that's how you understand what Mother Nature is giving you.

Q. Mr. Norman, do you think that they will decide to go ahead and have other tournaments in Mexico?
GREG NORMAN: That's a good question. I think that's a question you have to ask them. They're the ones who decide on the expansion and where the game of golf should go, but if you have a look at what the European Tour has done, I think they've done a tremendous job of promoting the game of golf on a global basis by going all over the world, not just in Europe.
I think the United States and the U.S. PGA TOUR has recognized that, and they've come down here and seen the success of this event.
So I wouldn't be at all surprised if further expansion does take place in the horizon.
As for my wine, I wish you would drink more of them, okay, number one, and number two, I have enjoyed it.
In the wine business you've always gotta improve on them, and we have improved on them. The shot on eight coming off the golf course and enjoying a chardonnay. And obviously with the Shiraz and the Cab we have, we do it to complement wherever you are, whether you're at home or whether you're in the restaurant. So it's been a very exciting joint venture and relationship for me, and I've enjoyed it and I've seen that come and go as well. Thank you.

End of FastScripts

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297