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April 7, 2009
RONALD TOWNSEND: Good afternoon. We are delighted to have Greg Norman here. As you know, Greg finished third in the British Open, which qualified him to join this tournament. This is his first Masters appearance since 2002. He's a two-time British Open winner, as you all know. He's won 20 PGA TOUR titles, 07 international victories, and this is his 23rd Masters appearance and I understand your son, Gregory Junior is going to caddie for you this year.
GREG NORMAN: Yes, sir.
RONALD TOWNSEND: Would you like to go to questions? It's your choice.
GREG NORMAN: It's great to be back here. Unfortunately the weather conditions as we all know are not too conducive to us getting out there and enjoying our practice rounds like we have done in the past. But from my perspective, it's always great to earn your way back into this championship. It's been one that I've done very well in, and I've also done poorly in. But at the same time, it's been a great balance of the golf tournament for me. It's one of my favorite golf tournaments I've ever played in no matter where I've played in the world.
So to come back here under the circumstances of July of last year is very, very special for me.
Q. Geoff Ogilvy was in here earlier and he was saying that honestly, if he assessed your play, he thinks that certainly on Sunday, he would not be surprised if you were in the mix on Sunday. I know you've talked it down a bit, but there's still a competitor within you. Do you how do you feel about that?
GREG NORMAN: Well, my preparation for this week has been different from what it was in July of last year. I've been consistent in saying that. I've been out there practicing more, trying to get myself ready. There's a lot of things you've got to do differently getting ready for Augusta than you do getting ready for the British Open.
The speed of the greens, the dramatic amount of break you have to hit on for a soft putt, and even some of the lies you have to hit off the fairways, hanging lies, the uphill, downhill lies, like 13 and 9 are prime examples. So if you are hitting your irons well and putting well, you're going to do extremely well around here.
My preparation has been around that way. I have done the same leading up to this tournament as all the 22 other ones I've played here. As for how it plays out over the rest of the week, I just hope it warms up. If it warms up, I think guys in my age bracket might do a little bit better. But at the same time, it's tough on everybody out there. Would I like to be there? Yes, of course, I'd like to be there Sunday, but I've got to take my expectations and manage them properly, and just see how it plays out.
I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to just really going out and having fun, and if the score dictates that I'm around on the weekend and the score dictates that I get closer to the lead on Sunday, hey, that would be great.
Q. This has always been a place where guys have had success in the past and kind of get out there and played a lot by feel and memory. Has the course changed in the year since you've played and so that no longer applies for you, or what?
GREG NORMAN: No, all of the memories, absolutely, 100% there. Even though the golf course has been lengthened 420 yards since I last played here, you are still hitting very much to the same place on the greens, same type of putts. There are a few minor adjustments to some of the greens up there, not all of them. I see them; I pick them up very easily because I've been around here a lot of times to see any little minor adjustments, as I said.
So I said to my son yesterday when we finished playing, I said, "When I get up to hit a putt, it's like you know exactly where to hit it." And I tell him, "Look, watch this ball; you think it's going to go this way, it's going to go this way." And that all just comes from memory.
Look, hopefully that serves you well going as the tournament gets deeper and deeper, because you know as this tournament does progress, the golf course does change. It has done over the history, because the character of it, the pressure gets greater. Pin positions, even though they stay consistently the same, it seems like they get tighter.
So the golf course makes you play a little bit different than what you do on a Tuesday than what you do on a Sunday. Is it playing longer? Yes, it's playing longer. Not for these younger guys. They are hitting their golf clubs into the greens the same as what I used to hit into when the golf course was the normal length.
So Augusta National have done a great job of trying to balance that out, with technology, I'm sure they are hitting pitching wedge and 9-irons when I was hitting pitching wedge and 9-irons, and I was one of the longer players out there.
Obviously as you get shorter, the golf course gets longer and it becomes more difficult to get them closer to the hole, that's for sure.
Q. Is it possible your son will try to overrule you?
GREG NORMAN: He has in a lot of things in life, so I'm sure it's going to happen out here. (Laughter).
I'm sure he will do. He's had two great weeks on the bag with me, one in a regular senior event and last week in a PGA TOUR event, and he's becoming very comfortable with it. He's caddied for me quite a few times in the past in events, probably a dozen times.
So he knows what my game is like. And he'll back me off. He'll pull me away if he thinks I'm a little out-of-sync or misreading a putt and I'll have to tell him, "No, it's going to do this." And then we might have a three or four or five-second jab at each other, and then have to go make it.
Q. What's your sense of who the best clutch and must-make putter of all time has been?
GREG NORMAN: I would say from -- excluding -- no, I would say from six feet and seven feet in, it would be a tie between Nicklaus and Woods. I would say outside of nine feet, it would be Woods, no question. He makes more nine plus, 10, 15, 20, 18-footers, all day long, at the crucial time. And it doesn't matter whether it's for an eagle or for the win or for a double-bogey. It seems like he gets the ball in the hole and I haven't seen anybody like that.
Every top player has always been a great putter inside six feet. But there's been very few players that just absolutely wipe you off the face of the planet with the way he putts outside nine feet.
Q. Has the time away from this place made it easier for you to forget the disappointments and maybe keep the good memories fresher?
GREG NORMAN: No, I think I share the balance of them, good and bad, and I think it's important that you do that.
Some of the bad stuff was self-inflicted and some of it wasn't. Things that you can reflect back on and I actually talk about a lot; I know I talk about it with Chrissie a lot because we like to kind of lament a lot of times over what we have done and what we haven't done. I probably talk more about the Masters than I do anything else when we have those conversations.
It's interesting, because she went through 13 times getting beaten by Martina; and if I imagined going through -- well, I went 22 times without winning the Masters. So I think I'm a little bit ahead of her on that one.
It's interesting how no matter how great a player you are, in whatever sport, respective field, you always go through negative and positives. It's good to talk about the negatives, because you don't need to keep them inside you. People know that things did happen, and sometimes you play bad and sometimes you play great and somebody beats you. And that's the game of golf.
But at the same time, I've come away from here with a lot of good memories, too. It's nice when you walk on the first tee like I did yesterday, and we are on the driving range, and when I walked out there, it was a pretty special moment.
Q. Yesterday you invited Jeev to play a round with you in the practice round. Back home in India, can we read a lot into it, because you are The Presidents Cup captain and he is ninth on the list? And secondly, what do you think of him as a player?
GREG NORMAN: Well, you can read a lot into it, because you're right. (Laughter) I really want to play as much as I can -- and it's difficult for me, because I don't play a lot of golf, and if I do play, I'm in another part of the world or I might be playing the Senior Tour.
So when I get into a situation like this when I can play with some players who look like being on The Presidents Cup Team, or who might be on The Presidents Cup Team, yes, I might go out and spend some time with them.
I've watched Jeev from afar, through television cameras and reading his scores wherever he plays. He plays a lot of golf, probably more than Vijay Singh, quite honestly, and Vijay plays a lot of golf quite honestly. You have to admire Jeev. He wants to get on The Presidents Cup Team and he was very open about that with me. If he keeps doing what he's doing, he's going to be on it with respect to whether he's a captain's choice or if he just plays his way longer on to the team.
As far as playing with him, I was impressed. I was surprised how far he hits the golf ball. He's sneaky long which is a big advantage on this golf course obviously. I asked him point-blank, how are you playing and he said, "I'm playing very well." You don't hear too many players come out openly and say, I'm playing very well.
He's very confident about his game and I look forward for good things from him this week.
Q. There's obviously been a lot of reaction leading up to this since your performance at Birkdale. Just curious, if you're surprised by the outpouring, I'm sure you've got a lot of feedback, e-mails, letters and such. Did it give you anymore motivation coming in here, getting that kind of reaction?
GREG NORMAN: I'd be lying if I said it didn't give me some, but it wasn't the principle motivator.
It's a great feeling, and I've been a part of this golf tournament, whether it's good or bad, and people would have liked to see me have won the golf tournament, and I get that from some of the players to tell you the truth. It's a very good balance.
It's difficult to really explain it, how it feels, because sometimes you come in and you think, okay, when I used to come in here in the 80s and 90s, and you expected to do well, people were pulling for you and other people were not pulling for you, too. Now it seems like everyone is pulling for me, which is nice. (Laughter).
So you know, I was just in the locker room, and it's different. Even the players, like I said, the player are "Hey, play well, play well, play well." I know in the 80s, they were not coming up to me and saying, "Hey, Greg, play well," that's for sure.
It's unique and it's unique from a player's perspective, I've never experience that before. It really makes you understand the impact that I have had to some degree I have had on the event, and it makes you feel different in some ways. I don't mean that in any indifferent way. It just feels different coming here. You're just another player in the field. You've earned your way in here, and everyone is going to be trying to willing me to do it.
I'm just going to go out there and go the opposite of what I used to do; just go out there and have fun. I tried to go and have fun, but sometimes it didn't work out that way. But this time I'm definitely going to go out and have fun and see what happens.
Q. You had mentioned in the days and weeks after Birkdale how you had really tried to not pay attention to expectations and to go out and have fun; with the passage of time, everybody knowing you were coming to the Masters, is that something or an attitude or an approach that you can duplicate after Birkdale?
GREG NORMAN: I'm not going to go in here and try and duplicate what happened at Birkdale. I would like the result to be like that, of course, as a player. My lead-up to Birkdale was totally different from my lead-up to this tournament. Yes, there's been a lot of questions asked and a lot of e-mail responses. Friends have flown in from Australia to come watch me play and they never did that in the 80s and 90s. Again, that's a bit of an indicator in its own right.
So I did approach this, and I wanted to come in here feeling like I could feel semi-okay about my game, because I love this place. I've been very open about it, I love it. I didn't want to just come in here and feel like, okay, slap it around, get a pair of 85s and get out of here. You want to come in here and feel I can you can put up some good numbers up there to warrant what you did and show that July, yes, I played great in July in tough weather conditions; but that I can come in here and do something similar.
Q. You about half-answered this question already, I apologize for that, but among the players that have gone out of their way to pat you on the back and shake your hands, anybody surprise you or any big names or any that were more meaningful or anything memorable passed along, atta-boys or words of encouragement or anecdotal that would make a good story?
GREG NORMAN: Every player, from Tom Watson on the range yesterday to Tiger Woods on one hole yesterday to every player who I've come up to on the field has said, "Hey, it's great to see you back."
I'm the only one who has really missed it, and like I said, it makes you feel different in a lot of ways.
Q. You talk about wanting to to be in and play as well as you did last year at Birkdale; how do you keep from having the old demons re surface?
GREG NORMAN: Well, you're strong-minded. As a professional athlete, you train yourself to let not even the good things fall into your head. You have to deal with what is at the task at hand right there and then. They never really do, to tell you the truth, when you're out there working your game, playing your game, you never think about what happened in whatever year it was.
You just go ahead and do your thing. If you let the demons take control of you, then you're never going to do your job properly, anyway. And every player has got demons. We all know we've made mistakes and hit the wrong shot at the wrong time, even though you have won a lot of golf tournaments. You've still got demons and you've still got to find them. That's the strength in the mind of an athlete, you just put them aside and do what you need to do.
Q. Danny Lee was in here, an 18-year-old kid, talking about the nerves, can you reminisce about your first time here, being paired and Jack and getting the nickname?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I can remember very vividly, 1981, I just drove up Magnolia Lane, and first of all it's a bit of a reality check as a kid. Every time as a kid growing up, you have your favorite golf tournaments you always watch. Mine was the British Open and the Masters. And I always pictured, the shot was going up Magnolia Lane to the American Flower Bed with the flag in there where Augusta is and the clubhouse behind it. You always see it on TV and you think, wow, that looks pretty cool. It looks like a postcard. But when you actually drive up there, it really is identical. It's absolutely pristine.
Then you can't wait to get out on the other side of the clubhouse and it's when you walk to the other side of the clubhouse is when reality really hits you. If you get here early enough before the thousands of people out there, I know I did, it looked like somebody just rolled out a carpet and put a couple of big pine trees out there, a few flags, a few tee markers and that's how perfect it was. That's the image that you have of Augusta National.
And so I'm sure that Danny Lee or any other rookie coming in here for the first time have those images in their mind and hear stories about it. Believe me, when you watch it on TV and hear what the commentators say, sometimes they make it seem a lot more tougher and demanding and Amen Corner and all of these things; so you get this preconceived notion in your head like this is the hardest four holes in golf and the pressure when you get here, and this is commentators saying it, not player.
So when you come here the first time as a player, you go, wow, okay, the 11th hole is not as tough as what I thought it is. If you are playing well you know where to hit it and you put it on there. And 12 is probably the one that you think about the most on the tee shot.
So you have all of these preconceived ideas until you wash them out after a couple of practice rounds and then you get ready to go. He'll be nervous on the first tee. I didn't remember walking down the bottom of the hill with Jack Nicklaus, put his hand on my shoulder and said, "I hope you're nervous as I am." And I said, wow, shit, I can't believe you said that -- (laughter) -- Jack was sending me a message, like, okay, you're nervous, I know you're nervous, just a minute calm down and let's just go play golf. (Laughter).
That was the perfect thing that a superstar like Nicklaus would do to a young rookie like I was.
Q. Because you haven't been here for a while and now you've come back, do you feel rejuvenated at all, like maybe you've stepped back in time, and when you see Rory McIlroy and Danny Lee, how does that feel?
GREG NORMAN: I don't feel rejuvenated when they out-drive me by 45 yards. Back in my days, I was out-driving the older players by 45 yards. Chrissie asked me this question on the phone when I played yesterday, she said, "What was it like for you"?
I said, "It was like a practice round." I guess I was trying to approach it that way where I just walked in and treat it just like another practice round at Augusta and not kind of like let the, I guess the emotion of people trying to lift you up in some way. I'm just to get ready for the tournament and trying to down play things as much as I possibly can. But it's a bit hard to.
I don't think I'm rejuvenated. I'm just very happy and very glad to be here.
Q. Putting your designer hat on for just one moment, do you marvel at the skills of Alister Mackenzie and what he created here at Augusta? And the second parter, I am getting positive comments about the course that will host the finale for The Race to Dubai, which is obviously your course, just a few reactions to where it's at at the moment.
GREG NORMAN: Pretty hard to screw up a piece of property like this. (Laughter).
The terrain dictated the golf course right from the get-go. We talked about Amen Corner, the most natural golf holes you can ever have and didn't really move any delay to do anything accept make the green locations and tees.
The thing that I get disappointed is to see the change of a golf course over time, where what Byron Nelson did and the Palmers did and the Sarazens did over a period of time, you really can't equate to them as a player, because we are never in that same position, and unfortunately technology does that and golf courses do have to adjust and change.
But it would be great to have ability to, somehow, I don't know which way -- I do know how, but somehow just play the same golf course so you can test yourself against the past champions and say, okay, on 13, Nicklaus used to drive it over the corner, I was told; now, can I drive it over the corner yes, the pine trees are taller because it's 30 years later, but can you still do that.
Those are the type of things, that from a designer standpoint, there are some changes out here that a lot of players talk about, from a player's perspective and the playability of the golf course. The locker room talk is a factor; a lot of the character of the back nine has been taken away, because even you look back into 1986 when Corey Pavin eagled 15 two days in a row, I didn't think Corey Pavin could reach 15 two days in a row now.
So there's an example of the beautiful part, as you walk to the 10th tee back in the 80s and 70s and whatever, if you felt like you were six or seven shot out of the lead, you actually still felt like could you win the golf tournament. Because somebody could stumble with a 36 or 37 and you could pop in with a 29, and boom, there you are. A lot more difficult now because there are a few players who can but there are a vast number of players who can say: I'm a Ben Crenshaw or a Corey Pavin or I'm someone that's a short hitter and I can tear up the back nine and blitz it. It's very difficult unless you pound the ball 320. I know technology has allowed players to do that, so it's changed the characteristics of the golf course a little bit. I see it now. I've been here long enough, from '96 to 2002, and then from 2002 all the changes took place to where it is today. It's a totally different golf course feel-wise for me than it was in 2002.
Q. You spoke about Jeev earlier --
GREG NORMAN: I'll answer the rest of your question in a second.
Q. Just that little bit about Dubai.
GREG NORMAN: Dubai, about the golf course, I'm getting nothing but good reports from the players. A few of the players who live in Dubai have gone out and practiced and played there. We made a conscious effort of designing a very good golf course when we heard that The Race to Dubai, the final golf tournament was going to be there. We came in and we tweaked it a little bit. The golf course was still under construction and we had the ability to do that.
I truly believe we have got one heck of a test of golf for these guys. And it's a small field, kind of like Augusta is, so you can manage the golf course a little bit better, because of the wind conditions in the desert, they change dramatically from nine o'clock in the morning to 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Now with a small field, everyone will be playing the golf course the same way, so you can set it up fairly tough right across the board.
I'm actually looking forward to seeing how they handle it over the four days.
Q. You spoke briefly about Jeev. Any other prospective Presidents Cup team members started charming you at all?
GREG NORMAN: Charming me?
Q. And the second part of that question, any good-natured banter between you and Freddie as dueling captains in the field this week?
GREG NORMAN: Look, I've got nothing but great support from the players. I get a list of the top 45 players who can potentially be on the team. As an International captain, my well of players is a heck of a lot deeper than the USA. And I've got to look far and broad. I mean, young players, like a Danny Lee, for example, when I was in Perth, all of a sudden, things went off in my head. Well, okay, maybe not 2009, but maybe not 2011, but why not 2009?
You think about this from a captain, you go, well, he's a young kid, he's very good, he's ambitious, he's determined, he wants to win, did he win as an amateur? Now he's going to go on as a pro and going to continue on with his momentum.
He may not play enough golf to get into the team qualification right now, but he is definitely worth a look at. From a young kid, no nerves, ready to go play, and wants to be on the team. So I've got a lot -- you've got the normal six or five guys you expect to be on the team and I've got 39 other guys who want to be those five or six guys. So those five or six guys have really got to be working hard to stay in place, and I've spoken to all of them, all of the regular guys who you want to be on the team and who have been on the team so many times in the past, and they all want to be on the team.
They are very, very ambitious and determined to want to beat America this year, which is great. To have that feedback coming back to me via on the golf course or via the locker room or via an e-mail from them is phenomenal.
Q. Any good-natured banter between and you Freddie?
GREG NORMAN: Oh, yes, Freddie I, we go back and forth all the time. We are perfect opposing captains for each other. I say that in such an endearing way, because I love Freddie to death. He and I have been friends for a long period of time. He and I have the same philosophy and approach about how we want to see this Presidents Cup take place and how it comes out of it going into 2010 and approaching 2011, I want to beat him and he wants to beat me, no question about it but we do go back and forth.
Our text messages all the time, like in Houston, I said: "You've got to be on the team now." And he's playing well enough to put himself on the team. Freddie will come back, and he's typical Freddie with some little jab back at me, so that's the type of thing that is great to have.
And I think that's going to create a very, very relaxing Presidents Cup, but even more so amongst the opposing team members. They will see how Freddie and I go backwards and forwards with each other, so that will create a great atmosphere for the other 12 players as well.
Q. You mentioned your place in history in this tournament, what do you think it is looking back on it at this point?
GREG NORMAN: Pretty good, actually.
Q. How would you define it?
GREG NORMAN: Pretty good. I can't say much more about that. Of course, I would have loved to have won the golf tournament. I didn't win the golf tournament. But my name seems like it's spoken about a lot of times when the Masters come up, which is a good thing, as much as a bad thing sometimes. That's why I say, it's pretty good.
Q. Padraig Harrington is delighted to see you here this week, with all of the sub-plots, he's fulfilling his ambition to fly in under the radar. Do you think he has an easy ride as a two-time-in-a-row major champion?
GREG NORMAN: I don't think he's coming in under the radar screen, because he's knows what he's done, and if the players doesn't know, most players can pick up the newspapers and read what's going on during the week. They just stay focused on what they are doing. They probably don't watch a lot of television to get a lot of commentary on it.
He knows what he's going to do, what's at stake for him to keep that streak of major championships going along. I think his chances are excellent this week. Padraig has got a great ball flight for this golf course. He hits the ball extremely high, hits a lot of spin and he's a great putter. We all know that.
I've seen him consistently putt well year after year after year. He's not coming under the radar screen in his own mind, and when he steps on the first tee, he will know he's stepping on the first tee. He will know what the next 72 holes means to him, and he was going to be trying to achieve that outcome ultimately.
Q. Where do you put him in the league of major champions, considering what he beat you or had to do to beat you at Birkdale and then at Oakland Hills, those back nines?
GREG NORMAN: Well, anybody who wins back-to-back majors, put him up there. Anybody who wins multiple majors, you put him up there very, very high.
Right now, I mean, from a major championship win, he's knocking on the door, not in the relative terms of number-wise of what Tiger Woods has done, but three out of four is pretty good. That's not a bad strike rate. So you have to put him way up there, and say, okay, he's probably No. 2 from a major championship standpoint from the last couple of years, and anybody else which is a fact.
Q. How would you compare the top-tier of players in depth and quality of players in, say, the top 20 versus times in the past that you were familiar with?
GREG NORMAN: Playability-wise, you mean? Quality of play? Top 20? I know in my time, and I hate saying in my time, my time, my time (laughter). Every time five or six or seven or eight of us went to a golf tournament, we knew there was another six or seven guys we had to beat. It wasn't like you just walk right in there and you felt I can you were the favorite and you were going to do it. .
There was always someone, we had a great group of eight guys, maybe ten, that every week there was this collection, and you guys all know, you've been around long enough to know the guys that do it. No matter what tournament we played in, there was always going to be a percentage of those Top-10 -- well, nine, outside yourself, or eight outside yourself. There was always 50 percent or 60 percent of those guys in the field. So you knew you had to play great golf that week.
What I see nowadays is you don't have continue guys of that magnitude. You will probably have two or three, who really are up there separating themselves from the field. So it makes it a little bit easier in some ways. But now I also see the depth of the younger players, the Danny Lees, the Rory McIlroys, the Ryo Ishikawas of the world, the young guys coming out now seem like they have so much more talent at a younger age than what we had in our era at the same age.
So I think the game of golfing going forward from this group of maybe six or eight or ten, may be starting now at the age of 17 to 22 or 23. So this new group of players coming through, which will seem like from the American base with the Nick Watneys of the world, Nick is a little bit older; the Sean O'Hairs of the world. They are long, they are strong, they are great putters and have great short games. Now all of a sudden you will get a bigger group of great players than what there's been for the last maybe ten or 12 years than there's been the last three or four. I think the game of golf is going to be more exciting. It's been exciting now, but from a player's perspective, it's going to be very exciting because there's a lot more great players popping out of this great crop of young players now.
Q. How conscious were you during the week at Birkdale that you could qualify for Augusta?
GREG NORMAN: I didn't even know I qualified for Augusta until I walked into the press room, and I didn't believe it when somebody told me when I walked off the 72nd green. I said, there's no way I qualified for Augusta, and I kept on doing interviews. I think it was Tim Rosaforte, to tell you the truth.
It was not until I got into the press room that somebody reconfirmed it during the press conference, and I said, okay. So I never even thought about it.
Q. Was there any doubt in your mind that you would play?
GREG NORMAN: I said at the time, I wasn't going to think about it -- that was nine months ago, I had the Senior British open to play and Senior U.S. Open to play, and I had to sit down and evaluate. I had things scheduled and I normally go to the Middle East at this time for a design trip; so there's a lot of things that I book out ten to 12 months in advance that I had to readjust add I prepared my thought process going into it.
I was always going to play, but I just had to move things around a little bit, and then playing in Augusta does not mean to say, okay, I'm just going to walk right up to the first tee and play.
It means I've got to ready for it, so that means I've got to allocate six weeks before that to play this week, and that means playing golf tournaments and all of the other yada, yada, yada, stuff you've got to do.
Q. People differ on whether great athletes learn more about themselves in victory and defeat. Just wondered what you learned about yourself after the two British Open victories.
GREG NORMAN: From an athlete's perspective, it's kind of like, "Okay, I won." You feel like you put yourself and you work hard enough and you're in that position that you're supposed to win. And I mean that in a confidence fashion, I don't mean that in any other way. I think you'll learn more by your failures than you do, I know when I used to sit down and reflect, when you win a golf tournament or won a golf tournament, the next day, you take a few days and go off and practice, and think, okay, what did I hit bad that week, what do I work on.
When you lose, okay, now what do I have to work on, is it my mental side of it, my short game, my 5-iron shot, was it my driver, what was my problem that week that really let me down. So you really learn by your failures and you work on those and so you try for them not to happen again.
So I think I learned more about myself by the failures here, and the way you conduct yourself. When I came in here in '96 nobody expected me to come in here, I tell you the truth, I think, and I took it the way I'm supposed to. It was the game of golf. It wasn't a great experience but you had to face the music and do what you had to do. It taught me a lot, and taught a lot of players a lot about how you conduct yourself after a victory is a lot different than the way you conduct yourself with a defeat, and it's how you conduct yourself with a defeat is what makes you inside.
For me I don't care what other people think of me, but how I feel inside. I know when I walked in here, I felt pretty darned good about myself when I left this press room and went out to everybody else, and when I walked everybody else, I felt like I left this press room, I felt like I won the golf tournament. So that's how you really look within yourself to become a better person.
Q. What do you remember being the most touching thing that somebody wrote to you?
GREG NORMAN: I was at a soccer match, some sporting event and a guy came up to me and said, "You've taught me a huge lesson on how I need to conduct myself around my son by the way you conducted yourself when you got beaten and the way you love the Masters and how you handle defeat." Things like that, obviously had an effect on him for some reason, and that makes you feel good.
Q. You turned pro at a young age, 19, and it, worked and everybody hopes the best for the younger kids now and there's other examples where it has not worked out and it's clear somebody came out to too young. What is the balancing factor and does it depend more on the individual or the support team that they have around them, parents, coaches, things like that?
GREG NORMAN: I think the support team nowadays is a lot more dramatic than what the support team was 25, 30 years ago. There are opportunities now for young players to come out and make a statement very early on and be financially well off in a very fast fashion, it's good.
You have to advise on the side of caution from a parents' standpoint, and not try and push the kid into wherever they want them to go. It's got to be the individual's decision about how he or she wants to do it or how they want to approach it. If there's outside forces, that might put the extra pressure on the individual not to perform, or under-perform, to the expectations that were given to them from the inner circle, which could be a family member.
So it's a very delicate balancing act. I see it in golf. I see it in tennis. I see it when I go to Chrissie's tennis academy and I see these 14-year-old girls who are really, really good, who are going to go out there and beat the top 70 in the world in a match at 14 years old, and you go, now, what do you do, and they are 14.
And golf is the same thing, when you get these young players coming out and you hear the commentator saying: Well, he's going to be the greatest for all time, and you've got to be careful about the comments you make about the individual because you want to make sure they want to slowly got their momentum going instead of all of a sudden be trust up there at the top Mt. Everest and say, okay, now you're here, stay here. It's hard to stay at the top, especially when you have someone like Woods around you. You have to make sure you get knocked down a few times. It's a humbling experience when a guy who just absolutely cherishes winning and you have to go out there and beat him, it's not that easy to beat him. That all comes from the inner circle and sometimes they might lose a little bit of the sight of what should be the ultimate goal.
Q. To see the charge like Jack and Arnold did; can he do 0that?
GREG NORMAN: Tiger could, yeah. Guys who can hit it out there 325 and are great putters, absolutely. Great charges come when you go to the 13th hole with a 6-iron or 5-iron in your hand and attack the pin. You can't attack the pin with a 2-iron or 3-wood or hybrid; and the same with 15.
And 16, it's easier to attack it with a 6-iron than it is a 5-iron or a 7-iron than it is with a 5-iron. So if you're a short hitter, you come to the 11th hole, and you don't hit it 300 yards, you've got 205 yards to get at that flag. If you hit it 320 yards, you have 160 yards. So you're going in with an 8-iron to somebody who is hitting a 4-iron and all of a sudden you're aggressive aspect of attacking the flag has been taken way out with a 4-iron in your hand compared to an 8-iron.
There are a few players who can still go at it aggressively on the back nine, but the balance of it, where I liked it where anybody could have it at Augusta, and we've seen it in the past where it has happened in the past. I was a recipient of it one time with Nicklaus shooting 8-under for nine holes one year, and those are the type of things that are unique for Augusta.
Q. You said recently that you feel like you have more balance in your life now, and I was just curious, in what ways do you feel like you've changed on a personal level since maybe the last time you were here, and what impact has Chrissie had on that?
GREG NORMAN: Well, Chris has had a huge impact on it. I touched on it before. When you've both been at the top of the heap, she's been the No. 1 tennis player, I just made this comment to her when we were in Houston, actually. I said, you know, I wish I had your success rate winning 91 percent of the time, okay. She won 91 percent of her matches. That's a pretty good success rate. So when you have a conversation with her, it actually was on the plane flying back from Houston. So she puts a totally different perspective on it from an athlete's perspective, not from a golfer's perspective but from an athlete's perspective.
Obviously from a balance standpoint, we do -- she's an athlete. Everything I like to do, she loves to do. We do everything together. She wants to learn things and I want to learn things. She's a teacher and I'm a teacher. She's a giver and I'm a giver.
So all of a sudden, one of the greatest things, I think you can have with your partner in life is to do anything you want. If you want to go hiking the mountains of Tibet or the Himalayas, or hike somewhere else or ride a bike or do yoga or Pilates, it's a great thing to go say, "Hey, let's go do that." So that creates a great sense of balance in your life where you can enjoy doing something you love. She's trying to teach me to play tennis and she wants to learn next year.
It's going to be a great time for both of us because she's a competitor and she wants to play and she wants to learn how to play, and that's where you go into a good balance. And when you go home, she knows when not to ask questions, especially questions about golf, and she knows because she's a sports person and she knows when you need a down time and when you're quiet and concentrating on getting into that, okay, your time, this is my time, leave me alone, and when somebody understands that, phew, that's pretty good.
RONALD TOWNSEND: Thank you, Greg, and welcome back. Thank you, everybody.
End of FastScripts