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July 25, 2009

Greg Norman


STEVE TODD: Greg, fantastic round today, 64, and you're right in contention. If you could just sum up the round for us.
GREG NORMAN: Solid. Simple as that. Don't need to say much more about it. Put the ball in play and putted fairly decently. I didn't make a whole lot of putts, but just played solid all day.
STEVE TODD: Did you think at start of the day with Fred so far ahead, that if you shot a really low round, you could get back in contention?
GREG NORMAN: Well, any time you shoot a low round under 70, yeah, you normally do get back in contention. I was surprised, Fred Funk not taking advantage of it. He's a great driver of the golf ball and he's straight. He probably had his little problems out there and couldn't really recover. It is what it is, and it will be a good race to the finish tomorrow.
STEVE TODD: You've certainly had plenty of birdies the last few days; do you feel you're striking the ball well, or what's been the key for you?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I must be, but I've also had a few bogeys, too. The early part of the tournament I had a few 3-putts each day and I didn't really like that, and I'm starting to get kind of a feel for the greens.
There's a lot of grain in them so you have to be very careful on your three- and four-footers if you leave them that way. Yeah, you just have to really read the greens tightly.

Q. What was the club that you used on the short hole, the 13th?
GREG NORMAN: Oh, the downhill par 3? 9-iron.

Q. It hit and jumped a couple of feet forward.
GREG NORMAN: It was going over a 18-story skyscraper; I had it up in the air pretty good. I think we had about 184, downhill, downwind.

Q. Can you just talk us through those five holes where you picked up four shots, from the 11th.
GREG NORMAN: Well, I drove it on 11 because the flag was in the middle of the green and got it just about green high and did a little bump-and-run up there about five feet and holed that.
13, I hit nine iron in there about eight feet.
14, I hit driver, 4-iron, 2-putted from about 30 feet.
And 15, I hit a 4-iron in there about 15 feet.

Q. Is it a question of just eliminating those mistakes that you had the first two days?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I think you always try and eliminate the mistakes that you're making, no question about it.
I came out today and I just wanted to putt a good score on the board and make no mistakes. I had a little bit more control under the feel of my putter. I was a bit more meticulous about looking at the grain and seeing which direction the grain was going.
This grain here is very strong. It's almost like putting in Florida to tell you the truth. If you don't get it right with the right speed, you can look like an idiot even though you hit a good putt. A lot of local knowledge around here, and none of us really do have that local knowledge. Last time I played here in tournament was '86 then I played I think Faldo in a Shell's match here and that's a long time ago. And the greens, as far as my memory, if it's right, have little bit more grain this time.

Q. How quickly have they dried out from yesterday?
GREG NORMAN: It's amazing, I haven't seen a puddle of water out there. I had my wife, Chrissie, walking around and I says, "You guys walking through any water?"
And she said, "No, we're not getting wet." So this golf course drains phenomenally well.

Q. You can be aggressive or defensive on the Old Course, but did you have a particular strategy each day?
GREG NORMAN: Really it all depends. I get on the tee and I check where the pin is on each green, and then I determine how I'm going to play it.
Like the third hole, every time the pin is right, I'm going to drive it, because if you miss it left, you've got to pitch down. So it just depends where the flag is. Before I walk on the tee, I check it, check the pin position and then I make my strategy up.
And also, depending on where the wind is. If it's swirling around and if it's not the right angle for you, yeah, you've got to play a little bit conservative, put it out 20 feet right of the hole if the bunker is short-siding left. Just like I said, find the pins first and then play to them.

Q. There's a lot of guys chasing you obviously, and there's a lot of guys that can chase you tomorrow. Given the nature of this course, and some of them, their strategy is made up, they just go for it and see what happens, but you'll still stick with your game plan?
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, I'll still stick with my game plan. It just all depends on the flags. Like I said, these greens are soft enough, too, where you can get fairly aggressive; if you're in the semi-rough, you can still fire at some of the greens, and you know which ones release more than the other ones. So you have to be a bit careful on a couple of them. Yeah, that's when you take your conservative approach.

Q. It was a hell of a birdie at the second hole considering most players were getting fives and sixes there.
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, well, it kind of suits me because I hit the ball so high, so I had a perfect yardage to the middle of the green. I think I had 210 to the middle of the green and just into the breeze and I hit a nice high 4-iron. I knew it was never going to go over and it was never going to go short; right in the sweet spot of my range, and that's exactly where it landed.

Q. Did you ask your son to help you with any of the lies?
GREG NORMAN: Sometimes I did. Sometimes when you get into the dark areas and it's overcast, your eyes are not as sharp as a young 23-year-old, and sometimes I'll ask him what he sees there. And most of the time he confirms my read, but it's good to have him backing me up.

Q. He's a good golfer.
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, he plays off 1 or 2, himself, so he knows how to play.

Q. And he's enjoying it obviously?
GREG NORMAN: I would imagine so, yeah. I think he's really having a good time with it.

Q. You might have to keep him tomorrow if you're coming down.
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, I'll just have to pull the reins back on him a little bit; put a few more bricks in the bag. (Laughter)
STEVE TODD: Thanks a lot.

End of FastScripts

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