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November 10, 2010

Greg Norman

Lorena Ochoa


MIKE SCANLAN: We would like to get things started here with two golfing legends. Everyone here knows Lorena obviously. We would like to welcome Greg Norman, as well.
As most of you know, Lorena and Greg announced a partnership in October to co-design golf courses and have put in a proposal to design a course for the 2016 Olympic Games. So to start off, Lorena, first of all, like to get your thoughts on obviously partnering with a golf legend, and working toward an Olympic course.
GREG NORMAN: From my perspective, the most important thing to happen in golf in a long period of time was getting the nomination into the 2016 Olympics. We have seen a tremendous surge in the game of golf, popularity in the game of golf in the Asia-Pacific region and I think the surge is really taking place probably twofold since that announcement for the 2016 Olympics.
But the game has grown probably as fast as anywhere in the world here in MĂ©xico. I think the growth of the game here is led by this lady sitting to my left. She's done a phenomenal job for this country. She's done a phenomenal job for the game of golf and obviously for herself. You've watched her play -- well, I have watched her play many, many times on TV, and her charisma, her attitude towards people, to the development of the game of golf is second to none.
And I think we are both like-minded in our attitude towards the game and developing the game of golf. I have a golf tournament that production company runs in Mayakoba in MĂ©xico, CancĂșn. And I've developed a lot of golf courses mere in MĂ©xico. My personal growth in MĂ©xico has been absolutely fantastic over the last 15, 20 years.
So when I thought about the opportunity of getting involved with the Olympics and a bid for the Olympics, Lorena was the first person I thought of because of, like I said, her commitment to the game of golf and seeing the development of what's happened here in MĂ©xico, and as it drifts further south, you get into Colombia, you get into Argentina, you get into Brazil. The game of golf is growing at tremendous levels in this part of the world.
But I think the thing that strikes me the most is that Lorena likes to see the game of golf like I do grow from the grass roots. And today when I walked off the golf course here to see the number of children between the age of 5 and 6 to 15, 16, is a pure sign about where she touches the development of the game of golf and that's at the grass roots. That's what the Olympics is all about and that's what we are all about and that's why partnering with her -- and I'm just as much a benefactor of it as Lorena is.
We are looking forward to developing and growing our design skills together. I've done a few more golf courses I think than Lorena has, but at the same time, when we walked around the golf course today, I could see where her mind is with shot-making capabilities and design capabilities, so I'm going to enjoy the process going forward.
MIKE SCANLAN: If both of you would talk about how you can complement each other, this golf course you hope to design will be played by men and women; obviously both of you playing on different tours in your life, how will you work together to make sure the course is good for both?
LORENA OCHOA: We will get down to Brazil to see what we are working with. Obviously like Greg said earlier, he's designed more golf courses than I have. But from my perspective of any player who is a little bit younger, someone who has been on the LPGA, I can see how women strike the ball and how the ladies view the golf course in a different way. So we are looking forward to working together to doing a good contract.
GREG NORMAN: I totally agree with what Lorena is saying. We need to get down there and look at the project. As far as I'm concerned, the easiest thing in the world to do is to build the hardest golf course in the world and make it impossible for anybody to play.
The hardest job in the world is to build a golf course that everybody can play; and I mean, the ladies, LPGA Tour players, a lady to who shoots 180, a lady who carries the ball 40 meters through the air, an old man who likes to play the game of golf and can't walk very far; to a player who can carry the ball 300 meters through the air. That's the hardest thing in the world.
What the IOC is looking from us is to be able to incorporate all of those, all of those ingredients into building this golf course. And we have to remember one thing -- well, actually two things about this. It's going to be a public golf course after the Olympics is completed, so they want the public to come and join us time and time and time again.
And No. 2, we have to take a huge amount of consideration into Paralympics. Golf is going to be in the Paralympics right after the Olympics in 2016. We have to talk about that because it's never been done before. And when you think about that whether it's a blind person or handicapped person or whether the person is really disabled, whether they get in or out of a bunker, whether they climb up to a tee.
So we have this huge task ahead of us to win this bid, No. 1, and if we do win the bid, we have all of these components to think about. It's not just how great of a player -- or how great players like Lorena can hit the ball or how I can hit the ball and not worry about certain things. It's making sure that everybody who plays our golf course, not just in the Olympics, but any golf course we do going forward, is to enjoy that golf course every shot they hit.
MIKE SCANLAN: Do you feel as a Latin American, your partnership has an advantage to build a course in a Latin country like Brazil?
LORENA OCHOA: Of course, I think that we have every intention of being able to win that bid and although I've always represented MĂ©xico with great pride, when I play in the United States and when I play around the world, Latin people always come up to me, they say hi to me, they cheer for me. They want to be close to me.
So I think that doing this, I think it's a very important part for me to be able to represent not only MĂ©xico but Latin America. I think that's going to be something that we need to take advantage of and play on to be able to win this bid.
GREG NORMAN: I think the other thing that I personally think we have an advantage about is the recognition in what we have both done in the game of golf. I think what the IOC will look for, and I don't know this for a certainty, is that whoever wins this design job has to go out there and represent the game of golf and the Olympics globally. And it's not just winning the design job to build a golf course for the Olympics; that would be great.
But it's the responsibility that Lorena and I would have, or whoever wins the bid, and that has to come down to a lot on our popularity and to the amount of time we travel to Lorena going to China two weeks ago and winning $1.28 million, the popularity; of which she owes me a little bit of money now. (Laughter).
But I want to keep to the importance of what I'm saying, because it is going to be so important that we keep the game of golf in the Olympics. It's no certainty after 2016 that it will stay in there.
So we have to make sure the game is received well, through building the right golf course and the people and the designers and the representatives of the game of golf promote the game of golf at the highest level in 2016.
MIKE SCANLAN: Your partnership won't be exclusive, you won't design courses on your own but you will be available to bring that partnership to future courses. Are there any other ideas in the works?
GREG NORMAN: Let me answer that question. Right now, the way that the economy and the environment has changed with the development of the game of golf around the world, the developers are looking for something new and they are looking for something out of the box. I know we have gotten a lot of requests in the last 18 months to two years to do a 36-hole golf course and they want a different look, a fresher face and something new to the market.
So we sit back ourselves and sometimes don't give a 36-hole project, because we are only one designer, which is me. Lorena and I will be the benefactors in a lot of ways in that we might be able to pick up one or two or three or four extra jobs either because of Lorena or myself. That's a great asset that we have going forward.

Q. Talk about how the collaboration started and how this association working together started?
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, it was probably September, end of August, early September when I decided to reach out to Lorena. Now, from my position, I knew Lorena had an association or potential association with somebody else. I knew she was in the design business.
And it's not easy. You want to make sure that you approach and everybody's expectations get met in the right way and in our preliminary discussion, you were travelling somewhere -- I think you were in Europe?
GREG NORMAN: She travels more than I do. But at the end of the day to be able to meet everybody's expectations and make sure I wasn't going to be stepping on anybody's toes by approaching Lorena, and so we went through Alejandro and we basically had this conversation from my office and that's how it all played out, just by asking a simple question.

Q. Would you talk a little about how it felt to share the Pro-Am with a legend? And likewise, Greg, how did it feel to share the course and play with Lorena during the Pro-Am?
LORENA OCHOA: Well first of all I would like to thank him and I hope it was pleasant for you, the media and for the fans to see us together. It just gave us a little bit more of a chance to get to know each other and see how we think and how we work and how we approach different things, how we approach shots and how we approach golf and how we think about things. I think it's going to be something very memorable here at the club and especially here in Guadalajara for the fans.
GREG NORMAN: From my perspective it was an honor. I played a practice round with Lorena in China and enjoyed every step of that round, and I enjoyed every step today.
Too, knowing her popularity, I knew about that and I knew that was second to none; but to really get to know somebody who has experienced what it's like to be at the top of the tree, there's only one person that can do that and that's some somebody who has been there. Lorena has been the No. 1 player in the world and she understands what it takes to get there. She understands what it takes to stay there. She completely understands the sacrifices and the commitment to that.
So we can have a conversation without fear of favor. We can have a conversation with total respect for each other because we have been there, done it and we have total respect for each other because we can take what we have done on the golf course with a great deal of success and implement it to another world which is what I call crossing over the line into the world of business.
Every day we get together, we learn more and more about each other. I can't wait to get on a site visit with her. I can't wait to get down to Brazil and look at the virgin piece of property we'll have to work with -- totally be able to work with for the design of the golf course for the Olympics, and that's when we'll really be able to get into our mind and be able to picture and imagine things we would like to build on the golf course.

Q. With this collaboration, will you be able to submit your own design to the IOC? And Greg, what tips do you have for Lorena now that she is playing in her own tournament?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I would advise her, which she actually said today, give everybody else the responsibility of running the golf event. The hardest thing for her is to play the game of golf and to worry about everybody else. You can't do that because in the game of golf you have to concentrate and focus so much on what you need to do. That's why she has Alejandro here. Put it all on him and she can go play golf.
LORENA OCHOA: Greg and I are submitting a design together for the Olympics and we are both free to do our own projects outside of that. I would just like to reiterate that and know that we are both available for other projects.

Q. You both obviously have spent a lot of time competing against Jack and Annika, respectively, over the years. How is it different competing in this realm and how do you view the competition?
GREG NORMAN: Competition in design?
LORENA OCHOA: I think more than anything, it's just, you know, we love competition. We see things in a different way. Like Greg said, this is very important. It's not only about we played the best or we won so many tournaments or so many majors. This is about, you know, the person, the way you behave inside and outside the golf course and what we believe in and our values and respect others and how we carry ourselves.
I think we are completely different people on one hand and I think we are a good match and we believe in that and that's why we are putting our names together and we want to just continue being ourselves. We think that we have a good chance and hopefully it will be a great surprise, in a good way, something very exciting.
GREG NORMAN: I think from a competitive standpoint, I view it a little bit differently. I think you compete about implementing your skill sets on the golf course day-in and day-out. But when you design a golf course, you're implementing a skill set about what you see.
When we play golf, we play as individuals. When you design golf courses, you have a team around you. That team needs to understand what you see and what your vision is for the completion of that golf course.
So you have to implement that into your team members. Lorena is going to have to implement what she sees and her beliefs to me just as much as I am going to have to do it for her. I don't necessarily think it's a true competition between the other ones. I think it's the -- like I said, the implementation of what your skill sets are of creating something on a piece of canvas or just a raw piece of land that will last for a lifetime, multiple lifetimes.
And I think that, to me, is the greatest competition that we can have for ourselves. I don't care about Jack and Annika. I don't care about all of the other seven other potential bidders or designers. I care about what we do and I know if we do it correctly, we'll probably have a very good chance; I would put ourselves in the top three opportunity of getting there because of what our skills can deliver.

Q. Do you know how many bids there are already?
GREG NORMAN: I believe we are No. 8 or No. 9. I think there's one other team in there, I think it's Nicklaus and Annika, and I think that's it, the rest are individuals.
The process -- do you know what the process is right now, how the nine get whittled down? The IOC, they will be looking at all of the bids. It's always an RFP, a request for propose all to do a presentation. We will submit an RFP. And then the IOC will take a look at that. They will whittle down whatever the number is, it could be 12, it could be 15, it could be 30 show Hal designers.
It will come down to three. And then those three will get a little bit more of a look-in and then we will have to really polish off our RFP and we will get more involved with it. That's how the process will go. And then it will be one person and one group selected to design the golf course.
We don't know the time schedule yet. We just know that they are contemplating having a tournament on the golf course the year before the Olympics in 2015. I haven't seen the site. Some of my team members have. The golf course will probably take anywhere between 18 months to two years to build. Probably take 18 to 12 months minimum to get the permits, so you back yourself out, you look at that, so we are expecting some nomination to take place between now and the middle of next year, is my guess, and that's how the process is playing out.

Q. What does it mean to you to make this proposal with Lorena to Rio?
LORENA OCHOA: Well, Greg contacted me first and he thought as a Latin American player, that would give us a great advantage. We are going to continue to work on this and just see where it goes.
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, that's a hundred percent correct. (Laughter).

Q. What's the date they will let you know?
GREG NORMAN: We don't know. Probably won't be until -- I'm guessing, but middle of next year. No later than that I would think.

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