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June 14, 1996

Greg Norman


LES UNGER: Greg, thank you for coming. Brief review of your round and then perhaps your birdies, saves, and any others.

GREG NORMAN: A quick review: I hit lot of fairways, a lot of greens. That is what you are supposed to do around here. I think it was pretty much a carbon copy of yesterday's round. But, of course, I made a few -- I holed a shot and made a few extra putts and that was about all there is. Nothing spectacular, just a lot of patient golf. Second hole driver, 3-wood; 2-putted from about 30 feet. 5th hole: Driver, 8-iron short of the green, chipped it onto about ten feet, 2-putted. The 8th hole: Driver, 4-iron, 18 feet, 1-putt. 13: 6-iron, 9 feet, 1-putt. 16: Driver, 8-iron, 140 yards, hit, and that was it. Saved par on 17, 2-putted 18.

LES UNGER: Questions for Greg, please.

Q. Greg, can you describe what happened out there with the photographer? I believe it was on the 9th hole.

GREG NORMAN: Well, this guy evidently has never been to a golf course before. He apologized. He did it for about two or three holes. That was the first incident. Then he did it again on the 12th hole, and he says "I don't know what I am doing out here. I have never been on a golf course before. I am leaving." I said "that is a damn good idea." (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) He said he was sent out by a corporation. He said "I was out here sitting here to take photographs." He said "I don't know anything about the game of golf," and it showed. That is all it was.

Q. Greg, considering the conditions, considering the course, can you play much better than you did today?

GREG NORMAN: I just played, as I said, carbon copy of yesterday. I probably -- I missed maybe three fairways yesterday. I may have missed three or four fairways today. I may have missed three greens yesterday; may have missed three or four greens today. I am doing the right things. I am going out here on this golf course - just make sure you hit fairways and greens, and the golf course, even though it is soft, it is still playing very difficult. I think yesterday afternoon, the wind blew a little bit more than what it did this morning. That is what made it a little bit more treacherous for the afternoon guys. I think 70 might have been the best score late this afternoon and that was basically because of the wind. The greens are receptive, but because of all the undulations in the greens and you are hitting a lot of middle irons, a lot of 4, 5, 6-irons into these greens, unless you are damn precise, you are going to have yourself a lot of 30-footers, a lot of 40-footers; a lot of clutch putts. They are very, very few situations out there on this golf course where it is a green-light situation where you can actually go aggressively at the flag.

Q. Birdies on 2 of the par 3s, eagle on 16. Can you comment on those in general, what that does to your confidence as you hit those shots?

GREG NORMAN: With the par 3, I suppose, you know the yardage; you have got the ball in your hand; you are pegging it up. You can move it around on the tee to whatever angle you want to shoot at. Again, you have got a lot of ridges on these greens, so if you can move the ball 10, 15 feet on the tee, you can get a good angle to attack at. When you are on the fairways, you are hitting a -- like I said before, you are hitting a lot of middle irons to long irons into these greens. They are very, very difficult to get them the exact length. So that is why -- that is probably the only reason why I can come with birdie and a couple of par 3s.

Q. What did that second shot on 16 do for your moral? Did your virus feel better out there?

GREG NORMAN: Well, yeah, of course it did a lot for my moral. It was one of those situations where it was just a perfect shot. I saw the shot. I felt the shot. I knew where I wanted to land it. You are not expecting to make a 2, of course, but, you know, that is the time I was feeling pretty good of shooting 3-under for the day with that shot in hand. So when I visualized it, I just executed it the way I wanted it to go. What it did to that virus? It didn't do anything to the virus. It didn't get rid of it. I feel a lot better today than I did yesterday.

Q. How are you feeling? I know that you had allergies the last couple of weeks. What kind of medication are you on? How difficult has it been the last couple of days for you to play?

GREG NORMAN: Well, it hasn't been difficult, but I have been on medication. I have picked up an allergy up in New York. Obviously, they have had a late spring up there, and it was dry and windy, and there was a lot of pollen around. I get it in my chest. All I am on is antibiotics and other medications stopping more allergies getting in, so it hasn't bothered me at all. It is just a matter of just coughing a little bit, not taking any energy away from me, hasn't broken my concentration. That is not even a factor in the game.

Q. How well are you striking the ball right now?

GREG NORMAN: Pretty good. I think -- I know I struck my irons yesterday better than I struck them today. Seems like I had my distances right yesterday today. I hit a lot of in-between yardages, between hard 6 or a little 5, or a hard 7 or a little 6 - that type of yardage. That sometimes just gets a little awkward with the way you are playing with these uphill and downhill shots, but yesterday I seemed like I had a lot more good distant yardages.

Q. Greg, how concerned were you not about the 73 but about being 6 back after one round and did you have a number in mind, a place where you wanted to be in terms of closeness to the lead after today?

GREG NORMAN: I wasn't concerned about the number. Anybody who has played in a U.S. Open realizes you can be 6 back with 1 round to go and still give yourself a chance of doing pretty good. As a target. I figured if I finished around even par, 1 over for the tournament after today's round, that would put me in good stead for the weekend.

Q. Speaking of antibiotics, have you had a chance to talk to Nick Price at all this week?

GREG NORMAN: I spoke with Nick Monday morning, yeah Monday morning before I left. He has got a severe sinus infection and he has had it for a couple of weeks. His sinuses were full of fluid. He lost his equilibrium a little bit; lost all his strength. He said he is 40% down on his strength. He knew if he came up here he wasn't going to play. He probably would have made himself even sicker; maybe would have gotten walking pneumonia if it gets down in your lungs. He is obviously disappointed about it. He is out of action for at least another two weeks, I mean, this week and next week. So it will be two more weeks before he can get up and feel like he is in full strength.

Q. We recently saw Tom Watson win. Why are golfers so resilient after disappointment, frustrations?

GREG NORMAN: I guess that is because we love the game. We enjoy playing the game and what the game gives us, whether it gives you good or whether it gives you bad. You can see that with Tom. Tom has been a great performer over the years. To him, it probably didn't feel like nine years. I bet you when Tom, walking down the 18th hole, he probably said to himself, my God, I can't believe it has been nine years, how come it has taken this long. It is just that we enjoy playing the game so much. And I think that is why. What happens is in the past is no indication of what is going to happen in the future. You just get on get back onto the horse or your bike, whatever you want to call it, you just keep going. You know, if you do it enough, strong enough in your ability to do the things like Tom has done and do the things like I have done, we are both winners, so you know you are going to win again. Simple as that. Because we both love to play the game.

Q. Do you come in here with a specific strategy for this course, for Oakland Hills, and if so how, would it differ from Shinnecock last year?

GREG NORMAN: Strategy pretty much the same as Shinnecock. Hit fairways and hit greens. Shinnecock was more difficult last year because you had a very heavy cold ocean breeze blowing. Here the fairway is a little bit softer; the greens are little bit softer, but you still, one thing in mind, you got to hit fairways; you got to hit greens.

Q. You have been asked this so much from the Masters, but you come in here; people ask you what your feelings are; you don't play real well yesterday. You come in and have a superb round today. Does this sort of say, hey, I knew I could do it?

GREG NORMAN: Well, I knew I could do it. That doesn't come into my equation. I am not out there to prove anybody wrong. I am not out there to do anything along those lines. I just go out there to play. I cherish the opportunity of trying to win any golf tournament I play in. This week is no different than last week and no different than what it will be like in a couple of weeks when I go play in Hartford. So you know, it is just a matter of -- it is not proving to anybody. It is a matter of going out there and love to do what I do.

LES UNGER: Thanks.

End of FastScripts....

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