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June 17, 1995

Greg Norman


LES UNGER: Somebody was keeping track as we watched the television set. I am not sure how many, but you had a number of spectacular chip shots today that kept yourself going.

GREG NORMAN: That is part of the game as well. People forget that, you know, you have got -- you have got a very, very difficult golf course out here. I guarantee you, unless you play the golf course today commentators, you people, the spectators, have got no idea how difficult Shinnecock played today. I have been searching my mind in talking interviews back there, when is the last time I have had such trying and difficult conditions, I really can't remember a day. I can't remember ever seeing such great players humble as what I saw out there with Jumbo and myself. But that is just a credit to the golf course. This is a U.S. Open. You have to -- you are going to hit shots like I have said at the start of the week that you thought were good shots, but you are going to have to work hard to save your par; that is what I did today. It was part of the job. I hit a lot of good shots out there today, but ended up looking like where they finished liked - like it was a 15 handicap par. Part of the game you need to rely on to get yourself finished today is your chipping and your putting. I relied on that today and it worked. It kept me in the position and tied for the lead; gave myself a chance to win my first U.S. Open.

Q. The scoring average today was like 4 quarter strokes overpar; not quite as bad as '92 in Pebble, but under a bit more docile conditions. Is there anyway of comparing how difficult it was today to that day three years ago? Obviously under different conditions.

GREG NORMAN: I didn't play then. So I couldn't answer.

Q. Can you explain your strategy on No. 10 hitting the 3-wood off the tee? A lot of players were using 1-iron; second part question is, how pivotal was the putt on 11 to hold par?

GREG NORMAN: The 10th hole I think where the pin was and I didn't want to put myself way back with 185 yards with the cross wind right to left. Yeah, hindsight, I would like to have hit the driver the other way - fairway and hit a sand wedge on the green, but I did not hit a good driver there. I pulled it and paid the consequences, but, you know, the putt on 11, you know, again I hit an 8-iron. I thought I hit a fairly good shot and I ended up there and that was just one of the great saves of the day. I mean, that was the toughest putt I had all day and I had needed to make it. That was a clutch.

Q. Can you compare the satisfaction of sticking in there today with perhaps shooting so much under par in a tournament like the Players Championship?

GREG NORMAN: Well, I think today was -- I mean, I think I am proud of myself. I am sure there is a lot of guys out there who can say the same too who hung in there and did what they had to do. Today was a day that really tested your character and your intestinal fortitude; what did you really want and we all wanted to be there with the chance to win the tournament tomorrow. And if you don't have the strong sense of awareness about yourself and your character is not strong enough; then you won't put yourself there for tomorrow; you could have easily have done with Jumbo did today. It is unfortunate that he let it go - not that he wasn't trying, but there is certain times when you need to deep down a little bit deeper. Today shooting 74 was sometimes an equivalent of shooting 62 and today was one of those days. And you know, I sit here still thinking about the way the day went and I actually enjoyed it, believe it or not, because it really gives you -- kind of like almost finishes off your learning curve about the game of golf and about yourself and I was happy to be in the position that I could learn a little bit more about myself and understand myself. This is a major championship. This is a U.S. Open. It is a tough golf course; one of the great golf courses in the world and I learned a lot about myself today and over the last couple of days and hopefully it will take me on for many more years in my career.

Q. Under any conditions it is hard for you to back off from anything. Will you come to the course with any particular strategy tomorrow knowing what holes you can or cannot charge or just how -- what you -- whether you are going to charge or just be conservative or takes what breaks?

GREG NORMAN: I think the golf course is going to stay the same. I don't think there is going to be any change in it. Obviously we will have different pin positions. Right now you can't play this golf course aggressively. We couldn't today, anyway. There was only one shot that I hit all day today which was directly downwind; that was 14. Every other shot that we played today was either left to right or right to left, or downwind or into wind. You could never get a good balance on your golf swing. That is the test of this golf course. So tomorrow, I honestly hope the weather conditions stay the same. I really do. I'd like to see this golf course because we know how it played today and as the day got older, the golf course got tougher to play.

Q. Greg, some of the boys were saying that because of the way the wind was blowing drying out the greens were starting to get -- affecting the roll of the ball and the greens; you made like seven or eight great saves for par today. Was there ever a time you were actually putting defensively?

GREG NORMAN: Yeah, 18. I mean, I had a 4 footer or five footer on 18. I absolutely knew if I just started that ball and hit it solid and if it didn't go in I was going to have a 4, five footer coming back. So what do you do? You want to make it. But you don't want to dribble it down there and finish it next to the hole, so you just trust your intuition and say I am going to try to make this putt, but you also know what the consequences are going to be if you miss. Many situations out on this golf course like that. You got to understand these greens are poa annua. They are mixed with bent and poa annua. The poa annua grass is quicker than the bentgrass in the day. As the day gets older the Poa is a little bit higher so the ball doesn't really track as nice as you want because -- it is dried out to so the bent lays a little flatter and Poa goes up. That is just part of the test.

Q. Your 74 was an equivalent of 62. What was Lehman's 67?

GREG NORMAN: He shot 59.

Q. Phil Mickelson was saying that if they don't at least put a little bit of water on the greens, it is going to be a joke out there tomorrow. What would you like to see?

GREG NORMAN: Well, I don't think anybody wants to see it as a joke. It will just depend on where the pin positions go. I know, for example, the 7 hole today when we got to that hole, that was right on the border you know, because you are trying to manufacture a shot in there just to finish it on the putting surface and if you miss the green you are still trying to manufacturer something to finish on the putting surface. That one was extremely difficult. It probably wasn't as difficult for the first couple of hours of play this morning because it was moisture in the green, but that is what you get. That is what you get if you are going to be in contention at the end of the day of a U.S. Open you are going to have the more adverse conditions to deal with.

Q. Greg, following up on that, could playing earlier give you an advantage that could be big enough before the wind gets too much and the course dries up?

GREG NORMAN: Possibility. The possibility is there. We have seen Johnny Miller come in Oakmont shot 63 there; stayed in the clubhouse, what, two and a half hours or two hours while the rest of the guys played. It is all going to depend on what happens with the weather conditions in the morning. If the weather conditions are still blowing in the morning, then I think the guys -- I think there was only 3 guys who broke par today. You are talking about 60 guys made the cut, that is -- how many?

Q. 73.


Q. After the PGA last year you said you thought your putting would probably cost you. Two part, can you remember having putted better on a day like today and what, if anything, have you done since last year to get back to this stage?

GREG NORMAN: Under pressure, I probably haven't putted as well for many pars as I did today. But I really haven't changed anything in my stroke. I have kept working on my stroke. I think it is just one of those deals where some weeks you get the feel for it and some weeks you don't. I think with a day like today, I had a good feel for the speed of the green. Even though a couple uphill putts I left them short, but I felt comfortable on the greens. I didn't feel uneasy at any stage. That is just one when you feel that way, you just pick your line and go ahead and hit the ball and stroke the ball, and like today, it went in.

Q. Would you quickly summarize what you felt were the best of your many saves?

GREG NORMAN: The best of what?

Q. Best of your many saves?

GREG NORMAN: I mean, you can go from probably the first hole the 11th hole, 14, those are probably 3 of them that are pretty good.

Q. If your short game hadn't been on, what might you have shot if you didn't get going at the beginning --

GREG NORMAN: Oh, I don't know. I don't even want to think about it.

Q. When you have been scrabbling for the first 5, 6 holes and making pars, are you thinking that is the way it is going to be all day, or are you thinking you are going to come around and how difficult does it become to trust your swing in these conditions and --

GREG NORMAN: Well, I think I thought when I got it up-and-down on 8 even though that wasn't a difficult chip, I thought, okay, that is good. We have worked hard for the first 8 holes; now we got to get to the ninth hole and I thought that -- then I was okay. Because I hit a great drive down 9 and good iron and really the only bad shot I hit after that I think, was probably my tee shot on 10. That I felt was bad. Everything else, I hit solid. I hit it where I was looking. You know, so I really got myself back on track with my swing. You really don't -- didn't have any reason to lose confidence in my swing today because I really didn't do too much wrong to lose confidence in my swing, because the golf course just played difficult, you know, I hit a lot of good shots. I thought even my shot into 2, I thought I hit a pretty good shot there, but got away from me. So there wasn't any reason for me to say, hey, you know, you are going to lose little bit of confidence in your game; I am not that type of player. I trust myself on every swing.

Q. Greg, a lot of people were following your game around today. I think it's fair to say you are one of the fan's favorites. Does that play as advantage or disadvantage?

GREG NORMAN: Oh, I think -- I mean, I enjoy it to know you got that many fans out there. It feels great when you are walking from the green to the tee getting ready for the next shot. To have that much support is an advantage. I think it is good. It is good for -- it's a good feeling when you know you got a lot of people out there pulling for you.

Q. Can you talk about a little bit about the putt on 16?

GREG NORMAN: First one or the second one?

Q. Both.

GREG NORMAN: I actually thought that it was going extremely -- I hit the first putt exactly like I thought I was going to hit it but I hit it 4 feet too soft. Second putt, I hit it where I was looking, but it just didn't break. One of those deals where I couldn't get upset with myself or doing it. I just misread the speed of the green. It ran back uphill on the first putt a little bit more than I thought. You know, that was -- so I walked onto next tee; just say, hey, don't worry about it. You thought you did the right thing, but you might walk off with a bogey.

Q. Somebody gets out early and does post a number; you come into the back 9 down a stroke or two, who holes did you change strategy and force the issue?

GREG NORMAN: I mean, I have never been a strategy player. I don't go to a golf course with a game plan. Because your game plan can change dramatically in two to three holes if the weather conditions change. I have always been a believer play each shot as it comes. When you walk onto that next tee, that is really the first shot of the tournament; you have to worry about because everything else is in the past. I can't worry about what I did, so I can't really change my strategy because my strategy is as each shot presents itself. You can't push the issue around this golf course under these conditions. You really can't. You just have to know that you got to play within your ability. If I am two shots back coming into the last couple of holes, hopefully, I'd like to play 18 like I did today, you know, and finish it off, that is a good thing to have for me now because I hit two great shots at 18 today, so tomorrow, I will use that to my advantage. So I mean, all I can say is wait and see what is presented and how I play.

Q. We want the card.

GREG NORMAN: First hole hit driver right fairway bunker. Pitching wedge into the right fringe. Chipped it down about 20 feet, 1-putted. I have to go through hole by hole?

Q. Please.

GREG NORMAN: 2nd hole 4-iron into the right fringe. Chipped it down to about 4 feet. 4th hole 3-wood left rough. 7-iron just short of green; chipped it onto about three feet. 6th hole driver right rough, 6-iron just short of the green. Chipped it onto about 12 feet holed that. 7, 5-iron short of the green. Chipped it long, chipped it back to about a foot. 8, hit driver 8-iron just left of the green chipped it down to about six inches. 10, hit driver left rough sand wedge on the green -- sand wedge out of the rough. Sand wedge to the green. I guess it spun back off the green. Chipped it up; 2-putted from about 10 feet. 11, iron right bunker, came out to about seven feet; 1-putted. 12 drive 9-iron, chipped it to about six inches. 13 hit driver 8-iron, just off the back edge. Chipped it to about 9 inches. 14, hit 3-wood pitching wedge, over the green, chipped it to about six inches. 16, hit driver, two iron 9-iron 3-putted. 17, iron left bunker, bunker shot to about 12 feet 1-putted. That was it.

End of FastScripts....

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