June 15, 1995
SOUTHAMPTON, NEW YORK
LES UNGER: Greg Norman, 68 today. Greg, give us the birdies
please and any par saves. I believe this was a bogey free day,
GREG NORMAN: That's correct. 5th hole, par 5 hit driver, 3-wood
to the front edge of the green; chipped it to about 2 feet, 1-putted.
The 13th hole, I hit 3-wood, 9-iron to about 15 feet 1-putted.
I saved par on the 11th hole; hit an 8-iron just short of the
green. Chipped it up to about 6 feet and holed it. 12th hole,
hit driver in the right rough. 5-iron right to the green. Chipped
it down to about 5 feet. 1-putted that. And then 18, driver
right fringe, 4-iron on the fringe short, chip it up to about
2 feet. That was basically it.
LES UNGER: Greg, if the records are correct, this is the
best first round you have ever shot. 70 was the best previous
GREG NORMAN: That is good. I don't keep stats in my head. I
am very happy with it. You know, you can go out there; you can
play yourself out The Championship in the first round by shooting
a high score, but you can't win the tournament in the first round.
I went out there today with that philosophy and attitude, very
patient, and very controlled and when I did hit a poor shot, I
relied on my short game which you need to do. It's a U.S. Open.
You are not going to hit every green and every fairway. I mean,
you have just got to understand that you got to work on your short
game. I did that. I did everything right that I needed to do
right today. I am very happy.
LES UNGER: Questions.
Q. Greg, you didn't seem to get full value of good shot
making in the front 9. You were pretty close to a lot of those
birdie putts, but couldn't make one fall --
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, that was another save I made. I didn't go
around kind of like rounded the day out. I did play some very
good iron shots, very crisp ones. I hit the ball the right distance
today which you need to do. But, you know, I would like to have
made a couple of more, then again, I really -- I think the overall
day was just a nice rounded out day. I saved a couple of good
pars and I missed a couple of birdies - give and take.
Q. Greg, is this the kind of golf course that will try your
patience a little bit?
GREG NORMAN: I think any U.S. Open golf course will try your
patience. Shinnecock is no different. Shinnecock is a very difficult
golf course to play off the tee because the fairways got so much
movement in them. You can't really get a clear perception of
depth where you want the ball to finish. That is a very difficult
task and that is what makes it a great golf course. That is what
Links golf courses are all about. That is when you go to St.
Andrews and you get the same type of feeling off some of the tees.
The more you play around here, I guess, the better the angles
you get to know.
Q. Along the same lines, what do you look for this weekend
assuming there is no more rain; the greens will get harder and
tougher; what kind of scores?
GREG NORMAN: I think the scores will pretty much stay around
what they are doing right now. You are going to get the guys
who go out there and obviously I didn't see what Nick did today,
but obviously he putted well which you need to. He probably made
a couple of makeable ones, couple of 30, 40 footers. I think
overall you got -- don't think the fairways will get any firmer.
I think they will keep the moisture because there is a lot of
grass on them. The greens will definitely get firmer. They will
get definitely faster. This afternoon they weren't as quick as
I thought they might be, but there was a lot of moisture still
in the green spinning a few iron shots back. So, I think that
is what is going to change the most over the next three days.
Q. Given the good conditions today, are you surprised there
weren't more sub-par scores?
GREG NORMAN: No, because the golf course is so penalizing. I
mean, the USGA did a great job giving us a lot of room to hit
to. They have given us width in the fairways, but the fairways
got a lot of carry, but then again, they haven't given us a lot
of width when the fairways don't have a lot of carry, so you have
to still drive the ball exceptionally straight. That is what
is happening. Nobody is going to go out there and hit every tee
shot perfect. You are going to mishit one every now and then.
It just depends how you finish up. That is why I think you may
find the scores pretty much what they are doing. If it rains,
someone might do a 65 or 64, that low, but if it stays the way
it is, 66 is a fine, fine score.
Q. Greg, when a player of Nick's stature puts up a 66 right
away, does that put a different kind of pressure or is it because
it is the first round it doesn't matter who it is; it is still
a long way?
GREG NORMAN: Somebody is always going to shoot a 66 in the first
round of any championship. And when somebody does do that, obviously
a good player like Nick, you know, you have got to -- especially
when he tees off early and you are teeing off 2 o'clock in the
afternoon, you know you want to give yourself a chance of staying
around there and it also gives you the opportunity of saying,
well, obviously the golf course is there to be had if you play
good because you see a score like that from a good player and
obviously, Nick played good today, but so could other players
play good and shoot 66 as well. So it gives you that little bit
of confidence as well.
LES UNGER: Did you think you made your chip on 18? It looked
like you expected it to continue rolling.
GREG NORMAN: I didn't expect it to finish two feet short. There
is just so much pitch to that green that it is very slow and the
grass has grown during the day.
Q. Did you do the workout this morning? Was this a workout
GREG NORMAN: Yeah, I did.
Q. About how many pins did you go at and how many pins did
you stay away from?
GREG NORMAN: Probably 18. (laughter) I really don't remember
-- probably 17 was the only one where I aimed 20 feet right at
the hole and if I hooked it, I hooked it and it would have been
fine if I hit it straight, that was fine. I didn't take dead
aim at the flag if that is what you mean. The rest of them I
Q. Par fours, tees, or irons?
GREG NORMAN: I never hit an iron off the tee, but I hit probably
50/50 with iron and 3-woods.
Q. I think you said earlier in the week a perfect 10 for
your game would be to play 72 holes without a bogey, you are
quarter of the way there. Is it possible to play 72 holes out
there without a bogey?
GREG NORMAN: I'd love to say that. Anything is possible. Anything
is possible, you know, if you play good enough. TPC was a tough
golf course and I just made one mistake there for one bogey.
So, yeah, I would think anybody -- if you believe you can do it,
you can do it. But it is a tough golf course. I am not going
to be thinking about going out there and playing 72 holes without
a bogey. That would be the last thing that I would have in my
mind right now.
LES UNGER: Thank you.
GREG NORMAN: Thank you.
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