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June 15, 1994

Greg Norman


LES UNGER: Greg Norman has just come off a practice round and we would like to ask him to assess the course as he has been playing it and then we will open it up for questions.

GREG NORMAN: Well, no question about it, the golf course is very difficult. In great conditions. It is going to be played very difficult this week, that is about as easy as I can put it I suppose.

Q. Greg, how was the preparation last weekend for -- first time you played there for awhile. Do you feel it has improved your chances from playing there or --

GREG NORMAN: Westchester?

Q. Yeah.

GREG NORMAN: Westchester is a good golf course to lead up. The greens were very quick last week, firm last week. Don't have anywhere near the undulation or severity of what we are going to have here at Oakmont. But all and all, it's a good preparation, good tournament to lead into.

Q. Greg, the last three years haven't been that good, U.S. Open at least. Have you done anything different this year?

GREG NORMAN: No, nothing at all. Just going in treating it like I would any other golf tournament. No, I just haven't played well in the U.S. Open last couple of years, that is all.

Q. Greg, did you have any birdies today?

GREG NORMAN: I had a couple of birdies, yeah. Got up to about six inches, yeah, I had a couple of birdies, yeah.

Q. Greg, in '83 the rough was so severe, I think you bailed out on the driver and hit a 1-iron, especially places like 12. How about this time with the driver?

GREG NORMAN: I think we will end up hitting the driver about four times, that is about it. Par 5 with a driver on fifth hole, is it? Fifth hole, the par 5.

Q. Fourth hole.

GREG NORMAN: Fourth hole. Okay. Hit a driver at the fourth hole, the 18th hole. I don't hit a driver on 12. I may hit a driver on 9, depends. So right now, there is two certainties for the driver and the rest -- 15th, I hit a driver. So three, possible four.

Q. Is the temperature to your liking or not?

GREG NORMAN: It is fine. Same for everybody. Reminds me of home. Reminds me of Florida. So, we play in the hot weather back in Australia, so it doesn't bother me.

Q. Greg, we heard a bit about your feeling a little tired. I think you said last week it is not really the ideal time of the year to be feeling that way. Can you comment about that and if you feel, this week, a bit refreshed?

GREG NORMAN: I still feel the mid-year blues. I am not playing very well. I can honestly admit that. On, a scale of 1 to 10, I put my game at about 4 and a half. Why that is? I don't know. It is just one of those years where you have a peak and trough every now and then. My game is just falling off the edge a little bit. I am not as sharp as I was a couple of weeks ago. Just got to go back harder and see if I can get it back.

Q. Greg, Nick Faldo said the other day he thought the course was the most difficult he had seen. Do you agree with that and why?

GREG NORMAN: Golf course is very difficult. First of all, the greens, a lot of them slope away from you. The greens are very firm. They are not taking a whole lot of spin. And they have got a lot of undulations, the ball continues to roll. From that perspective, it is very difficult to control the shots. It is very difficult to chip to a green. If you miss these greens, it is pure luck when you have a good chip shot or not. That is just because of the severity of the speed of the greens and the undulation of the greens. . I am sure when these greens were designed - I don't know when - they were designed for greens probably rolling at 6 and a half or 7; not 11 half to 13 like they are rolling now. So, that is the reason why it is extremely difficult. I remember when we played here in '83, the conditions were wet too, so the ball didn't get away from you. You can hold the greens fairly successfully. So he is right, it is an extremely difficult golf course.

Q. Have you had experience in the Church Pew bunker?

GREG NORMAN: Not yet. I don't want to have any either. I will keep away from those if I can. No, I have not hit them in there.

Q. Any particular parts of your game that have gone off and have you been working with Butch to rectify the problem?

GREG NORMAN: Well, I have been-- just overall my timing is not good, Andrew, my concentration is not good. I said that last week. Just overall, it has just gone off a little bit.

Q. What about Butch?

GREG NORMAN: Butch is here. Yeah, we will work this afternoon.

Q. Has he just come in?

GREG NORMAN: Yeah. I just saw him late yesterday afternoon. I got in late yesterday as well. We will do some work out there today.

Q. Greg, a major championship is supposed to be a test of how you use all the clubs in your bag and the fact that the U.S. Open really doesn't test the driver.

GREG NORMAN: I agree with you 100%. Of all our major championships we play, this is the only one where you might as well not bring a driver. And it seems like it is a redundant deal that that happens that way. I honestly believe that the way the golf course is set up that it takes six percent of your shot making ability away. That just seems like they do it every year that way. We say something and it gets worst next year.

Q. A lot of people call number one the toughest starting hole in golf. Your thoughts about the first hole?

GREG NORMAN: Well, I wouldn't call it a tough -- it is only tough because of the slope. I mean, other than that, it is a nothing hole. Designwise it is a nothing hole. All it is just straight down the hill; you got to land the ball about 20 yards short of the green; just hope it stops on the green. You can design a tough hole like that, too. There is not a lot of-- just cut the grass down low and make it difficult. That is the reason why it is tough. It is not a tough hole from pure shot making where you got to hit a good drive and you got to hit a perfect second shot to put the ball in the perfect position. You can hit a good shot there. You can hit a perfect 3-wood there and perfect 8-iron and go over the back edge of the green and stay there all day long trying to chip back; roll to you; chip back; roll to you. That is just the way it is.

Q. How did you play that hole today?

GREG NORMAN: Well, I hit a 3-wood in the left bunker, pitch and wedged out, pitch and wedged on and walked off at 6. So, there you go.

LES UNGER: Thank you. We appreciate you coming by.

GREG NORMAN: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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