Greg Norman Interview (R4) - The Open
BY iseekgolf.com | European PGA Tour | 2008 British Open | Round Four | 21 Jul 2008
Q: Give us your overall thoughts, please.
Greg Norman: Obviously I’m disappointed. That would be an understatement if I didn’t say I was disappointed. But it was a tough day today. I thought I got off to a pretty good start even though I was 3-over after three because the conditions were tough. It goes to show you, you’ve still got to play well. Padraig played greatly today. Even though he tried to let it get away in the middle of the round, he came back and performed beautifully and finished like a true Open Champion.
I can walk away from here being disappointed, but I can walk away from here with my head held high because I hung in there. It looked like it was going to get away from me and I got a couple of unfortunate lip-outs. Maybe if on 11 and 12 if they lip in instead of lip out it’s a totally different score. It wasn’t meant to be, and you’ve got to take that with a grain of salt.
Greg Norman: Toughest thing today? Shooting 77. That’s probably the toughest thing. But I think the wind moved a little bit more around to the north northwest and became a little more awkward. The first couple of shots we played out there were shots we hadn’t played before. But again, the R & A did a great job of setting up the golf course and made it playable for us. 10 was still tough even though we played it short.
Q: You’ve had your share of well-documented disappointments over the years. Because of your expectations coming in, how different is this for you than some of the other things?
Greg Norman: I can stand here now and say, yeah, I’m disappointed. Where does it rank in those, probably not as high as some of the other ones. Quite honestly, I’m sure I surprised a lot of people. But at the same time, immediately I think about it now, what happens if I won. What happens if I won, then I might have had to be out here playing more golf, and maybe that’s what I didn’t want to do anyway. And that shouldn’t be any excuse for it.
But it is disappointing, no question. It would have been a tough, hard battle today to shoot around—what did Padraig shoot? 69 today? I would have had to shoot 71, and it would have been a tough 71 for me to shoot today.
Greg Norman: Yeah, somebody just told me that. Time out, okay? I’ve got a lot of water to go over the dam to get to that, but I’ve got to play next week and I’ve got a lot to look forward to. Hopefully Troon plays a little friendlier than this one.
Q: Despite your disappointment you must be happy with the way things worked out?
Greg Norman: Of course. It’s been a good week. I came in here with a good attitude and kind of like a fresh approach to life in general, and it’s really showed through in my game. Even though I got a high score today, it really didn’t feel like a high score. I felt like I played a little better than what my score indicated.
Q: A lot has been made this week of your new life. Has that made a big difference to what you did this week?
Greg Norman: Yeah, I’m very happy with my life. It’s balanced. It’s nice to have a balanced life. I don’t grind it out on the golf course anymore, I don’t practise, practise, practise to grind it to keep playing. I just play when I like to play and practise when I like to practise. I practise a lot with my son and go out there and enjoy teaching him how to play the game of golf. I’ve got a lot of other things to keep my interests.
Q: Did you have a good time out there?
Greg Norman: Today, no. The whole week I did, yes.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about Padraig’s victory today?
Greg Norman: Oh, very impressive. Like I said, he looked like it was trying to let it get away from him around 6, 8. I think the putt he made on 10 was probably the one that stabilised him a little bit. He had to make a four- or five-footer there, and it was blowing pretty hard and it held up a little bit, and I think that putt really probably settled him down a little bit.
I didn’t see his lies. Obviously he had hit it in the rough just like everybody else and he got some good breaks. But the way he finished, a true champion finishes that way, and he finished strong on these holes early in the week, and he finished strong today.
Q: Are you okay with just going back to being a wine guy or are you the golfer?
Greg Norman: Maybe I’m both now (laughter). No, I’m okay with everything right now.
Q: Does this mean you’re hungry to play again, do it again?
Greg Norman: No. Quite honestly, no. It still doesn’t fire me up to go out there and—I’m going to play the next two weeks, the Senior British Open and the Senior U.S. Open, and that’s it. I don’t plan on playing any more golf after that for a while. I don’t have anything on my schedule to do that. I have a lot of other work to do, so I’ll wake up tomorrow and in a couple weeks’ time when I finish playing we’ll see how I feel.
Q: When you kind of step back and look at today, do you as a competitor think to yourself I’ve got to close out a two-shot lead going into the final round or do you look at Paddy’s 69 and take it that way?
Greg Norman: When I came to the first tee today I never even thought about having a two-shot lead. I just went about it knowing it was going to be a tough day and played my own game and stayed focused on that. I really didn’t even think about where I was until I got to about the 13th, 14th hole. I knew then if I wanted to keep in touch I had to think about where I was, and some of the shots I had to play.
I really didn’t get on the first tee thinking about a two-shot lead.
Greg Norman: I was nervous walking to the first tee, but it was a good nervous. I hit a very good tee shot off the first hole, hit a good second shot on the first hole. You need to get off to a good, solid, rhythmical start. I didn’t, and it’s pretty hard if you haven’t played a lot of golf to really regroup with yourself and get yourself back going again. I failed in that regard, and do I have to go and work on something? Not really, because I’m not planning on playing too much golf.
Greg Norman: Well, just the Australian fans have always been great. I love going back down to Australia, whether I’m playing golf or not playing golf. That’s my home land, that’s my country. It’s nice to know that we’re stimulating a little bit more interest down in Australia and maybe here in the UK and maybe other parts of the world.
I’ve said this before, I think at the end of the day, a lot of people should take stock no matter how old you are, if you really want to chase something and chase a dream, you can go do it. Even though there’s failure at the end of it for me, I still put myself in position to really show a lot of other people that you can go do something if you really want it.
Q: How strong is Australian golf at the moment?
Greg Norman: Very, very strong. I think the—we’ve got, like you say, 18, but there’s probably a good 30 or 40 players coming out of Australia right now that are very, very good players. I’d like to see some of our players step up to the plate. I’d love to see Adam be up there doing what Padraig is doing, I really do. I’d love to see Stuart Appleby and Robert Allenby, but we’re going to get those guys coming through doing that, there’s no question about it. When they do, then Australian golf will go to another level.
Q: How late in the round did you think you still had a chance?
Greg Norman: When I made the putt on 14.
Greg Norman: I made the comment in the pressroom a couple days ago that the only thing that would have been different was my shot-making ability. That would have been the only thing different. Even Judy Rankin said that watching me play, as she did for the last couple days on ABC television back in the States, that there wasn’t a whole lot wrong with my game. I’ve still got the components in there.
Q: You’ve been nominated captain of the Presidents Cup. What are you looking forward to in that regard?
Greg Norman: That’s a long way off yet. I’m looking forward to the Presidents Cup, obviously. It’s a new task for me. I’ve never been in that position before. I look forward to the camaraderie, I look forward to putting a team together, even though you only get two picks out of the 12. And I look forward to the event in general. But that’s quite a ways away, 16 months away. I think when 2009 comes around I’ll get a little bit more intense about it.
Source – Open Championship