Date: July 16, 2009
Author: PA Sport

Norman not expecting low scores

Greg Norman simply does not know if he can repeat last year&aposs Open heroics, but he is certain no-one will match his 63 at Turnberry in 1986. At the age of 53, Norman amazingly led by two shots going into the final round at Birkdale 12 months ago, before eventually finishing third behind Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter. The former world No.1 won his first Open at Turnberry 23 years ago, carding a second round of 63 in bad weather which Jose Maria Olazabal described as &aposout of this world&apos. But even with the advances in technology and equipment, the Australian does not believe that score – still the joint lowest in major championship history – will be matched this week. “If you go back there&aposs very few scores in the low to mid-60s on this golf course, except in 1977 with Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus (the famous &aposDuel in the Sun&apos) and the golf course was in very accessible condition then,” he said. “But of the other Opens around here, there haven&apost been too many low scores and I don&apost see it this week either. You only have to venture off the fairway nine feet, 10 feet, and you might lose your ball.” “And I think that&aposs an indication not too many drivers are going to be used. There are going to be a lot of long irons into some of these greens, from anywhere between 160, 190, 200 yards, so to attack the flags when they start putting them behind these bunkers is going to be tough as well.” Twelve months ago Norman was treating the Open as part of an extended honeymoon with new wife Chris Evert, and a lack of any expectations no doubt helped his unlikely performance throughout the week. But the 54-year-old has no idea if he is capable of recreating that level of performance once again after limited preparation. “I don&apost know, to tell you the honest truth,” Norman added. “I wish I could sit here and say yes or no. It&aposs not just the fact that I don&apost feel good about myself or my game, it&aposs just that I don&apost know.” “This year I spent a little bit more time practising in Florida, where it was 98 degrees and 98 percent humidity and no wind. You go through about eight gloves in a practice session.” “So I came over to Ireland, went to Doonbeg and stayed there for a couple of days and it was miserable weather, blowing about 30mph and raining so I didn&apost do much practice there.” “So it&aposs similar preparation to last year, but in a different location.”