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Greg Norman winding down playing days

Greg Norman, making a rare European Tour appearance in this week's Dubai Desert Classic, no longer has the desire for regular tournament golf.

"I don't have the motivation I used to," the 51-year-old Australian told reporters on the eve of the $2.4 million competition in the United Arab Emirates. "I don't have the motivation to go out there and practice 10 hours a day.

"Like Ernie Els, who walks off the 18th green after the pro-am event, goes off to the driving range and hits more balls. That's what you need to do and I have no interest in doing that."

Norman may once have topped the world rankings but these days he gets his kicks from his myriad of business activities, especially his course design work.

"My golf course design, of all I do, I enjoy doing that most," he said.

"It's very hands-on, you can fly in, fly out, do three or four different projects over three or four days and go home for the weekend."

Norman has been coming to the Middle East for several years and said the Dubai Classic had grown rapidly in size and importance.

"To see the growth of this tournament to where it is today and where it came from is phenomenal," he said. "It is a mirror image of what's going on with the new high-rise buildings around here.

"A lot of people really don't pay much attention to how big Dubai really is, and the other countries around here. It's great for the whole world because you're seeing things happening maybe you don't see anywhere else in the world except Shanghai."

Earlier this week, Norman announced he was joining forces with world number 11 Sergio Garcia and top international course designer Pete Dye to create a new links-style layout in Dubai.

He said the city was a perfect example of golf being in tune with the local economy.

"Normally golf course design is a very good barometer to what's happening to the economy," said Norman.

"Just look at here in Dubai. Golf has been the barometer and been in sync with what's happened here with this growth."

February 1, 2007


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