Definitions

Gregory John Norman

Greg Norman

Greg Norman

Personal Information
Birth
Mount Isa, Queensland
Nationality Australia
Wife Laura (married 1981, divorced 2007), Chris Evert (married June 28, 2008)
Children Morgan Leigh, and Gregory
Residence Hobe Sound, Florida
Career
Turned Pro 1974
Current Tour PGA Tour
Professional wins 87 (PGA Tour: 20, European Tour: 14, PGA Tour of Australasia: 33, Other: 22)
Best Results in Major Championships
Wins: 2
Masters 2nd/T2: 1986, 1987, 1996
U.S. Open 2nd: 1984, 1995
The Open Championship Won 1986, 1993
PGA Championship 2nd: 1986, 1993
Awards
PGA Tour of Australia
Order of Merit Winner
1978, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988
PGA Tour
Money Winner
1986, 1990, 1995
PGA Player of the Year 1995
PGA Tour
Player of the Year
1995
Vardon Trophy 1989, 1990, 1994
Byron Nelson Award 1988, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995
GCSAA Old Tom Morris Award 2008
GWAA Charlie Bartlett Award 2008

Gregory John Norman AM (born 10 February 1955) is an Australian professional golfer and entrepreneur who spent 331 weeks as the world's number one ranked golfer in the 1980s and 1990s. He is nicknamed "The Great White Shark," or simply "The Shark," a reference to a shark inhabiting Australian waters as well as Norman's blond hair, size and aggressive golf style.

Career outline

Norman was born in Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia to Merv and Toini Norman. His mother was of Finnish descent. As a youth, he played rugby and cricket and was a keen surfer. His mother was a fine golfer with a single-figure handicap. Norman began playing golf at 16 and within a year was playing to a scratch handicap. His professional career began as Charlie Earp's trainee in the Royal Queensland Golf Club pro shop, earning $A28 a week. The first professional tournament he won was the 1976 West Lakes Classic at The Grange in Adelaide, South Australia.

Success on the European Tour and later the PGA Tour followed. Norman won The Open Championship twice, in 1986 and 1993, and also won The Players Championship in 1994 in record-setting fashion (averaging 68.81 per round for the year). Despite his huge success on the U.S. PGA Tour and his many wins around the world, Norman is sometimes regarded as an underachiever (given his talents), a characterization fueled by his myriad near-misses in The Masters, the U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship. He was equally a victim of his own bad luck and good luck on the part of his fellow golfers in major championships. He infamously lost a near-certain PGA Championship in 1986 after Bob Tway holed a greenside bunker shot (though Norman himself shot a 76 that day), and lost The Masters the following year in a playoff on an even more miraculous 45-yard chip shot by Larry Mize on the second play-off hole. In 1989, Norman played brilliantly in a final-round 64 to force his way into a playoff for the Open Championship, but on the final hole of the playoff (while leading) drove the ball into a fairway bunker that he thought was out of reach even for his prodigious driving length, and was unable to rescue himself, allowing Mark Calcavecchia to snatch victory; and in the 1993 PGA Championship he had a final green putt of around twelve feet for victory that lipped right around the hole and failed to drop, and lost the subsequent playoff to Paul Azinger.

In 1986, he led all four majors after the third round but won only The Open. This has been referred to as the "Norman Slam" or the "Saturday Slam," as he was leading after the third round on Saturday but lost in the final round on Sunday. He is one of only two players to have competed in - and, like Craig Wood, to have lost - play-offs in all four of the major championships. Perhaps the worst meltdown occurred at The Masters in 1996, where he blew a six-stroke lead in the final round and lost the tournament to Nick Faldo by five strokes, shooting a Sunday 78 to Faldo's 67. ESPN, as part of their "ESPN25" 25th-anniversary celebration, ranked Norman's 1996 Masters mishap as the third-biggest sports choke of the last 25 years. Despite the losses, though, Norman still has 30 top-ten finishes in the majors.

After a career slump in the early 1990s, Norman turned to Butch Harmon for help. Together, the two rebuilt Norman's game to top form (The Pro, by Claude 'Butch' Harmon Jr., 2006) by solving mechanical problems that had crept into Norman's swing.

With Jack Nicklaus past his best, Norman was regarded as probably the game's greatest long hitter. In his heyday, driving long and incredibly straight off the tee similar to that of Nick Price his contemporary with a persimmon (wood) clubhead, he intimidated most of his fellow professionals. However, with the advent of the "metal-wood" by TaylorMade and other subsequent advances in golf ball and golf club technology (especially the variable face depth driver), his dominance was significantly diminished, as the "new technology" enabled less precise ball-strikers to achieve equal or better accuracy and distance. Whether the cause was shaken confidence, the new technology, or the emergence of golf's next generation of young stars (including Tiger Woods), Norman was never the same after his final Masters collapse.

Since then he has focused more and more on business ventures and golf course design than on competitive play. He turned 50 in February 2005, but has kept his distance from the senior golf circuit. Partly this is because of his other interests, but also because of back and knee injuries. (He required knee surgery for the latter in October 2005 and February 2006.) Norman believes his back injuries could have been averted had he been introduced to the concept of golf fitness early in his career.

Articulate and with a friendly image, Norman has for years been a spokesman for companies including General Motors-Holden, which developed a Commodore model named after him. His own businesses interests include MacGregor Golf and Greg Norman Golf Course Design. He continues to play tournaments, his growing business interests take up an increasing amount of his time. His personal wealth is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars.

Norman's hobbies include offshore game fishing. He has owned a succession of increasingly large and luxurious boats (though his latest, called Aussie Rules, after the sport Australian rules football, may best be described as a small ship) for the purpose. He even described his "ugly" 1993 PGA Championship loss "[i]n fishing terms, this was a mackerel in the moonlight—shining one minute, smelly the next. He became a wine lover in the 1970s while playing at tournaments in Europe. During Norman's first trip to the United States in 1976, when he was chosen to represent Australia in the World Cup of Golf in Palm Springs, he soaked up as much of the culture as he could, including trying California's wines. In the 1990's, Norman partnered with winemakers from Berringer Blass to launch Greg Norman Estates wineries. Based in Hobe Sound, Florida, he typically plays only one or two tournaments per year in his homeland of Australia.

Norman won the PGA Tour of Australia's Order of Merit six times: 1978, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1986, and 1988. He won the European Tour's Order of Merit in 1982, and topped the PGA Tour's Money List in 1986, 1990, and 1995. He won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average on the PGA Tour three times: 1989, 1990, and 1994; and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001. His dominance over his peers (despite his comparative lack of success in the majors) was probably best expressed in the Official World Golf Rankings: Norman finished the season on top of the ranking list on seven occasions, in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996 and 1997, and was second at the end of 1988, 1993 and 1994.

In May 2008, Norman played in only his third Champion's Tour event since turning 50, the 69th Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club. Norman, having not played competitive golf regularly in the last several years, stayed in contention all week and wound up three shots behind eventual winner Jay Haas (+7), tying for sixth place. His new wife (as of 6/28/2008), tennis legend Chris Evert, has been a large part of Norman's consideration to enter events on the PGA and Champions tour. "I would doubt he'd go back full time," Evert said. "But for him to keep it up, one or two tournaments a month or whatever, would be great. I would 100 per cent support him if that's what he wanted to do."

In July 2008, despite not playing in a major for three years, Norman finished nine over par in a tie for third at The Open Championship after being the 54 hole leader by two strokes. He set the record in becoming the oldest 54-hole leader in a major championship and earned an automatic bid to the 2009 Masters. The following two weeks, Norman continued his strong play, finishing in a tie for fifth at The Senior Open Championship after a weekend 67-68 and fourth in the U.S. Senior Open after being the only player shooting 72 or lower all four days.

In 1986, Norman was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award, a feat he replicated in 1993 to join Muhammad Ali and Björn Borg as multiple winners (They have since been joined by Roger Federer). He received the 2008 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA's highest honor, at the 2008 Golf Industry Show in Orlando. Norman is a member of The Environmental Institute for Golf's board of trustees and also chairs The Institute's advisory council. He was the also the recipient of the Golf Writers Association of America's 2008 Charlie Bartlett Award.

Personal life

Norman attended Aspley State High School on the north side of Brisbane, Queensland. He married Laura Andrassy, an American flight attendant, on 1 July 1981. They have two children: Morgan Leigh, and Gregory. The family lived in Hobe Sound, Florida.

On March 15, 1997, then U.S. president Bill Clinton fell down a flight of stairs at Norman's Florida home, tearing knee tendons which required surgery.

In May 2006, Norman announced he and his wife would divorce. He refused to comment on the reasons for this, other than to say there was no third party involved.

In September 2007, Norman announced he and former tennis champion Chris Evert would be married. Evert was married twice, to British tennis player John Lloyd (1979-87) and former American ski racer Andy Mill (1988–2006), with whom she has three sons. The couple became engaged on 9 December 2007 and on 28 June 2008 were married in the Bahamas. Mill went on record as saying he wished Evert and Norman happiness.

While married to Laura, Norman commissioned the 228ft luxury yacht "Aussie Rules", built by the Australian ferry builder Austal/Oceanfast. The boat held four sports boats, including a 60ft custom sportfisherman, along with stowage for related gear: 200 rods. Built of aluminium, she cruised at 15 knots with a range of 8,000 miles. The boat cost $70 million, but resulted in Austal making an AUS$18 million loss. The boat was quickly sold by Norman in 2004 for a rumored $77 million to the founder of Blockbuster Video, Wayne Huizenga. She is now renamed M/Y Floridian, and available for charter at $400 000 per week or sale.

Norman was also an early customer for the Boeing Business Jet, which he had ordered with custom fitted bedroom and office. However, the downturn in the Asian markets adversely affected his golf course design business, and he later cancelled the order after acting as an ambassador for Boeing. He eventually retained his Gulfstream V.

Major Championships

Wins (2)

Year Championship 54 Holes Winning Score Margin Runners Up
1986 The Open Championship 1 shot lead E (74-63-74-69=280) 5 strokes Gordon J. Brand
1993 The Open Championship (2) 1 shot deficit -13 (66-68-69-64=267) 2 strokes Nick Faldo

Results timeline

Tournament 1977 1978 1979
The Masters DNP DNP DNP
U.S. Open DNP DNP T48
The Open Championship CUT T29 T10
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP

Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
The Masters DNP 4 T36 T30 T25 T47 T2 T2 T5 T3
U.S. Open DNP T33 DNP T50 2 T15 T12 T51 WD T33
The Open Championship CUT T31 T27 T19 T6 T16 1 T35 DNP T2
PGA Championship DNP T4 T5 T42 T39 CUT 2 70 T9 T12

Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
The Masters CUT CUT T6 T31 T18 T3 2 CUT CUT 3
U.S. Open T5 WD DNP CUT T6 2 T10 CUT DNP CUT
The Open Championship T6 T9 18 1 T11 T15 T7 T36 DNP 6
PGA Championship T19 T32 T15 2 T4 T20 T17 T13 DNP CUT

Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
The Masters T11 CUT T36 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
U.S. Open CUT DNP T59 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship DNP DNP T18 T18 CUT T60 DNP DNP T3
PGA Championship CUT T29 T53 CUT DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

DNP = Did not play
WD = Withdrew
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.

Summary of major championship performances

  • Starts - 89
  • Wins - 2
  • 2nd place finishes - 8
  • Top 3 finishes - 14
  • Top 5 finishes - 20
  • Top 10 finishes - 30
  • Longest streak of top-10s in majors - 3

Professional wins (87)

PGA Tour wins (20)

Major championships are shown in bold.

European Tour wins (14)

Wins in Australia (33)

Other wins (22)

Team appearances

See also

References

External links

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