Greg Norman and The Masters

My time to develop golfing heroes was the 1980’s – and two of my all-time favorites were Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman. I loved how fearlessly they both played and especially how well they played Augusta National. The first goal I had on my maiden trip to the Masters was finding Seve – to watch him swashbuckle his way through Amen Corner. Of course by then (2000), he was well past his prime and more about finding trouble than escaping it. However, in 2000, Greg Norman could still play. And for some of us, patiently holding out for Greg’s first green jacket, 2000 was his last good shot.

Yes, Tiger Woods was incredible by then – but still not the dominant figure in Majors that he is today. Sure, he had won the 1997 Masters and the 1999 PGA – but there were still some who thought David Duval was the best player in the world in 2000. So, Greg Norman had chances – or at least I hoped he had chances. You see, I knew about the Masters tradition of inviting past champions back every year, and if Greg didn’t win – his days at Augusta would soon be over. Seve had already won twice – so his yearly invite was locked up. And the Masters wouldn’t be the Masters for me without both Seve and Greg.

Well, Greg didn’t win in 2000 – but did have a respectable 11th place finish. Unfortunately however, 2000 was Norman’s last good Masters and chances are – he will never play there again. And as Tiger’s legend grows, it worries me that Greg will be forgotten for the great player he was. Or the great player he was so close to being. Or what an impact he had on golf and the Masters for over 15 years. It’s too bad – really it is. By all accounts, he should have won a number of times. In all, he had (9) top six finishes – including (3) runner-ups. And who could forget two of his 2nd place finishes – one on Larry Mize’s miraculous chip and one on his own heartbreaking collapse in 1996. I for one, as a golf fan, will miss Greg Norman at the Masters this year – but I suppose Seve alone will just have to do.

Here is an old interview with Greg Norman and his memories of the Masters

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