Norman ready for Masters return

It is difficult to be a legend at Augusta having never won there during its most important event – the US Masters.

Australian Greg Norman, though, probably qualifies as an Augusta legend for his sheer presence and the thrills he has given fans in allowing others to win.

His most famous time was the 1996 Masters, where Nick Faldo claimed the Green Jacket from six shots back after the third round.

Faldo put on his third jacket while Norman had none. Yet, such was the drama we remember the winner and loser.

Norman returns to the place he visited for the first time in 1981, when he finished fourth, and which caused him immense pain when the title was taken away from him by Jack Nicklaus in 1986 and Larry Mize’s amazing chip shot one year later.

It has been seven years since his exemption for the tournament expired but, you can never keep a good Shark down.

His presence at Augusta is by virtue of his surprise joint third place at last year’s British Open. Despite the bad memories, Norman is only thinking positives, as he was quoted as saying in the Palm Beach Post:

“I know people kind of always revert back to the negative; I always go back to the positive. That’s just my makeup compared to what perception other people have of me. They’re like, ‘Why didn’t this course destroy Greg Norman?’ I’m going back because I love it. I love playing there. I love the people there. I love the establishment there. It’s just a good feeling for me.”

Norman, who is now married to former American tennis great Chris Evert, is warming up for his return to the Masters by taking part in this week’s Houston Open.

Even at 54, the buzz around Norman’s presence in Georgia is palpable. If there’s one person who can steal the spotlight from Tiger Woods’ return to major competition, it is Greg Norman.

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