Greg Norman (1955 - )
Born Queensland, Australia, Norman is one of the most successful and competitive golfers of the present moment.
Norman grew up as a typical Aussie enjoying the water sports and the outdoor life which we commonly associate with Australia. It was only when his mother took up golf that Norman, then 16, developed an interest in the game. Within two years he went from a handicap of 27 to playing off scratch. That is just one example of the determination and competitiveness that are so characteristic of his personality and hence the nickname 'The Shark'.
Although his long game is exemplary, his short game requires constant attention. In the early days, his role model was Jack Nicklaus and Norman developed his technique based on Nicklaus' books including Golf My Way. Indeed they are now good friends and neighbours in Florida.
Norman had a successful amateur career which prompted him to surrender his goal of becoming a pilot in the Australian RAF to become a professional in 1976. After winning tournaments in Australia, he joined the American PGA Tour in 1983. He was very successful in America in financial terms mostly through endorsements.
It was not until 1986 that Norman won his first Major, the Open. In the same year he won the PGA Championship and earned over $1m in prize money. Major victories have been thin on the ground with a further Open victory in 1993. He set an Open record of 267 on that occasion. However, Norman has been unlucky losing a playoff for each of the 4 Majors.
His many business interests and a devotion to his family has been to the detriment of his golf. He is a speed freak owning a host of fast cars and owns a share of Brabham Racing. He is a close friend of Nigel Mansell and there is some speculation that they may set up a racing team together.
Although hugely successful in monetary terms, some say that he should focus more on the sport of golf rather than the business of golf if he is to remembered as a great champion. In 1998, he announced his retirement from competitive golf soon after undergoing surgery on his shoulder.
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