Sunday, July 20, 2008
Lets Get This Straight, Greg Norman Did Not Choke
As I was getting all my stuff together for the Colorado Open qualifier I'm playing in tomorrow, the ABC affiliate in Denver had their sports guy on, talking about the British Open.
The man was your typical local sportscaster -- smug, spiked hair even though he's in his mid to late 30s and a negative outlook on sports because he secretly hates them now since they've taken over his life.
He introduced his British Open "coverage" with a rant (and an accompanying graphic) about Greg Norman "choking" away the tournament in typical Norman fashion.
I stopped ironing my shirt and just stared at the screen. Is this guy really so clueless about golf he compares Norman at the 2008 Open Championship to the Shark at Augusta in 1996?
The man is 53-years-old and admitted he's been playing more tennis than golf of late. He played in the British Open because he's allowed to and because he's won the thing twice, a respect that is shown by true champions. For some unknown reason, Norman found his game at Royal Birkdale, shooting twin 70s on Thursday and Friday and following that up with a two-over 72 on Saturday in weather that would have sunk the Santa Maria.
His play was exactly the reason golf is the best sport in the world. Dads that remember Norman being the dominant force he once was had the rare opportunity to have their kids in front of a television as the Shark produced that swing that has always been a pleasure to watch. I'm 24, and my first golf memory of watching the sport with my dad was the Masters in 1996. I remember seeing the disappointment and only a 6th grader at the time, I had my first true encounter with how cruel golf can be. We had a living legend, Tiger before Tiger was Tiger, playing golf that was more 1988 than 2008, and just because he didn't win doesn't give anyone the right to call him a choke artist.
It was the type of story that made golf enthusiasts, for a split second, forget about all this Tiger Woods business. We all got to sit back and watch in hopes of a miracle, even if we weren't totally convinced it was going to happen.
Nobody, and I mean nobody, was going to take that Claret Jug away from Padraig Harrington. Let's all just be happy we got to see Norman do his thing one more time.
Photo courtesy of ADRIAN DENNIS, AFP