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That's Our Greg! "I probably would have beat" Tiger

David DeNunzio interviews Greg Norman at Tony Montana's former hunting cabin...wait, sorry, that's The Great White Shark's Colorado home.

Anyway, the gift that keeps on giving did have some very wise things to say in the same interview. But why dwell on the insightful Wednesday when we can always read the wise things Thursday.

Here's the comment grabbing all the headlines, as it should even though is the self proclaimed living icon of his own brand, a comment some might suggest speaks to a certain delusional quality.

A lot of people ask how I'd stack up against today's players if I had use of modern equipment. Listen, it's not about the gear. Winning is about what's in your heart and in your head. Equipment dictates how to play the game in an era, but the physical and mental skills are the same. And I had them. I never feared anything or anyone on the course, and I wasn't afraid to fail. So I think I'd do pretty well against Snead, Hogan, Tiger and Phil -- whoever. Tiger's a tough guy, but I was a tough guy on the course, too. I probably would have beat him.

Look Shark, you were the best player in the world, won two Open Championships and were one incredible golfer. But uh, well, how do I say this nicely? The score is 14-2 and I'm guessing that's about how the head-to-head match up would have played out.

Now, on a lighter note, it's great to see that with your wealth and success off the course you've been able to work through your emotions and think rationally when it comes to Commissioner Finchem and the World Tour concept he borrowed generously.

Unfortunately, Finchem and the media ripped me to shreds. They said I was trying to ruin the game. It got so bad that a lot of PGA club pros who carried Greg Norman Collection [clothes] began canceling their contracts. I was devastated, but I was so sure of the World Tour's promise that I called each one of them to explain my side of the story, because I was never offered the chance to do so with the PGA Tour. It took weeks. I asked each one to hear me out and draw his own conclusions. Everyone kept their contract. My tour never got off the ground, yet three years later the PGA Tour launched the World Golf Championships. I guess they didn't like the fact that it wasn't their idea.

It's poor policy to slay the dreamer just because he or she came up with a better plan. It's so against how I do things. If you came to me with something great that I had never thought of, I'd say, "Are you okay, or do you want help? Should we joint-venture?" If the answer is "no," I'm still going to support you, because your idea is fantastic. It didn't happen that way with Finchem and, honestly, it's one of the reasons I don't do certain things in golf anymore. I haven't played in a PGA-sanctioned event in 18 months. I don't see a reason to support an entity that tried to destroy my dream.

Well, except when they call to have you drive a cart around at the Presidents Cup. Or not call.

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Reader Comments (52)

Yup...that's out Greg. Bless his heart.

Pretty candid interview and he makes some valid points re: performing at a high level for an extended period. Funny, not a single mention of any less than stellar play (he stunk it up) on Sunday...which did happen. And no shout-outs to Hughes Norton?

Golf wise, his comments on how surfing is a perfect activity in which to learn balance skills that will last a lifetime,.esp in the golf swing, are accurate. I wish more of my kids would put down the console and jump on any kind of board once in awhile.

Nice CO ranch tho...but out of 13k acres, a mere 2mile fly fishing stretch? And where's the 1000yd Barret50 rifle range?
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
1986 Masters - Final Round - approach shot on 18th hole with a chance to win & beat Nicklaus - airmails it into crowd right of green - certainly one of golf's great displays of mental toughness...
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenterphil the author
I support freedom of speech, even when it's one way
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRust Never Sleeps
... or ballet. Less dangerous too.

Oh rats ... a horrible image of Greg Norman wearing a 'Desmond' has just popped into my head.
lol c&c.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Great quote on yardage. No smaller the target, the better the focus.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGate74
"The downside to becoming a brand is that everything I say or do gets scrutinised."
Ain't that the honest truth?
I say, "Harrumph the begrudgers, Greg!"
BTW - Thank you for the triangle tip.
I have been stumbling around trying to find my game.
Maybe, this will help me?
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
Humility is not his strong suit. But, humility is not a required trait to play high level golf.

johnnycz send me an email:
Is it true what they say about men who hang dead animals that they've shot and killed all over their abode? You know, the size issue?
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenter8802
You call Norman the gift that keeps giving. I guess you're right. He's said all this stuff before in some form or fashion. And this blog will fill up with the same old comments. Let's move on, shall we? And let's look at this as an example of how lame has become. Instead of something original, "Hey, let's call Greg!!"
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMountain Man
Sure he would. That's why everyone today talks of Norman as "The Mariano Rivera of Golf"
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan
Tiger won the Masters a mere one year after Norman had his implosion and let Faldo win.

tiger won the Masters in 1997 and the PGA in 1999, while Norman was winning the Fex Ex St. Jude and the World Series of Golf.

Norman had his chance to beat Tiger and didn't.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commentersmails
Greg was a bit naive if he thought Finchem would greet him with open arms and not perceive his idea as anything other than a threat. I don't remember how the 32-man Andersen Consulting WCG was introduced or how the press reported its formation given the dustup with Greg, who defined karma when he won it. Was it completely ignored, did Tim ever comment on the record and was it a PGAT trial ballon before the event went to a 64-man field and became the WGC. Geoff?
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Belloq: "Dr. Jones. Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away."

Substitute "Greg" for "Dr. Jones" and "Tiger" for "Belloq". That would make it just about right.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
Amazing he can't get past the World Tour thing. Obvious the tour was not going to go for anything outside its control and did all it could to quash it. Interesting Norman admits he is still paying tour back by not playing. he could be quite an asset if he played 6-8 Champions Tour events, but he very rarely tees it up and would be forgotten if not for these type of interviews and appearances on GC.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven
1984 US Open: Tied for the lead on the 72nd hole. Sends six-iron 40 yards right of the green.
1986 Masters: Tied for the lead on the 72nd hole. Sends four iron 40 yards right of the green.
1986 US Open: Leads after three rounds. Shoots 75 to finish T12.
1986 PGA: Leads by four with eight holes to play. Chunks short iron from the fairway on the easiest Par 4 on the course and makes double bogey. Duck-hooks the next three drives, and ultimately loses.
1989 Masters: Tied for the lead on the 18th fairway. Underclubs approach and bogeys.
1989 British Open: Leads four-hole playoff after two holes. Gags an easy chip on the third and bogeys, then hits driver on the final hole to bring fairway bunker into play and drives into it.
1990 British Open: Tied for lead after 36 holes. Shoots 76 in perfect weather on round three to fall nine behind.
1993 PGA: Three-putts second playoff hole.
1995 US Open: Leads by one with seven holes to play. Bogeys three of the last seven holes.
1996 Masters: You know this one.
1999 Masters: Tied for the lead with five holes to play. Three-putts the 14th, then blocks a sixty-yard wedge shot into bunker on the 15th.

I was a huge Greg Norman fan in my youth, and I'll say this - he's right when he says that he wasn't afraid to lose.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
Hey, I'm a fan. Sure, he's full of it at times, but he's a fun guy who is pretty well rounded.

He does need to learn the art of humility; he brings a lot of grief on himself. No one is going to change their mind about their opinion of him unless something very radical occurs and sayin' it ain't playun' it.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Just re-read this, and Geoff's right--this guy is the gift that keeps on giving

'If you came to me with something great that I had never thought of, I'd say, "Are you okay, or do you want help? Should we joint-venture?" If the answer is "no," I'm still going to support you, because your idea is fantastic."

Ok, so NBC comes up with a great show on Friday nights. CBS just says "your idea is fantastic "--or they go hire Tom Selleck and try to do better. Ron Popiel invents "hair in a can"--and the guy with the Momentus just throws it in the closet because "your idea is fantastic"

Yeah, great, Toyota comes out with a better can and GM says "I'm going to support you, because your idea is fantastic"--or do they try to build a better car. (ok, so they said--"that car is made of beer cans" for 10 years and eventually went bankrupt--use example #1 instead)

If thats not great business advice i don't know what is! where is this in Greg's book (or books) whats the name again---"Being a CEO the Shark Way" or something?
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commentersmails
The older he gets, the better he was... (in his mind). Thanks for your great golf in the past, Greg, but that ship has sailed.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRedwolfnc
Faldo messed him permanently.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSnoozing Marshall
Greg Norman’s venture amounted to a coup d’état in the eyes of the PGA Tour. Picking a fight with Finchem is not a good idea, he’s one smart strategist.

Norman went charging ahead thinking a good idea lead by him couldn’t fail. His plan turned out to have little support and he didn’t realize he was acting out Custer’s Last Stand all over again.

Norman also didn’t realize that JV’ing with Rupert Murdoch and only involving 30 players wasn’t a good idea.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterZokol
Considering that Tiger Woods has become the new Greg Norman, it would be a pretty close battle.

Failures in majors and blowing chances are things they now both share.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer
Impressive work, Hawkeye.

I'll be interested to see whether Adam Scott's career ends up resembling Norman's, or whether he'll cure the nerves and reach his potential. It'd be nice to see someone as humble as Scott become Australia's best ever.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenter3foot1
Why do golf greats have to be nicknamed after wildlife? Why can't they have nicknames like "Big Balls" or "Long Dong"?

Why does the inside of Greg's place look like the inside of a Bass Pro Shop, which just got in the new fall line of Great White Shark Outdoor Wear (a Fortune 500 Company) and Greg is there looking at the live foot long bass run through the stream in his living room?

Australia never looked like this…..
nice list Hawkeye, thx, could also add that British from a few years ago..

wonder if the Great White Tuna is hitting the bottle or something...seriously, he is like Pat Robertson, who also feels the need to say something really stupid every 4 months or so for some reason (to keep their names in paper?)...although Norman's frequency is more like every two months

heaven help us if Fox hires him as an announcer
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
Long Dong now theres a golfer I would watch. Would like to hear "long Dong" come off the lips of Nantz at the Masters.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commentervwgolfer
Right now Peter Thomson is Australia's best ever
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStiggy
He couldn't beat Bob Tway
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjuke joint jimmy
honest truth is, greg speaks without proper thought or restraint...

he played well enough to beat tiger on occasion, but i agree with Geoff that TW would own him 90% of the time, norman is remembered as a choker, ie - it's hard for me to name his 2 major victories, because I only remember the 96 masters
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenterd
Norman surfed, Scott surfs too... so maybe surfing leads to both an amazing swing and a tendency to choke.
Said Norman:

<< In 1986 I became the first player to win $1 million in a season. >>

Hm... uh, Greg.... every record book I consult tells me that Curtis Strange was the first to win a million in one year on the PGA Tour. Perhaps you're using different metrics.

And about the statement in reference to Tiger Woods: "I would probably have beat him." Just what the HELL does THAT mean? Beat him once? Beat him like a drum? Beat him in every major? Seriously.... isn't that nothing more than self-aggrandizing, stream-of-consciousness wishful thinking?

Oh, and if this little interview didn't provide you a big enough helping of Norman's massive ego, glance through a copy of his book, "The Way of the Shark: Lessons on Golf, Business and Life." This is the most FIGJAM exercise in unwarranted boastfulness I've ever come across and mentions the fateful word "brand" more times than an overserved Procter & Gamble manager at a cleaning products convention.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenterbenseattle
@Ben: That one's actually true, he did reach the 1 million dollar mark in 1986 counting worldwide earnings (a big deal was made of it at the time). Apart from his 653.000 on the PGA Tour, he won the big money Euro events European Open, World Match-Play and the Dunhill Cup, plus a handful of Australian events.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Greg Norman may be a bit of a knob with an unfortunate tendency to self destruct in Majors, but golf is about more than Majors. He was one of the best players in the world for close to twenty years when many of his contemporaries could barely muster half that. And unlike American players content to play only the familiar courses of their own backyard, Norman travelled all over the world and won, in more countries than an American even knows exist, in all kinds of conditions on unfamiliar tracks.

He was one of those sportsman who transcended the sport, and his indiscretions pale when compared to Woods.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBird's Eye
Very well, Hawk... I stand corrected. Sort of.

For the record, I hold no personal animosity toward Greg Norman. I'm well aware of his successes on the links and I ached during the water torture that was the final round of the 1997 Masters. I admired the way he handled himself in the aftermath.

But in my mind, among the most execrable qualities that can be attributed to we humans, ARROGANCE ranks right up there. An athlete whose achievements compel him to lord it over the rest of us is simply inexcusable. Norman's consistent focus on his almighty "brand" (good god, man, you're just SELLING people stuff) combined with his delusional insistence that he ranks up there with Woods, Snead and Hogan is nonsense from a man who, while accomplished, is nowhere near as great as he would pretend.

Humility -- especially in a golfer -- is a much-appreciated quality. See: Nicklaus, Jack and Palmer, Arnold.
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenterbenseattle
" is about more than Majors"

So you are comparing Norman to...Monty?
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commentersmails
Birds Eye, I'd love to know how many countries host golf tournaments that Greg Norman won, the better to compare it with a presumed number of countries that "Americans don't even know exist." Never too late to learn...
12.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenter3foot1
Greg should do a course for The Donald.
Long Duck (or Long Duk) Dong was a character in the movie "Sixteen Candles"
12.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHarrison
The weird thing about Norman is that he was so good and won so many tournaments, but despite all of his physical gifts and the confidence he should've got from those victories, he still blew so many huge opportunities to win majors. That's why some people admire him and others make fun of him. Now he almost seems to say that he never really cared about his golf career except for how it would sustain his global brand. Bull.

The business angle is another thing entirely. He seems to have done a hell of a lot better than Nicklaus or even Palmer did, partly because he gave up the golf and focused on business, and partly because he really does seem to have good business sense. But considering what he started with and the business opportunities available in the Woods era, some might say he's underachieved there, too.
I am no real fan of the Shark, more so than Andy Mill though, but in the last 30 years who would not trade their golf career for Greg's. There is a list but it is not very long, he is in the top 10 isn't he.

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