In his Scotland on Sunday column, John Huggan lets Greg Norman rant about the usual stuff. I still enjoy reading it even if he's made many of these points before. Well, he's taken it up a notch on the topic of his good buddy, Tim Finchem.
"I can't fault Finchem in some respects," said the two-times Open champion in Dubai. "You have to say he has done a good job in getting prize- money up in America, so that players from all over the world are going there to play. But when you are the leader of the free world, as the United States is, you have responsibilities beyond that. President Bush has global responsibilities on his shoulders, whether he likes it or not, because of the power of the position he is in. It is the same for Finchem.Ouch, a Bush-Finchem analogy. Has Greg turned on 43 too?
"He has a responsibility not to forget the rest of the world. He must support the likes of the European Tour, the Australian Tour and the South African Tour. Which has not been happening. Finchem has to be aware that every decision he makes has an impact around the world. Sadly, he doesn't pay much attention to that, and never has."Now now, he $ee$ great potential in China!
On the subject of the world No.1, Norman is just one of a growing number of informed observers despairing of the fact that, Woods and one or two others apart, the sharp end of the professional game is populated by an ever-growing number of golfing robots devoted to hitting basically the same shot, time after tedious time.They should, but that would require an ounce of integrity!
"Because I grew up in an era when we could manoeuvre the ball maybe 60 feet in the air either way, I wonder at the game today," he sighed. "You don't see that any more. There were a lot of shot-makers in my day. And now, even though the very best players still come through, technology has bunched the players up. Tiger, of course, is the exception that proves the rule.
"I see so many players making a lot of prize-money without ever winning a tournament. In my day, you could make the cut, and still not win any money. You had to play hard to get anywhere. I realise people don't like hearing the old war stories about what we went through, but the powers that be in golf - the USGA, the R&A and the PGA Tour - should put some restrictions on the equipment used by the best players in the world."
"I would rule the golf ball back to 1996 specifications, number one," he declared. "It's a crying shame that so many of the world's great courses have been lengthened by 400-500 yards for one week a year. The cost of that is just ridiculous, especially when you multiply it 30 or 40 times. That money could be better spent elsewhere. Golf is too expensive, and getting more expensive.
"I look at the Open at St Andrews two years ago. There were four tees there not even on the golf course. And I think of golf courses like Merion or Inverness. There is a long list: Royal Melbourne and Royal Sydney in Australia. The men who designed those great courses must be rolling over in their graves. I know I would be, in their position."