Those stories about all of the other players can wait another day, well most of them. This is about the Shark and the potential for something truly amazing to happen. I like his chances, because as Brian Hewitt noted the other night on Golf Channel, this has been the summer of extraordinary sports stories, so why not one more?
Anyway, the Greg Norman stories, starting with Doug Ferguson:
This sounds familiar: Greg Norman goes to the final round of a major with the lead.Wow, forgot about that. Steve Elling writes:
And, no, we're not talking about 1996.
If Norman gets it done at this age, at this stage, it would read like the greatest work of English fiction since Shakespeare was writing plays at the Globe Theater. All that remains to be seen is whether Sunday presents a comedy or tragedy for public consumption.Paul Forsyth in The Times:
They were right when they said it wouldn’t be the same without Tiger Woods. It’s been even better, in a funny kind of way. Apart from a fading legend who refuses to see sense, and an Asian who is trying to become the continent’s first major winner, the defending champion is clinging for dear life to the Claret Jug. Add to that a leading Englishman who isn’t even the most famous sportsman in his family, and this 137th Open Championship has had just about everything.John Huggan offers this, along with some thoughts on Norman's legacy from Jack Newton:
In an often one-dimensional world where the vast majority of tournament professionals have the imagination and individuality of the average lemming, Norman provided a tantalising glimpse of days gone by with some beautifully crafted shots. His control of trajectory and distance in what were extremely trying conditions was at times the equivalent of a post-graduate thesis written amidst primary school pupils content to colour between the lines. The little punches under a wind that gusted to 35mph were a particular joy.
Larry Dorman's lede in the New York Times:
The last time a golfer did what Greg Norman has a chance to do in the British Open, this name was Old Tom and the American Civil War had recently ended.
Damon Hack shares this from Nick Faldo:
"How come he still has that putting stroke at 53?" Faldo asked. "Where's the fairness in life?"John Hopkins likes Norman's chances in this analysis:
First and foremost he is a superb athlete. He has, as Justin Rose said on Friday, "the body of a 23-year-old and the mind of a 53-year-old." He won't suffer from fatigue. Second, he is a magnificent striker of the ball, one of the best drivers the game has seen in recent years. On top of this he is excellent in bad weather. It is as if the wind has to be blowing hard and there to be a hint of rain in the air for Norman to come into his own. "Greg Norman is the best bad weather player I have ever seen," Tom Watson, the five-times Open champion said.Jaime Diaz fleshes out the Linn Strickler story and shares this:
Taking a break from a year of short-term gigs for players like Robert Gamez, Tommy Armour III and Phil Blackmar, Strickler was "raking traps for 150-handicappers" this spring at posh Sebonack Golf Club in Long Island.Alistair Tait wonders if Norman is producing the greatest golf fairy tale story ever, and though that seems a bit excessive, as Tait notes, "Norman plays more tennis these days than he does golf."
One day in May, "Today" show host Matt Lauer showed up with a guest, his good friend Greg Norman. Strickler had caddied for Norman in practice rounds a couple of times in the early '90s when filling in for Bruce Edwards, but he was surprised when Norman started inquiring about his availability.
"I'm holding my sand-divot filler and my rangefinder, and the Shark asks me if I want to caddie for him at the British," said Strickler. "When he wondered if the club would let me go, I said, 'I don't care if they let me go or not. I'm going.' "
Bill Elliott in The Guardian says it'll be the greatest Open win ever.
Michael Buteau writes that "Greg Norman has been in this position seven times before and managed to win once."
Mike O'Malley lists key player reactions, documents Saturday's tweaks to the course setup and looks at the long wait on No. 10 tee which prompts the question, do they not have the ability to throw a little water on them?
Rickman, asked whether officials were considering suspending play, said, "It's difficult; it's a judgment call. . . . Mainly based on the greens. They've dried out in the sun, and if we get situations where we get balls consistently moving, are not staying where they came to rest or players can't replace them having marked, lifted and cleaned, then they would be indicating signs that if they became consistent problems then we would have to suspend play."Geoff Ogilvy writes about four holes that might make a difference in Sunday's final round, including No. 17 where the green is "pure Disneyland."
Kim wasn't the only player experiencing difficulty on Saturday. Part of the backup came when Simon Wakefield, who shot a 70 and is three strokes out of the lead, watched his sand-wedge approach to the eighth hole finish off the green, only to see the wind move the ball. "The wind blew it three or four inches onto the green, so I was obviously able to mark it but then was not comfortable with playing the putt or hitting the putt because we were getting gusts," Wakefield said, concerned that the ball would move after he addressed it. "I spoke to one of the referees who called in, and they had had the same situation on the 10th, so we just sort of hung on and basically waited for the wind to die down."
John Barton says the bookies like Padraig and lists the odds of other contenders. Gary Van Sickle likes K.J. Choi.
Bob Harig tells us who the heck Simon Wakefield is.
Michael Bamberger on what joy he's getting out of reading the local papers.
John Garrity talks to Davis Love about Kenny Perry and player who pass on the Open.
“I’ve got myself in trouble over the years chastising players,” Love told reporters behind the 18th green. “If you don’t want to come, don’t come. Kenny Perry is a great friend of mine, a great guy and a great Christian, and he’s doing what he wants to do, and he’s not complaining. That’s the way to do it. If you don’t like it, don’t come. If you don’t like the Masters, don’t play."An unbylined Daily Mail story catches up with Seve Ballesteros:
Ballesteros, troubled by back problems and a serious lack of form, said from his home in the village of Pedrena, northern Spain: 'Birkdale was where my name started to be popular and I can't explain all the feelings I keep in my heart of that time. But I wasn't tempted to come back.And finally, ESPN posts the video of Rick Reilly's enjoyable end-of-telecast essay from Saturday's ESPN on ABC commercialfest.
'Everyone knows that I have retired for good. I will watch on TV and avoid yearning for the past. I won't ever play again in a major championship or on the Seniors Tour. When a player like myself quits competitive golf, he is gone for good. To participate as any other player does not appeal to me.'