Greg Norman "The Shark"
John Norman (born February 10, 1955) is an Australian
professional golfer and entrepreneur who spent 331
weeks as the world's number one ranked golfer in the
1980s and 1990s. He is nicknamed "The Great White
Shark", or simply, "The Shark", a reference
to a shark inhabiting Australian waters as well as
Norman's size and blond locks.
was born in Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia. He began
his career as a trainee in the Royal Queensland golf
shop for the famed Charlie Earp, earning AUD 38 a
week. The first professional tournament he won was
the 1976 Westlakes Classic in his home country, and
he soon moved on to success on the European Tour and
later the PGA Tour.
won The Open Championship twice, in 1986 and 1993,
and also won The Players Championship in 1994 in record-setting
fashion (averaging 68.81 per round for the year).
Despite his huge success on the U.S. PGA TOUR and
his many wins around the world, Norman will be forever
regarded as an underachiever (given his talents),
a characterization fueled by his myriad near-misses
in The Masters, the U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship.
He was equally a victim of his own bad luck and good
luck on the part of his fellow golfers in major championships.
He infamously lost a near-certain PGA Championship
in 1986 after Bob Tway holed a greenside bunker shot
(though Norman himself shot a 76 that day), and lost
The Masters the following year in a playoff on an
even more miraculous 45-yard chip shot by Larry Mize
on the second play-off hole.
not all of Norman's Major woes have been at the hands
of others. Many times he has failed to perform in
the final round of a tournament, whether it be a final-round
78 in the Masters (see below), a 73 in the 1995 US
Open where even-par 70 would have won the tournament,
or the 76 in the '86 PGA that set him up to be defeated
by Bob Tway's bunker shot. Several of Norman's infamous
"chokes" occurred when his wobble-prone
putting got the better of him. In 1986, he led all
four majors after the third round but won only the
British Open. (This is jokingly referred to as the
"Norman Slam" or the "Saturday Slam,"
as in he was leading after the third round on Saturday
but lost in the final round on Sunday). He is one
of only two players to have competed in - and, like
Craig Wood, to have lost - play-offs in all four of
the major championships. But perhaps the most embarrassing
Norman meltdown of all occurred at The Masters in
1996, where he blew a six-stroke lead in the final
round and lost the tournament to Nick Faldo by five
strokes, shooting a Sunday 78 to Faldo's 67. ESPN,
as part of their "ESPN25" 25th-anniversary
celebration, ranked Norman's 1996 Masters mishap as
the third-biggest sports choke of the last 25 years.
Despite the losses, though, Norman still has twenty
nine top-ten finishes in the majors.
Jack Nicklaus left his prime, Norman was regarded
as probably the game's greatest long hitter. In his
heyday, driving long and incredibly straight off the
tee with a persimmon (wood) clubhead, he intimidated
most of his fellow professionals. However, with the
advent of the "metal-wood" by Taylor Made
and other subsequent advances in golf ball & golf
club technology (especially the variable face depth
driver), his dominance was significantly diminished,
as the "new technology" enabled less precise
ball-strikers than Norman to achieve equal (or even
better) results in accuracy and distance. But whether
the cause was shaken confidence, the new technology,
or the emergence of golf's next generation of young
stars (including Tiger Woods), Norman was never the
same after his final Masters collapse. In the years
since, Norman has focused more and more on business
ventures and golf course design than on competitive
play. He turned fifty in February 2005, but has not
yet become a regular on the senior golf circuit, both
because of his other interests and because he required
knee surgery in October 2005 and February 2006.
friendly image and articulate nature has made him
a perfect spokesman for a wide range of products,
including the usual array of golf equipment but extending
well beyond. While continuing to play tournaments
(albeit in an abbreviated schedule), his growing business
interests take up an increasing amount of his time.
His personal wealth is estimated to be in the hundreds
of millions of U.S. dollars.
hobbies include offshore game fishinghe has
owned a succession of increasingly large and luxurious
boats (though his latest, called Aussie Rules, after
the sport Australian rules football, may best be described
as a small ship) for the purpose and wine drinking.
He became a wine lover in the 1970s while playing
at tournaments in Europe. Based in Hobe Sound,
Florida, he typically plays only one or two tournaments
per year in his homeland which rests easily with other
won the PGA Tour of Australia's Order of Merit six
times: 1978, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1986, and 1988. He
won the European Tour's Order of Merit in 1982, and
topped the PGA Tour's Money List in 1986, 1990, and
1995. He won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring
average on the PGA Tour three times: 1989, 1990, and
1994; and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of
Fame in 2001. His dominance over his peers (despite
his comparative lack of success in the majors) was
probably best expressed in the Official World Golf
Rankings: Norman finished the season on top of the
ranking list on seven occasions, in 1986, 1987, 1989,
1990, 1995, 1996 and 1997, and was second at the end
of 1988, 1993 and 1994.
1986, Norman was awarded the BBC Sports Personality
of the Year Overseas Personality Award, a feat he
replicated in 1993 to join Muhammad Ali and Björn
Borg as multiple winners.
Norman married an American named Laura in 1981 and
they have two children Morgan Leigh, and Gregory.
The family lived in Hobe Sound, Florida. His daughter
attended Boston College, and for a short while dated
Sergio García. In May 2006 he announced that
he would be getting divorced. He refused to comment
on the reasons for this, other than to say that no
third party was involved. He is now rumored to be
dating former tennis star Chris Evert.
Norman and his wife commissioned the 270 ft luxury
yacht "Aussie Rules", built by Australia
ferry builder Austal/Oceanfast. The boat held four
sports boats, including a 60ft custom sportfisherman,
along with stowage for related gear: 200 rods. Built
of aluminium, she could cruise at 15 knots with a
range of 8,000 Nm. The boat cost $70 million, but
resulted in Austal making an AUS$18 million loss.
The boat was quickly sold by Norman in 2004 for a
rumoured $77 million to the founder of Blockbuster
Video, Wayne Huizenga . She is now renamed M/Y Floridian,
and available for charter at $400k per week or sale.
was also an early customer for the Boeing Business
Jet, which he had ordered with custom fitted bedroom
and office. However, the down turn in the Asian markets
adversely affected his golf course design business,
and he latterly cancelled the order after acting as
an ambassador for Boeing. He eventually retained his
Gulfstream V. (Credit:
Sydney Morning Herald - Sport - Golf
Man Australia does not represent Greg Norman in any