Greg Norman

Greg Norman had many successes on the golf course, but he will probably go down in the annals of golfing history as a ‘choker’. At one time or another, in his long golfing career, Norman lost several Major tournaments because he just couldn’t finish. Whether it was bad luck, or lack of composure and skill, will remain a mystery.

The big, blonde Australian, known by all who love, or hate him, as “The Shark”, dominated world golf in the 1980s and 90s and languished at the world number one ranking for an unbelievable 331 weeks.

He claimed 65 international wins, became the first person to earn more than $10 million on tour and lifted the Vardon Trophy no less than three times for scoring average on the US Tour.

His record of two Major victories – the 1986 and 1993 British Opens – 18 PGA Tour wins and 56 other wins worldwide is pretty impressive. However, he will forever remain the ‘nearly’ man, or the ‘best player never to win more Majors’ for his eight second-place finishes in Major tournaments, including playoff losses in all four Majors.

Friend and competitor, Frank Nobilo said, “The world never really saw what he was capable of. I reckon if he’d won the Masters in 1981, he might have won a bunch of Majors.”

Norman’s biggest heartbreak and regret was his final-round collapse during the 1996 US Masters. He had a six-stroke lead after 54 holes, but still managed to lose to Nick Faldo. “The 1996 Masters was within my grasp, but I just didn’t finish it. People will think I’m unfulfilled because I didn’t win a Masters, do I look miserable?” he said. But all who know him claim that he dearly wanted the Green Jacket.

The media had a field day with Norman’s career under achievements, and even pst US Masters champion Nick Faldo had empathy. After he won the ’96 Masters, Faldo hugged Norman and whispered in his ear “Don’t let the bastards get you down over this,”’ obviously referring to the media attack on Norman’s shortcomings. ESPN ranked Norman’s 1996 Masters disaster as the third-biggest choke of the last 25 years.

The Shark’s Major chokes:

  • In 1986 he lost a dead cert PGA Championship after Bob Tway holed a greenside bunker shot
  • He lost the playoff at the 1987 Masters when Larry Mize holed a miraculous 45-yard chip shot
  • In 1986 he led all four Majors after the 3rd round but only claimed the British Open title
  • He has lost playoffs at all four Major tournaments

Greg Norman, past US Masters champion? He would have liked to think so.