Greg Norman Profile
|Born||Feb 10, 1955|
|Birthplace||Mount Isa, Queensland|
Greg Norman is a two-time Major Champion, a former World No. 1 and possibly Australia’s greatest-ever golfer, but he is also remembered as much for his defeats as his victories.
Greg Norman is very far from the stereotype of the one-dimensional golfer.
He burst on to the Australian golf scene with a victory in his first year as a professional and was also a winner in Europe the following year.
In the 1980s he transferred to the PGA Tour and quickly gained success there, too.
In 1986 he famously led all four of the Major Championships after three rounds, but he won just one of them - the Open at Turnberry.
Two of those defeats were a consequence of his own loss of form, in the third he was dealt a cruel blow by an outrageous hold bunker shot by the PGA Championship winner Bob Tway.
It was a patten that would pepper his entire career. He would lift the Claret Jug for a second time in 1993, but finished second no less than seven times in the three American Majors.
His most famous near-miss was when leading the 1996 Masters by six shots heading into the final round, but ended the week five strokes behind playing partner Nick Faldo.
Injuries began to take a toll in the late 1990s and limited his interest in the Champions Tour when he turned 50 in 2005.
However one final hurrah came at the 2008 Open when, having not played a Major for three years and despite being 53, he led the Open after 54 holes before finishing tied third.
His business life has been every bit as successful as his career on the course and in late 2021 he was announced the CEO of LIV Investments, an arm of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. He is the face of the sovereign state's expansion as a global force in the sport.
A keen cricketer, rugby player and surfer, Norman took up golf as a 15-year-old and within 18 months he was a scratch golfer. He contended at the Queensland Open while a 19-year-old amateur.
Norman's early progress was swift: he became a club assistant pro in 1975, won for the first time down under in 1976, and landed victory in the European Tour's Martini International in 1977. He would win that tournament again in 1979 before greeting the start of the 1980s in sensational style.
In 1980 he won the Open de France by 10 shots, claimed the Scandinavian Open with a course record, and finished the year with victory in the Suntory World Championship.
He won five more times in the next two years, topped the Order of Merit in 1982, and finished top five in a Major on three occasions. It was time to cross the Atlantic.
Relentless PGA Tour success
He lost a play off at Bay Hill in 1983, but wins at the next level did not take long. He won twice in 1984, and twice again in 1986.
It was the beginning of nearly two decades of prodigious triumph.
He would win 20 times on the PGA Tour in that period to add to his 14 European Tour successes, and his eventual worldwide tally would amount to 88. He was the first man to top the Official World Rankings (in 1986) and would lead the list for a grand total of 331 weeks.
The Saturday Slam
The first time he made big headlines at a Major was when draining a 45-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole of the 1984 US Open to force a play off with Fuzzy Zoeller, but in shooting 75 to his opponent's 67 he set in motion a pattern for himself in the Majors: glory, brilliance, but also golfing tragi-comedy.
1986 was his greatest, and most hurtful, year. He won 11 times around the world, but also completed his own 'Saturday Slam', leading all four Majors at the 54 hole stage.
At the Masters he made double bogey at the 10th and missed a par putt on the final green, thus failing to force a play off.
In the US Open he subsided with a Sunday 75 to drop six shots behind the winner and in the PGA Championship he closed with a 76, but a holed bunker shot at the last hole by Bob Tway was the real dagger to his heart, with the pair tied at the top of the leaderboard.
Only at the Open did he claim the win, doing so with great golf in brutal conditions at Turnberry.
More setbacks, more success
The wins around the world continued to pile up, but so did the difficulties in the biggest events of all.
He made the play off in the 1987 Masters, but was downed by an outrageous birdie from Larry Mize, and in extra holes at the 1989 Open he tripped himself up by finding bunkers when close to victory.
At the 1990 Open he and Nick Faldo were tied after 36 holes and the third round was hyped up as a great clash of styles: the Englishman's grinding versus the Australian's flamboyance. Faldo carded a 67 to Norman's 75, and went on to win.
He struggled for form in the early 1990s, but bounced back to win the 1993 Open, forcing Faldo into second.
The 1996 Masters
Perhaps no event defined Norman quite like the 1996 Masters.
Through 54 holes he was outrageously good. He opened with a course record-tying 63 and he led by six blows with 18 holes to play.
On the Saturday night Norman bumped into a journalist who told him: "Not even you can mess this up."
Next morning, playing with his old foe Faldo, Norman emerged swinging faster and walking slower.
His 78, and Faldo's 67, turned that six shot lead into a five shot defeat. The two men ended the round in each other's arms.
Norman was never anything other than resilient. He finished top 10 in the his next two Majors after the Augusta disaster.
He would win twice in 1997 and landed another two Major top 10s in 1999, but thereafter injuries troubled him.
He played very little in his late 40s and showed a limited interest in senior golf (in fact he made only 12 starts, most of them senior Majors).
But in 2008 he reminded the world of his style and skill, leading the Open at Royal Birkdale after three rounds before finishing tied third.
Greg Norman's personal life
He married first wife Laura in 1981. They had two children - Greg Junior and Morgan-Leigh.
They divorced in 2006 and Norman married tennis legend Chris Evert, but that relationship also ended in divorce.
He married for a third time in 2010 to Kirsten Kutner.
Greg Norman's net worth
He was the first golfer to top $10 million earnings on the PGA Tour and his Greg Norman Company, formed in 1993, has wide interests.
He is a designer of over 100 courses worldwide, has produced clothes with Reebok, has a wine estate, real estate, an eyewear company, produces beef and promotes fine dining experiences.
His net worth is quoted on multiple sites, but most estimate between $300 and $400 million.
Greg Norman News
- Nov 06, 2022