AUSSIE golfing legend Greg Norman has opened up about being fired by Fox Sports as an analyst commentator saying he was “totally shocked” by the decision.
The American network sacked the 61-year-old Australian in January after only one season in the job as a broadcaster, notably for the US Open at Chambers Bay last year.
In an exclusive interview on GOLF Live, Norman said Fox’s decision came without warning and caught him completely off guard.
“I’d had conversations with the gentleman who wanted me to come on and be the Fox analyst, David Hill, and he wanted me there, he knew that I could deliver the right message that Fox wanted,” Norman said.
“We had, quite honestly, incredible pre-game meetings, post-game meetings, and there was never any indication that I was going to get the boot up my butt, so it came as a total surprise to me.”
Initial reports suggested Norman was sacked because his preparation was lacking and he only knew about the Australian players.
“I was prepared. Somebody told me that the only information I knew was about Australian players. I can rattle down the list with a lot of other US players.
“I actually went to [the US Open at] Chambers Bay with a list of 25 to 27 players that I had done my homework on — their caddies, their coaches. I’d spoken to 14 different coaches.
“I will happily show you the printout I did on every single one of the players — what they have in their bag, their workout program, what are their goals, how are they going to set it, what are their weaknesses, what are their strengths. I had these on cue cards in front of me all the time.”
Norman said he was “handcuffed” in the job and wasn’t happy with Fox when they rejected his idea to do a piece on the greens at Chambers Bay, which he claimed weren’t up to US Open standard. “The greens were not US (Open) quality greens for the players to play on. And there was a reason why … it was a reason the masses should have heard,” Norman said.
Norman joined the Fox Sports team after it secured a 12-year-deal with the USGA to broadcast all its major championships and thought he was there for the long haul
“The reasons for [his sacking] are just so off base,” he said. “They called me ‘unpredictable.’ That’s basically the reason why they let me go.
“You can’t terminate somebody on a performance of one US Open, right? Especially a US Open at Chambers Bay, where there is a lot of production problems and a lot of production issues. It wasn’t what we all wanted it to be.”
Norman was widely criticised for his failure to add any depth to Dustin Johnson’s meltdown on the 72nd hole when he tree putted and handed the title to Jordan Spieth.
Many thought due to his own experiences he was in a perfect position to explain the pressure of such big moments but Norman said he was left “speechless” by the incident.
Despite the experience, Norman said he wouldn’t rule out a similar role if the situation arose.
“The reason I say yes is because I have so much information about the game,” he said.
The GOLF Live video