I DON’T don’t think I’m throwing out a wonderfully unique and insightful opinion by suggesting Greg Norman has had an astonishing effect on golf over the years. The exhilarating aggression, captivating drama, the bleached “White King” hair and shoulders that were way too broad to fit a green jacket on, took the game from a blend of natural talent, control and guile and turned it into to a prize fight! Watching Nick Faldo battle The Shark was like watching Andy Murray playing the Wimbledon final against Russell Crow in his Gladiator gear.
It’s probably more the effect he’s had on me which is a little more profound. I had a nightmare last night. In fact I’ve had a couple over the past week – all involving the Great White Bloke from Queensland.
The most recent one has me heading to the first tee knowing Greg was my playing partner for the day and we were tied for the lead.
I have to push my way through the gallery to get onto the tee and I nervously shuffle over to Greg. I introduce myself and he calls me Barry. He then shakes my hand that hard, my paw comes back looking like a spear of asparagus.
Famous first tee caller Ivor Robson calls “On the tee … From Australia … Greg Norman!”. The big guy removes the head cover from his driver followed by his jumper, followed by his shirt. The crowd are whispering in anticipation as he removes the trousers. Sure enough off come the undies and the fans go absolutely nuts!
He rips a high towering draw down the fairway and the roar from the gallery almost wakes me up.
Ivor calls out “Get off his back, knockers and let him nude up if he wants. Next on the tee … From Mittagong … Barry Canning”
Like everyone, I had seen photos of a nude Shark, but nothing could prepare me for what I saw n this dream. My wife /caddy Sandra sidles up to me and whispers, “You’re going to have to take the gear off, Darl”. Now I know I’ve spent the past week on the protein shakes and avoided carbs (is Yenda Pale Ale a carb?), but I’m hardly a 6 foot 3 inch golden Greek statue.
Sure enough everyone laughs at me including Sandra as I drop the duds. And then when I attempt to tee up my Balata number 3, a women behind me says, well within earshot, – “Oh my God … don’t they have beauticians in Mittagong?”.
I catch my drive right out of the heel and Shark yells out “Fore left”…. That’s when I woke up with no pants on, screaming “My names not Barry!!”.
Buck naked or not I think I’ve made it clear old Sharky scares the living barnacles out of me. Having said that, whenever he played badly enough to draw me he was always very respectful of the fact that I was a member of the same club, (The Aussie PGA) as him. Slightly different socio-economic club of course.
He speaks his mind with a passion but I think he has a reasonable grasp of what’s right and what’s not. I also reckon he’s up there with Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson as one of the best losers in any sport I’ve seen. There’ve been times when I’m sure I’m not the only Aussie to throw the TV remote in the general direction of Nick Faldo, Larry Mize, Bob Tway … etc, as they jump up and down celebrating a win over our Champ, yet every time it happened, out would go Shark’s hand and with a smile he would congratulate his vanquisher. Even if he was mentally planning on how he could lure them into the water and bite off one of their limbs, he would make a point of looking sincere and respectful. He knows his place in the game and the responsibilities that go along with it.
Unfortunately I’ve recently read some really crappy stuff said on social media about my mate. I’d love to find these sufferers of good old “Tall Poppy” Syndrome and give them a good hearty spray of “Roundup”.
Greg Norman isn’t perfect and clearly not everyone’s cup of tea but you have to admit he has set a professional sporting standard on and off the course for our Aussie kids to aspire to.
Get off his case and let the guy nude up in a magazine if he wants! I think you’ll find he’s not the first person to do this.
If I looked like that I reckon I’d never put clothes on. Well maybe with the exception of a couple of months through winter anyway.