YOU know the best placed Australian male at a major golf tournament since Geoff Ogilvy won the 2006 US Open?
Here’s a hint. It’s not Messrs Allenby, Ogilvy, Scott or any of the young up and comers threatening to make it big on the world golfing stage.
The answer is that it was the third placing of the now 55 year old Greg Norman at the 2008 British Open.
The Shark was in Sydney on Thursday to help announce the initial lineup for the 2010 Australian Open and also confirmed he would be a starter at the British Open next month at St Andrews.
Norman revealed he was back swinging a club after being given the go ahead by his doctors last Friday and also took the opportunity to gently prod some of his fellow Australian golfers into greater effort.
The former world number one admitted he had not played since last September since undergoing shoulder surgery.
“They had to do pretty much extensive reconstructive surgery on my right shoulder, so it was a bit more than what they anticipated. When I went in for surgery they figured I’d be out playing golf in six weeks,” Norman said.
The golfing great said he had only been able to confirm starting in the British Open last week – more for his attachment to the tournament since first competing at Turnberry in 1977 than for any thoughts of how he will perform with just five weeks preparation.
“I’ve hit golf balls for two days – about 45 minutes,” he said. ”I can’t hit driver for another three weeks. I’m working my way up through pitching wedge to seven iron. I’ll get to five iron when I get back to the US next week,” he said.
Not much of a preparation for a major he admitted, but he hoped to play four or five tournaments before the Australian Open in December.
Turning to the development of Australian golf, Norman challenged the
current crop of Australian stars to deliver on their potential.
He praised the recent efforts of Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy and young gun Jason Day in winning on the US PGA Tour this season, but said it was time for the younger brigade to really step up.
“I think we’ve been on the edge of a golden era for 30 years,” Norman said.
“If you look at the consistency of Australian players, male and female – don’t forget Karrie Webb has been out there flying the flag extremely well for a long period of time – I think we’ve been on that edge.”
“We just need one or two players to step up. Geoff Ogilvy obviously did it with winning the US Open (in 2006) but we need that to continue on through other players, not just put all our eggs in one basket with one player.”
“We have the depth of players to do it out of this country, it’s now up to the players to go out there and do it.”