SYDNEY - Greg Norman’s no-show at a black-tie dinner marking the 100th anniversary of the Professional Golfers Association of Australia prompted plenty of rumors, yet had a simple explanation.
The rumor mill flowed at the Australian Open on Saturday: that he had snubbed the PGA, that a courtesy car sent for him hadn’t arrived. Instead, as Norman revealed Saturday, he had a bad blister on his left heel—so bad that he left The Lakes course on Friday in bare feet.
So the thought of putting on dress shoes on to attend the function at Sydney Town Hall was out of the question, even if he is patron of the centenary celebrations.
Organizers got Adam Scott and Robert Allenby to replace him in a panel discussion, and PGA officials apologized to the crowd of 400 on Norman’s behalf.
“If you saw my left heel, I have a real bad blister there, all raw and no skin on it,” Norman said after his third-round 73 at the Australian Open on Saturday. “I don’t want to even look at it when I walk into the locker room now.
“It’s just one of those things. I haven’t been playing much golf, and it was only the second round I’ve walked since December. I paid the price.”
With Norman being the golfing icon that he is in Australia, there’s nothing that he does, or doesn’t, do, that fails to make headlines. He smiled and shook his head when asked about the courtesy car rumor.
“No, that’s not true,” Norman said. “I couldn’t walk, I walked out of here in bare feet last night. I haven’t had that happen in my career before when you can’t put a pair of shoes on. I feel sorry I couldn’t be there.”
“It’s the first one I’ve missed in 30 years, so I’m sure they understood,” Norman said. “I think I’ve done my obligations.”
Brian Thorburn, chief executive officer of the PGA of Australia, said he understood Norman’s predicament.
“I apologized to the crowd on behalf of Greg,” Thorburn said. “There is no problem at all from our perspective.”
Both Allenby and Scott are members of the International team captained by Norman who will play the U.S. in the Presidents Cup next week at Royal Melbourne.