Norman again on center stage

By Associated PressJuly 30, 2008, 4:00 pm
USGACOLORADO SPRINGS, Co. ' Greg Norman plays more recreational tennis these days than serious golf thanks to his new bride, Chris Evert.
 
Yet, here he is hitting the links like hes 33 instead of 53.
 
Credit the bliss, and for that, thank his new bride.
 
Its reflected in my game, but its more contentment with life, Norman said.
 
Norman went straight from his honeymoon to the 54-hole lead at the British Open, where he finished third, then followed that up a tie for fifth at the Senior British Open last week.
 
Norman brings his rejuvenated game to the U.S. Senior Open this week at The Broadmoor, where Everts name is engraved in stone commemorating the opening 14 years ago of the mountain resorts world class tennis center.
 
Im not the lone wolf here, but we all know if youre happy in life, everything else in the world seems pretty darn good, Norman said. My golf is where it is now because I love being where I am now.
 
The two were married this month after his $103 million divorce became final.
 
The 53-year-old Australian golfer won the British Open in 1986 and 1993. Evert has 18 Grand Slam singles titles to her name.
 
We sit back and we have conversations about things in general and things in life and the respect we have for each other and our respective careers, Norman said.
 
Their sports may be dissimilar but their desires to win are identical, he said.
 
Its wonderful to have a companion and your wife to be able to sit back and talk about it, Norman said.
 
All this marital merriness and great golf, however, doesnt make Norman want to drop everything hes doing in his business ventures and return to the fairways full-time.
 
It really doesnt make me want to play more, he said. I just want to play better.
 
On Monday, he turned down an invitation to play in the PGA Championship, deciding to stick to a previous commitment instead of competing for the fourth straight week.
 
The PGA Championship will be played Aug. 7-10 at Oakland Hills in Bloomfield Township, Mich.
 
Norman said he would return to work next week as CEO of Great White Shark Enterprises instead.
 
It is one of the toughest decisions Ive had to make in golf, turning down the PGA, Norman said. I was torn with it. I talked about it with Chrissy a lot. I talked about it with Bob Collins, the president of my company, a lot. Eventually, it was my decision.
 
Norman indicated Wednesday that he will accept his invitation to the Masters for finishing among the top four in the British Open, however.
 
I feel great that Ive played my way into Augusta, Norman said. So, I can look forward to that come April, play myself into (shape).
 
Norman said one thing hes realized this month is his competitive nature is as strong as ever.
 
I have been disappointed in my two finishes the past two weeks, which is a very good sign, Norman said.
 
He has that same passion for designing golf courses around the globe that he has for playing them.
 
Business is no different than golf, he said. All I want to do is get better in business; all I want to do is improve in golf. Even in my whole career, I never wanted to be the best in the world. I just wanted to be the best I could be.
 
Norman tees off Thursday morning with Curtis Strange and Fuzzy Zoeller as the field of 156 golfers tries to conquer the East Course, the longest in U.S. Senior Open history, a 7,254-yard layout that plays to a par 70.
 
Norman is one of the favorites, and not just because hes hot. His game is a good fit for The Broadmoor with its 6,000 feet of elevation, notoriously tricky greens and long layout.
 
He hits the ball very high, so he does have a big advantage doing that, Tom Watson said. The higher you hit the ball in altitude here, the better, because that ball just keeps on carrying and carrying and carrying.
 
Like everyone else in the field, Norman will need a breather after this week is over, but he bristled when somebody suggested hed be taking a break by packing his clubs away.
 
Ive got golf courses under work, a couple of board meetings to go to. So, its back to business as usual, Norman said. A break, no. It wont be a break. Ill just go straight into next week. Ive got to get back to work.
 
Honeymoons, after all, cant last forever.
 
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”