Stormin Norman

By Brian HewittJuly 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
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Open ChampionshipIm a wreck, said the wife.
 
The husband, who knows a thing or two about wrecks on the golf course, was the calm in the eye of the storm.
 
Say hello to Chrissie Evert and Greg Norman, the protagonists of the 137th Open Championship on the eve of the final round.
 
The 53-year-old Norman has a 2-shot lead over K.J. Choi and Padraig Harrington.
 
And for now, hes the lone player in the field to have made friends with the awful weather.
 
Saturday at Royal Birkdale was all about the elements. And Im not talking about copper, tin and manganese.
 
Winds gusted up to 50 miles an hour most of the day. And it caused several of the greens to become almost unplayable.
 
In 1998, when the Open Championship last came to Birkdale, the conditions were so bad that officials had to stop play for half an hour Friday when several players reported that their golf balls were blowing off the putting surfaces after they had marked and replaced them.
 
This time, Peter Hanson, bedeviled by the winds, 5-putted from 18 inches on the 10th hole. There were also unprecedented reports reaching tournament officials that golf balls were actually oscillates in bunkers.
 
What happens when a ball oscillates on the green typically is that the wind pattern on the ball changes when the putter head is set on the ground behind the ball ready to be stroked. If the ball moves and doesnt return to its original spot after the grounding of the putter, the player incurs a one stroke penalty.
 
The best way to avoid this is to not ground the club. If a player doesnt ground his club behind the ball, he is deemed not to have addressed the ball. If the ball moves in that case, its not a penalty.
 
The problem is most players are accustomed to grounding their putter behind the ball. Its part of their pre-shot routine. Asking a player like Greg Norman not to ground his putter behind the ball is a little like asking tennis player Roger Federer not to bounce the ball before his serve or asking Kobe Bryant not to bounce the ball before a free throw.
 
David Duval acknowledged how difficult all this was going to be before he teed off Saturday in an interview with TNT. Theres no predicting, said Duval, who began the third round just three shots off Chois lead. Theres no guess that you could venture to make that would be accurate. Whos to say?
 
Then Duval promptly went out and made triple bogey on the first hole and followed that with bogeys on the second, third and fourth to shoot 10-over 44 on the front side and end the day with 83.
 
All of this despite the fact that the R&A decided not to double cut the greens after the second round. They knew the kind of bad weather that was on its way. If they had done their usual mowing, the golf course would have been unplayable from the outset.
 
You just try and survive, said Rocco Mediate. The first tee shot is the hardest tee shot on the face of the earth.
 
Added Norman, In these conditions you just worry about yourself. You dont even worry about score. You know youre going to hit good shots and get bad results.
 
Norman bogeyed three of his first five holes. But a birdie on the eighth got a share of the four-way lead with Jim Furyk, defending champion Harrington and Choi, who had come back to the field with a double bogey on the brutally hard sixth and a bogey on No. 8.
 
At one point it looked like the 5-over total posted early in the day by little-known Englishman Simon Wakefield might be good for the 54-hole lead.
 
But Norman proved stouter than the gales.
 
I believe its going to be a nice day tomorrow in England, said Wakefield, full of hope, after his round.
 
Norman might not be wishing for the same. Even if it makes his new bride a wreck for one more day.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

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    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

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    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

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