Norman Sets Out on Busy Schedule
Norman, whose 50th birthday is next week (Feb. 10), is presently in Australia where he will compete in the Heineken Classic beginning Thursday (TGC Airtimes). Then he intends to go halfway around the world to Dubai for the Dubai Desert Classic the first week of March. He returns to the U.S. in time for three or four PGA Tour events, including the Players Championship, BellSouth and Harbour Town.
Then he will start acting his age, making his Champions Tour debut the end of May in the Senior PGA Championship. June and July? Those are two busy months when he has grandiose plans of compete in seven tournaments in eight or nine weeks.
Oops ' dont forget the regular tour! He wants to play in the Cialis Western Open the first week of July. Then theres another Champions Tour major ' the Ford Senior Players Championship July 7-10. Norman is supposed to cross the Atlantic then for the British Open and the British Senior Open to wrap up July, then return to the U.S. for the U.S. Senior Open and the International on the regular tour.
Still with me? We havent yet mentioned the Champions Jeld-Wen Tradition the end of August. There may be another Champions event or two later in the year.
Oh ' he isnt eligible yet for the U.S. Open or the PGA Championship, but he hopes to get those in somehow. Lets see, he IS Greg Norman ' if he can maybe str-r-etch the summer hours to 36 instead of 24 per day
It's going to be a zoo, Norman confessed to Golf Digest recently while contemplating the ambitious schedule he has cut out for himself this summer.
OK, broken down, thats six definites on the PGA Tour, with three other maybes. There are five Champions Tour majors ' and maybe seven total. And there are a couple other international events. This could be his busiest summer since 1997, when he played in 15 PGA Tour events and four other European Tour events at the age of 42.
The last two years, Norman has played in only seven tour events each ' partly because of health reasons, partly because he was looking after his business interests, and partly because of lack of motivation. That was the five-year period in your golfing career between 46 and 50 when you are wallowing around in a no-mans zone, he said in Melbourne while preparing for the Heineken.
You like to compete as a regular but are you as sharp as the younger players? No, Norman said. I should not speak for other players, but I found it a bit of a void.
A couple of weeks ago, Greg had dinner with Raymond Floyd. I asked him, What if I went here, what if I went there? What are the hotels and airports like? Norman said. These were the things you would do when you were a rookie coming out at 18 years old in the United States or Europe or Australia.
The back and spine? Thats something that will never be 100 percent healthy, even with surgery, he said. Ive opted not to have surgery, just work out through physical therapy and training. That is why I am a lot more happy with myself because I really have a lot of things under control.
With a new endorsement contract with MacGregor, he is about to set out on this schedule, hoping all the while that his health holds up and at the same time the scores stay down to competitive numbers. But if he has to chuck it, he says it still be all right.
I have never felt more at peace with myself, where I am in the world and all that, Norman said. It is the balance I have in my life right now. If I feel this great at 50, I have plenty more great years ahead of me.
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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational
Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.
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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play
ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.
Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.
As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.
Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.
This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.
The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.
Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain
PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.
She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.
“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.
Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.
“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”
She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.
“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”
Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.
“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.
She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.
“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”
Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.
While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.
“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”
Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead
PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.
In fact, she named her “Mona.”
For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.
While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.
And that has her excited about this year.
Well, that and having a healthy back again.
“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”
Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”
Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.
She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”
Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.