Norman Sets Out on Busy Schedule

By George WhiteFebruary 3, 2005, 5:00 pm
Greg Norman strikes out this week on a 2005 that will be extremely cluttered in the summer with golf tournaments. He may be dreaming ' after all, hes had major hip surgery and his spine is a jumbled mess. But hes got an energetic mind and a birthday coming up, and when one turns 50, one can do, oh, so many things! You listening, Craig Stadler?
 
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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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x