Stormin Norman We Can Hope
Normans half-century of existence now means the Champions Tour has the chance to become the body of water where his career of success continues. Or should I say that its Norman himself who has the new home for opportunity?
The Shark amassed 20 PGA Tour titles and another 68 world-wide victories. Yet his career to date is defined as much by major disappointments as major successes. A change of scenery should be great, right? We can only hope.
Im all for the Champions Tour as a professional vehicle of competition for the stars so let me make that clear. But from time to time I find myself searching for a reason to get over the feeling of hey, Ive been there and done that with these guys.
Norman, Im guessing, is the perfect guy to pump new life into my Champions Tour enthusiasm.
With apologies to Curtis Strange, whose resume and passion for the game will make him the Champions Tours newest go-to-guy for question and answer sessions, Norman has that stand-alone presence. He has that celebrity persona. He has that superstar intrigue. And he exudes cool.
So whats he supposed to do with his newfound mulligan of a golf career? I have some strong hopes as a fan of his game. But Normans in a tougher spot than you might think.
Greg Norman is more than just Greg Norman ' the player. Hes Greg Norman the business man too. In fact, hes Greg Norman ' the brand. That makes playing a big schedule a bit of a challenge. But having noticed that Donald Trump- the business man - seems to be doing just fine over-exposing himself, I hope hell give it a go for a few years and play as often as he can.
Greg Norman winning on the Champions Tour is expected. He should find the winners circle, right? Well, thats not even that easy. No guarantees for dominance. Ask Fuzzy or Lanny. Ask Crenshaw or Pate. Norman hasnt exactly been playing a full schedule the last few years to stay sharp. And that will make winning quickly a slightly taller task.
That said, take your hat off to recent new members like Craig Stadler and Peter Jacobsen. They found ways to play great golf into their late 40s and keep it going, and going. Heck, they both won on the PGA Tour in the last few years. Norman, for all his talent, wasnt able to play enough to stay on top of his game a la Jay Haas whos as consistent at 50 as he was at 30.
So given that, is the Shark literally in a no-win situation? I highly doubt it. But figuratively speaking I dont think theres any doubt about it.
If he wins, hes expected to. If he doesnt ' hes set up for more conversation about being an underachiever. Its kind of sad, really.
Despite plans to hold off on his debut week on the Champions circuit, I wish hed take this birthday as a golden opportunity to remind people of just how dominant he was and how dominant he can be again. I wish hed make a commitment like Hale Irwin to show himself just how great he was at the height of his career.
Greg Norman making a run at Irwins Champions Tour win total and major record would be the best thing the Tour could ask for.
It might just give us match-ups with Watson, playoffs with Stadler, major battles with Strange, future showmanship with Funk and grind-it-out Sundays with Loren Roberts when he arrives later this year.
Gosh, it might even make Irwin himself stick around for a few more runs at the Charles Schwab Cup.
Ill understand if Norman chooses the part-time path. I just hope he wont.
As a University of Missouri alum, Im quite familiar with the term Stormin Norm. Norm Stewart led Tiger fans to more basketball victories than any coach in school history.
Now if Stormin Greg Norman would catch that Irwin-like bug and chase down the heavyweight belt for most victories in Champions Tour history, we might really see the tour take off. And if not Norman patience will be required to find somebody who will.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Notah: Driver is Tiger's No. 1 pre-Masters concern
Tiger Woods mounted a Sunday charge at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, sending shockwaves through Bay Hill when it looked as though he might finally claim PGA Tour victory No. 80.
But the charge came to an end at the par-5 16th, where Woods had missed wide-right three days in a row before going OB-left on Sunday en route to bogey.
Woods’ API performance featured just a handful of drivers each day, as firm and fast conditions allowed him to make frequent use of a 2-iron off the tee.
That strategy led to a second top-5 finish in as many weeks, but if Woods wants to win again, if he wants claim another major, he is going to sort out his issues with the big stick.
A guest Monday morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Golf Channel’s Notah Begay believes the driver will be a focus for Woods in his pre-Masters preparation.
“Project No. 1 over the next two weeks is going to be the driver. … Any time he has to turn a shot right to left with trouble on the left, he struggles a little bit,” Begay said.
“Off the sixth tee, off the ninth tee, there was some errant shots. And then we saw the really horrible tee shot yesterday at 16. He talked about in the post-round comments. He just didn’t commit to a shot, and the worst thing that a professional athlete can do to themselves to compromise performance is not commit.
“And so he made a terrible swing, and that’s the miss that is really difficult for him to recover from, because the majority of his misses are out to the right. So, when you eliminate one half of the golf course, you can really make your way around … a lot easier. When you have a two-way miss going, which sometimes creeps into his driver, it really makes it difficult to take out some of the trouble that you’re looking at when you’re standing on the tee box.
“So he has to focus in on trying to find some way to navigate Augusta National with the driver, because it’s a course that’s going to force you to hit driver.”
McIlroy trails only Woods in Masters betting odds
After rallying for victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy is once again among the betting favorites for the upcoming Masters.
McIlroy was available at 16/1 at the Westage Las Vegas SuperBook last week, listed behind six other players. But after his three-shot win at Bay Hill, his odds were trimmed to 10/1 leaving him behind only betting favorite Tiger Woods.
Next month will mark McIlroy's fourth opportunity to close out the final leg of the career Grand Slam by slipping into a green jacket. Here's a look at the current betting odds, with the first round only 17 days away:
8/1: Tiger Woods
10/1: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas
14/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose
16/1: Jason Day, Jon Rahm
18/1: Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson
25/1: Paul Casey, Bubba Watson
30/1: Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama
40/1: Henrik Stenson, Marc Leishman
50/1: Alex Noren
60/1: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters
80/1: Branden Grace, Brian Harman, Tony Finau, Charley Hoffman, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay
100/1: Zach Johnson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner
NBC Sports' Final Round Coverage of Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard Scores Highest-Rated Overnight at Event in Six Years
Arnold Palmer Invitational and Valspar Championship Post Two Highest-Rated Final Round PGA TOUR Telecasts (Non-Majors) on Any Broadcast Network since the 2015 Wyndham Championship
ORLANDO, Fla., March 19, 2018 – Record viewership of the PGA TOUR continued this weekend for NBC Sports Group at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Sunday’s final round coverage on NBC (2-6:45 p.m. ET) delivered a 3.6 overnight rating, +136% vs. 2017 and the highest-rated final round at this event in six years. Combined with last week’s final round viewership at the Valspar Championship (5.1 overnight rating) these rank as the two highest-rated final round PGA TOUR telecasts (non-majors) on any broadcast network since the 2015 Wyndham Championship. Golf Channel’s Sunday final-round lead-in coverage earned a .97 overnight rating, the highest at this event in five years. Across NBC and Golf Channel’s coverage, more than 12 million minutes were streamed, +683% vs. 2017.
ADDITIONAL SUNDAY NOTES
- Sunday’s final round coverage on NBC peaked to a 4.89 from 5:15-5:30 p.m. ET.
- Golf Channel’s lead-in coverage peaked to a 1.24 from 1:30-2 p.m. ET.
Saturday’s third round coverage earned a 2.29 overnight rating on NBC (2:30-6 p.m. ET), +92% vs. 2017 and the highest-rated at this event in five years. Golf Channel’s lead-in coverage (Noon-2:30 p.m. ET) earned a .95 overnight rating, +126% vs. 2017. Nearly 5.3 million minutes were streamed, +511% vs. 2017.
Friday’s second-round coverage on Golf Channel generated a .81 overnight rating, +153% vs. 2017 and the second highest-rated early round at this event on Golf Channel (2007-2018), just slightly behind the 2012 second round (.84). More the 4.2 million minutes were streamed on Golf Channel Digital, +682% vs. 2017.
Final numbers from Golf Channel’s opening round coverage on Thursday: .42 U.S. HH rating and 593,000 viewers, +56% vs. 2017 and the most-watched opening round at this event since 2011. More than 1.4 million minutes were streamed, +163% vs. 2017.
NEXT UP FOR NBC SPORTS GROUP: WGC-DELL TECHNOLOGIES MATCH PLAY
Four of the top-20 players in the world, Jon Rahm (No. 3), Tommy Fleetwood (No. 11), Tyrrell Hatton (No. 16) and Pat Perez (No. 19) are scheduled to join the live World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play Bracket Special tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. The 90-minute live primetime special will originate from Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, Texas, and feature golf’s own version of a March bracket-style tournament selection format under the guidance of PGA TOUR competition officials.
LIVE TOURNAMENT COVERAGE: WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY, MARCH 21-25
NBC Sports Group will feature nearly 35 live hours of tournament coverage from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Golf Channel will carry live coverage of round robin matches Wednesday-Friday, March 21-23. On Saturday, March 24, Golf Channel will provide coverage of the Round of 16, followed by the Quarterfinals matches airing on NBC. On Sunday, March 25, Golf Channel will showcase the Semifinals matches, followed by the Championship and Consolation matches airing on NBC.
-NBC Sports Group-
Love to play first Champions major at U.S. Senior Open
Davis Love III turned 50 in 2014, but he’s been a part-time participant on the PGA Tour Champions.
Since turning 50, Love – who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame last fall – has played 73 tournaments on the PGA Tour, but just nine on the over-50 circuit.
Although his competitive dance card might not be changing any time soon, Love is expanding his schedule, adding the U.S. Senior Open to his line up this year.
The U.S. Senior Open will be played June 28-July 1 at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The championship will be Love’s first senior major, and his third event this year on the Champions circuit; but he’s not prepared to leave the regular tour behind just yet.
“The Senior PGA is against Colonial [Fort Worth Invitational], again. I want to play Colonial. I love Colonial, I’d like to play there another time or two,” Love said. “But the timing for the Senior Open worked out and it’s at the Broadmoor, which is really nice.”