Norman: I 'probably would have' beaten Woods


Former world No. 1 Greg Norman has rarely, if ever, shied away from a chance to offer his opinion. A recent interview with Golf Magazine was no exception, as the Australian favorably assessed his standing against some of the game's best, including the man currently atop the world rankings.

"I never feared anything or anyone on the course, and I wasn't afraid to fail. So I think I'd do pretty well against Snead, Hogan, Tiger (Woods) and Phil (Mickelson) - whoever," Norman told the publication. "Tiger's a tough guy, but I was a tough guy on the course, too. I probably would have beat him."

The playing career of the two-time major champion drew to a close just as Woods' began to take off, with Norman struggling through his historic final-round collapse at The Masters in 1996, one year before Woods won his first green jacket at the age of 21. The most recent of Norman's 20 career PGA Tour wins came in August 1997, and the Australian has not made more than 10 PGA Tour starts in a year since 2002, a season in which Woods' five wins included both the Masters and the U.S. Open.

Later in the interview, Norman turned his attention to another former world No. 1, Rory McIlroy, whose struggles this year he insists extend beyond the realm of equipment.

"I spent a lot of time trying different shafts and, when I found a good match, making sure the spine was set in the same place on every club," added Norman. "I got it right, so I can't figure out why today's pros can't do likewise.

"Take Rory. It's absurd to say he has gear issues," Norman said of McIlroy, who recorded his first win of 2013 earlier this month at the Australian Open. "It's so easy to re-create the same specs and feel from one set to the next. Something else is going on (with him)."