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