More Than Just a Shark By: Keaton Thomas IDEA English II Acc. Per. 1 Mr. Mooney “I hate failure. The Idea of failure is, I think, my driving force.” – Greg Norman An Opening Statement Greg Norman started out his life as a humble and athletically gifted Australian boy, who through practice and hard work, made it to the top of the world, and inspiring many people along his journey. As a Baby Shark Greg Norman’s early life is what really prepared him for the rest of his life. After picking up the game of golf as a teenager he loved it so much. He stuck to the ways of his father who always was an advocate of Hard work to make it to the top, as he did the same in his electrical job. As a Baby Shark (cont.) His father wanted him to go to college so he could build himself a solid foundation for life, but Greg never enjoyed school, he could never apply himself. Greg insisted that one day, he would make it in life and did it his own way. As a teenager Greg played rugby and Australian rules. He was a strong and athletic boy, but chose to play golf. “Before I’m thirty, I’ll be a millionaire. I’ll be the best golfer in the world and I’ll be married to an American.” (St. Johns 12) No Amateur Mistake Greg started off his career on the Australian golf tour. In 1976, Greg Norman turned pro and began playing on the Australian tour. After numerous junior victories, his first professional victory came at the West Lakes Classic in Australia. After his first professional victory, he went international competing in Europe and Asia. His success was inevitable. The Middle Years In the middle of his career which was during the 80’s and early 90’s Norman saw most of his success. He became a world figure during this time. With many wins on the European tour, he decided to come and play in America. By the mid 80’s Norman had become the best player not to win one of golf’s major tournaments. His Major Wins At this time in his career, Greg Norman was known at this time as the best player in the world to not have won a major title. This all changed in 1986 when he won his first British Open Championship. The weather was terrible during the first few rounds of the tournament, but after putting together the best final round in championship history, he claimed his first and long awaited major title. Greg Norman said “I’m here for one thing, to win the open.” (St. Johns 103) His Major Wins (cont.) 1993 was another magical year for Greg Norman in England as he racked up his second British open title. This time it was against “one of the strongest fields in open history.” (St. John 188). After the first three rounds of play, everyone was together at the top, it was the last round that would decide it all. After all was said and done, Greg Norman came in with the lowest final round in major championship history with a 64. This led him to win his second major title and his second British open and his second time hoisting the Claret Jug for the second time. Winner of the 1932 British Open said that Norman’s performance was “the most awesome display of golf I have ever seen.” (St. Johns 194) Other Wins • Greg Norman has 91 career victories – 20 on the US PGA tour – 71 international victories • Was inducted to the Golf Hall of fame in 2001 • Was the worlds #1 golfer for 331 straight weeks However… It wasn’t all peaches and cream for Greg Norman in the big tournaments. Those two were the only two majors he won. Greg Norman remembers that Teddy Roosevelt once said that it was better to “know the agony and the ecstasy of defeat and victory than live forever in the twilight of never having felt either one.” One Major Stolen In the 1986 PGA Championship, Norman found himself leading going into the final hole. After playing two good shots to the front of the green to make an easy par, Bob Tway played to terrible shots and was in the sand trap next to the green. Norman then saw out of the corner of his eye, Bob Tway sink his impossible bunker shot. “I still thought I was going to chip it in, ‘cause I’ll be damned if I was going to lose that Championship” (ST. Johns 126) said Norman. He never did and lost on a miraculous shot, one of many in his career. Not Again The Masters is the tournament of tournaments in the golf world, and Greg Norman wanted nothing else to win. Greg Norman was in the lead going into the final round of the tournament but was tied on the last hole to force a playoff in the 1987 Masters. Once again Norman played a flawless hole and had a long putt for birdie. Larry Mize, the player against him in the playoff hit the ball way right of the green and had another impossible shot to overcome. Greg Norman put his first put to a couple of feet and prepared to watch Larry Mize chip. Not Again (cont.) Larry Mize was preparing to chip, desperately trying to calm himself down, to put in close. “Thousands of miles away… in Australia, [Norman’s friend and coach, Charlie] Earp, ‘felt a cold shiver’ pass through him as the American set up to the ball.” (St. Johns 136). Mize chipped it across the green and the ball dove into the hole. Greg was thinking to himself “I couldn’t believe it was going in.” (ST. Johns 136). Epilogue to the Drama “Greg Norman will lost the next U.S. Open when Joe Bob Zilch holes a wedge from the top of a eucalyptus tree on the third extra hole in San Francisco. Norman will lost the British Open when Sam Sausage holes out a wedge from ten fathoms beneath the Firth of Forth on the fifth extra hole at Muirfield. Norman will lose the PGA Championship in Palm Beach when Rex Shank holds out a wedge from inside a jewelry store on the seventh extra hole. Norman will then retire and autograph straightjackets for a living.” (St. Johns 138) Epilogue to the Drama (Cont.) This was just the author Laura St. Johns describing Normans luck in Majors. The same thing has been done to him multiple times in other less important tournaments around the world with spectacular finishes that Greg was not a part of. It was also him in a few majors where he had the lead going into the final round and completely choked. Norman once said, “The Law of averages says you win 50 percent of the time, not lose 100 percent of the time.” (St. Johns 165) Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated said “Greg Norman reminds me of the movies. Every time you think he’s going to get the girl and ride off into the sunset, his horse breaks a leg.” Setbacks • Greg Norman has suffered from injuries like any other person in professional sports. Some of them are… – Broken tooth, after playing Rugby as a kid – An a sprained wrist and broken thumb (this was after hitting a golf shot out of some grass with rocks in it.) – A kidney stone – Lower back soreness (can really affect your golf game) His Business Empire Merv Norman, Greg’s dad, wanted him to go to college so he could have something to fall back on in life. In response, Greg made a pretty good fallback plan for after his golfing days were over. “Norman used to fall asleep in business meetings, bored rigid by the plotting and planning he paid others to do … later he found that he loved the high risk wheeling and dealing.” (St. John 216) Some of Greg’s Things • Owns his own multi-million dollar clothing enterprise called Great White Shark • He designs golf courses • He is a partner in a real estate company • A partner in Medalist Developments a master planned community builder. • He owns a turf company for growing grass • He owns a restaurant chain called Greg Norman’s Australian Grille • He Owns a wine making company Some of Greg’s Things (cont.) • He owns a beef producing company called Australian Prime. • He is a director and shareholder of SKY Shades which is an outdoor roofing company • He is a partner in GPS Industries for golf use • He also has his name on many golf tournaments that he sponsors. Some of Greg’s Personal Things • Greg Norman Owns and 82 inch luxury yacht of his own design. • He owns his own private Boeing 747 jet. • He lives in a giant $65 million in Hobe Sound, Florida and other homes in Australia. • He owns a private helicopter • Greg Norman has a need for speed – – – – – – 4 Ferraris Rolls Royce Mercedes Benz Many Chevy Suburbans Many other high octane sport vehicles 18 cars total Fun Facts • He hit a Kangaroo driving on an Australian freeway • Caught a Great Wight Shark while Fishing • He has saved a man’s life while surfing • Led the pace car in the Indy 500 • Flew and F-18 fighter jet (since he was a boy he always wanted to be a fighter pilot) • President Clinton tore ligaments in his knee, while residing at Norman’s house Greg Norman: The Conclusion Throughout Greg Norman’s life he has been able to put his mind on something and then go out and do it. No problem; he is a single minded individual. He chose to play golf instead of any other sport (he was very athletically gifted) because it gave him the challenge. If he were to go out and win everyday, he would be bored. And through each loss, he has handled them with the grace and respect that only the greatest men can do. He is a street smart individual who knows what to do in every situation. Basically Greg Norman is a True Gentleman on and off the golf course who plays the ultimate Gentleman’s game. ‘S Works Cited Anderson, Dave. "WHEN WILLNORMAN BE UP TO NORM?" New York Times 19 June 1988. 10 May 2008 <http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE4DF1E30F 93AA25755C0A96E948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all>. Norman, Greg. Greg Norman: the Way of the Shark. United Kingdom: Ebury P, 2006. Reilly, Rick. "Norman Conquest." Sports Illustrated. St. John, Laura. The Shark. Nashville, Tennessee: Rutledge Hill P, 1998.
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