Sunday, July 20, 2008

Not an Underachiever

If you are a sports fan, you will undoubtedly pick up a newspaper tomorrow and read that Greg Norman choked again.

I’m sure you will read about the 96 Masters when Norman, better known as The Great White Shark, was leading by six strokes after three rounds only to lose by five strokes after a collapse on the final day that was voted by ESPN as the third biggest sports choke in the past 25 years. You will also probably read about 1986 when Norman led all four majors but won only one of them that year. Although he was ranked the number one golfer in the world for seven years you will read that he is known as an underachiever.

Greg Norman won 87 professional golf tournaments in his career including the Players Championship and two British Opens. I don’t think there are a whole lot of folks in the history of golf on that list. He has played in 88 major championships and won two, has had 8 second place finishes, 14 top three finishes, 20 top five finishes and 30 top ten finishes. In 1991 he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Doesn’t sound too shabby to me.

His business successes with companies like MacGregor Golf and Greg Norman Golf Design ain’t too shabby either. He is worth hundreds of millions of dollars (or at least he was until his recent divorce). She probably got a hundred or two of that but I would think with his recent marriage to tennis legend Chrissie Evert, he got it back and more.

Norman’s hobbies don’t represent underachievement either. An avid offshore fisherman, Norman has owned several rather nice boats. His latest one has been better described as a ship. This underachiever you will read about sold it for a reported $77 Million dollars.

This week, only three weeks after his highly publicized marriage to Evert, he entered the British Open to practice for some senior events coming up. Although the Shark has played very little competitive golf in in the last 10 years or so, I think his new found happiness in his marriage spurred him on to compete again.

When this 53 year old golf fan turned on the TV Saturday morning and saw that a 53 year old golfing legend was leading The Open, it got my attention. At the end of the day this 53 year old so called underachiever was leading the entire field.

So the questions began. Would he falter again? Would the famous underachiever blow it again? The thought of him even putting himself in the position to lose again almost made me sick at my stomach. But winners always do that. I don’t think I have ever pulled for a golfer as much as I was pulling for Norman today. When my preacher at church this morning asked us to bow our heads to pray, I said a prayer for the Shark. Not kidding. “God, let him win it for the all the naysayers.”

He didn’t win today.

But he is still a winner.

When he walked off the course today, I wasn’t thinking underachiever. I was thinking class. When interviewed, he showed the graciousness of a true champion during the interview that he showed on the the course all day. I literally had tears in my eyes.

But you will undoubtedly read somewhere that Norman again demonstrated he is an underachiever.

You show me any 53 year old man that has EVER led one of the four Major golf tournaments after three rounds and I will drive to Athens GA and dribble a basketball buck naked down the middle of Milledge Avenue.

This 53 year old blogger won’t be doing that (thank goodness) because you will have a hard time finding that golfer.

In fact, that is a really short list. Greg Norman may just be the only man in the history of golf on that list.

Doesn’t sound like an underachiever to me.


Don Lane said...

I went to Greg's website to try and figure out how to send him your blog but couldn't. He has several posted notes from fans, but none compare to yours.
I really think he'd enjoy your tribute. On behalf of all his fans, please send it to him, e or regular mail.

Tom said...

You are correct, Julius Boras was the oldest at the age of 48.