Sunday, July 20, 2008

Too Bad for Norman

While I can't say I watched even a single moment of this year's British Open (and no, it had nothing to do with Tiger Woods not being involved) I feel the need to comment on it. I really wish Greg Norman had been able to hold on and win the tournament. Nothing against Padraig Harrington, in fact I actually like him a lot, but it would've been so great if Norman could've pulled it off. At 53 he would've been the oldest player to win a major (right now, Jack Nicklaus holds the record at 46) but even better he would've been able to salvage his tattered reputation.

I guess he probably has saved his reputation even without winning, but bringing home the Claret Jug would've really done the trick. I'll never forget his complete collapse at Augusta in 1996, it was probably the most awkward I've ever felt watching a sporting event. There's nothing you can do to help a guy who is completely losing it right in front of you, and for that to happen to what seemed to be a good guy, and on that kind of stage, was just awful. This just about sums up what happened that day twelve years ago.

Of course he'd won the British Open twice before, in 1986 and again in 1993, so it's not like he's this lovable loser. In fact he's one of the richest former athletes out there with his stakes in wine making, clothing, real estate and golf course development and construction, just to name a few. Plus he just married Chris Evert.

Still though, it would've been nice. People mention him in the same breath as Jean Van de Velde, and I suppose rightfully so. If there was any way for a guy to get off that list, this was it. He'll probably never contend for a major again, in fact I'm a little surprised he even entered the event to begin with since he's only a few years from qualifying for the Champions Tour, which is the old-guys league.

But I don't care about this for the story's sake. Things like that make me angry listening to sports columnists on tv and radio. It makes sense for them to want a good story because then they have something to write about without doing much work. But for the average fan, can't it be good enough to pull for a guy because he's a good guy?

1 comment:

trey said...

It's a good story because he is a good guy. I wish I was a sports writer, but since I'm not I'll just have to guess that sports writers like good stories because they're more fun to write than another twisted tale about a greedy player or organization or an arrest or the general childish activity that sporst is lousy with.

So it'd be easy to write a Greg Norman story because everyone likes him. Every likes Favre, which is why sports writers like him and why this latest twist in his tale is causing such a problem (could Favre be just like every other sports figure, a big baby?).

But I get what you're saying. The state of sports writing is on the decline. The big time writers are getting further and further away from what real fans think and feel and end up either being sports snobs or simply loud mouth assholes who say whatever gets attention (Around the Horn). Even Mike Lupica is starting to piss me off.

Just my thoughts as I was also bummed that Norman threw away the British Open and cemented his rep as the greatest choker in golf. Too bad and too sad since he is, as you point out, a nice guy.