Greg Norman Makes The British Open the Most Compelling Open Ever

Stephen ACorrespondent IJuly 19, 2008

I've been following golf since I was six years old and have played the sport since I was three. I grew up in the Greg Norman era and watched him succumb to bitter defeat time after time in the Masters. I was such a fan of him that I went out and bought his famous black straw hat so that I could show it off on the course.

Without Tiger Woods in this tournament, everyone thought that this open wouldn't matter and that there should be an asterisk on the trophy reminding everyone that he wasn't there.

In a sense Woods is there and leading the tournament after three rounds. Norman was the yesteryear Tiger Woods of golf. He was ranked number one in the world with a record 331 weeks in a row. A record that was broken by Tiger. Norman is probably the best golfer ever to only win two Majors.

Now this week he's back and fighting to gain his first Major since 1993. He always has considered the British Open his favorite Major to play in. He hasn't even won a tournament since the 2001 Skins Game. 

Coming into the tournament, I think Greg was probably thinking that this might be the last major tournament he would play in. It's the first he's played in three years. I can remember watching him play a better ball tournament about a year ago where his son was actually hitting better shots than he was.

What does this mean for him now? If he finishes in the top four, he'll earn an exemption to play in the Masters next year. Something I'm not sure Greg thought about ever doing again. 

I believe that he does have the chance to win the tournament. Not much about his game has changed over the years. He has shown that his short game has been solid. That's how he will win the tournament. If he continues to show that he feels no pressure and putt solidly he will be in the hunt.

It will certainly be interesting to watch him play with Padraig Harrington from Ireland, who is somewhat the hometown favorite in England. But maybe the crowd will show more appreciation toward the Australian who lost to their beloved Nick Faldo numerous times.