How Greg Norman Saved The PGA Tour, For This Week At Least

Ian ZymarakisSenior Analyst IJuly 20, 2008

Through all the wind at Royal Birkdale and scores that could equal what you and I could possibly shoot on one day at a regular golf course, (John Daly shooting 89 on Friday) there stood a man who many thought was done and who many thought didn't even play golf anymore.

Greg Norman at age 53 went out this past weekend in the British Open to seemingly warm up for the Senior British Open at Troon and to continue on his honeymoon with former tennis champion Chris Evert.

What happened was something unthinkable, Greg Norman led the British Open up to the 63 hole mark when he seemingly lost the magic and finished in a tie for 3rd behind the now two time defending champ, Padraig Harrington.

In a tournament that did not have Tiger Woods and had the No.2 player in the world, Phil Mickelson, struggling, the tournament seemed doomed to build up much of an audience.

Greg Normans first round score of 70 drew many raised eyebrows on Thursday, but not to the point where they thought he was in contention. It was more of a nostalgic feeling as he and David Duval (former number one in the world before Tiger Woods took the reigns) both sat within reach of the leaders.

Day two saw both Norman and Duval continue their unthinkable play as both players sat on the main leaderboard heading into the weekend.

The third round saw Duval lose a step, shooting an 83, and taking him out of contention. But there he was, the Shark as he is known by many of his fans, still in contention and actually in the lead going into the final round of the British Open.

Could the 53 year old, part-time golfer actually be in the spotlight again and relive the glory days of old?

Up until the 9th hole it seemed that way, until the wind caught up to Norman and the driver that helped him out so much throughout the weekend started to fall off.

Norman went on to shoot a 39 on the back and fell out of contention, eventually losing by six strokes to Harrington.

But what Norman brought this weekend was a sense of revitalization to a sport in dire need of it since their pride and joy, in Tiger Woods, will not be back until the 2009 season due to a season ending knee surgery.

Don't compare this falter to the 1996 Masters which saw the Shark blow a six stroke lead in the final round.

The conditions at Birkdale were almost unbearable, winds so strong that players putting would have their balls blown away from the hole.

Instead lets raise our golf hats to Greg Norman, who for a week brought the attention back to the PGA Tour, and showed that an old man can still have a few tricks up his sleeve.

Now as golf falls back into sports obscurity in the coming weeks, we can always remember the weekend at Royal Birkdale, which almost saw a legend add another chapter in an already successful novel.

Thank you Greg Norman.