On the surface, Sunday's final round of the British Open was just another in a string of disappointing major tournament finishes for Greg Norman.
Leading by two shots with 18 holes to play at Royal Birkdale, Norman shot a 7-over-par 77 in the final round in extremely windy conditions. Obviously, that wasn't good enough as Padraig Harrington carded a 1-under 69 to win his second consecutive British Open title and Norman tied for third at 9-over 289 for the championship.
Coughing up the lead meant Norman has now closed just once in the past seven times he's been the leader or co-leader after 54 holes of a major.
"I can stand here now and say, 'Yeah, I'm disappointed,'" Norman told reporters Sunday. "Where does it rank in those? Probably not as high as some of the other ones."
On the other side of the coin, consider that Norman is now 53 years old and would've been the oldest major champion ever had he prevailed in Southport, England. Add to that the fact that Norman doesn't play or practice nearly as much as he once did and he was actually on the tail end of his honeymoon with new bride Chris Evert.
Considering the circumstances, it's remarkable to most that Norman even stayed in contention through the weekend. All in all, he said it was a very good week for him as he was basically playing just to prepare for the upcoming Senior British Open and the Senior U.S. Open.
"I came in here with a good attitude and kind of like a fresh approach to life in general," said Norman, who has won two previous British Open titles. "It's really showed in my game."
It also seems Norman's performance has inspired several of his contemporaries.
"I think some of the more experienced and older guys can get around a course last week with the weather being like it is," Woosnam told reporters. "It's not surprising Greg did well. Maybe just a few shots here or there on the last round just didn't quite go right for him or he could have gone really close."
However, Norman said he doesn't consider his impressive British Open run a reason to dive back into golf on a full-time basis. His tie for third earned him an invitation to the Masters next April at Augusta National, but Norman said he isn't sure he'll go.
Norman said the only two events on his schedule right now are the Senior British Open and the Senior U.S. Open.
"I don't plan on playing any more golf after that for a while," Norman said. "I don't have anything on my schedule to do that. I have a lot of other work to do, so I'll wake up and in a couple weeks' time when I finish playing we'll see how I feel."
Disqualified for not singing her scorecard in her past LPGA event, Michelle Wie made more news this week when it was announced that she's once again planning on playing against the men in a PGA Tour event.
Wie is scheduled to make her third career appearance in the Reno-Tahoe Open, starting July 31 at Montreux Golf and Country Club.
"It's not every day that a woman is given the opportunity to play on the greatest tour in the world," Wie said in a statement. "This is a tremendous opportunity for me to learn from these great players and take those lessons into the future to becoming the best player I can be on any tour. This is another step in the process of making me a better player."
The tournament will mark Wie's eighth appearance on the PGA Tour, where she has yet to make a cut. Wie, 18, has just one sponsor's exemption remaining this year and is expected to play in the LPGA Tour's final event of the season, the CN Canadian Women's Open in August.
July 23, 2008
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
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