by Jeff Skinner
The Golf Channel’s new magazine show “Golf in America” is pretty watchable. The host, Anthony Anderson is an avid golfer and he has a pair of good gigs. He is the kick ass cop on “Law and Order” and to satisfy his golfing passion he hosts “Golf in America.” On this week’s show Rich Lerner did a piece on Greg Norman and his wife Chris Evert. Last year at the Open Championship Norman shocked everyone and played great to finish tied for third. Let me say that I have been a Norman fan for years. He was christened the “next Nicklaus.” He was the golfer that would supplant Jack as the world’s best. He was destined to win dozens of major championships. With his powerful frame and shocking white hair he captivated golf fans all over the world. Men wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him. In a phrase he was “the man.” I was one of those ardent fans. I played hooky to go watch him at the US Open in 1984 in his playoff with Fuzzy Zoeller. He and Jack were my favorites and Norman had a swagger that Jack did not. Funny how things happen in life, but on his way to being the next Nicklaus fate intervened. We all watched him become the most “snake-bitten “golfer in history. You know the stories of how Norman lost so many majors he appeared to have won. There is the blown six shot lead at The Masters, Bob Tway, Larry Mize, the 89 Open, the 89 Masters and the Saturday Slam, where Norman led all for majors on Saturday and only won the 86 Open. Through all that we all remained loyal fans to Norman.
Lately though, I have had enough of Greg Norman. The networks coverage of Norman’s play at the Open last year seemed like a reality show on MTV. You couldn’t watch any golf without seeing a piece on Norman and Evert and they were usually kissing or holding hands or professing their deep love for each other. Give me a break Greg. Act like an adult. Get a room or go make out in the back of a car like the sixteen year old kid you are acting like. Sure, I understand you feel revitalized and have a new passion for golf and tennis and everything else but give it a rest. Norman and his previous wife Laura and Evert and her ex-husband Andy Mill were very close friends and spent plenty of time together as couples. Mill considered Norman his best friend at the time. Norman and Evert married shortly after they both divorced their spouses. The personal lives of sports figures are their own business and I wish they could live their lives in private. Tiger Woods takes great care to protect his privacy. Since Norman and Evert continue to do interviews where they focus on nothing but their relationship they are fair game to be called on it. During the Golf in America piece the usually astute Rich Lerner, asked Norman if Chris was around him twenty years ago would he have won some of those majors he lost. Are you kidding me Rich? What kind of question is that? Isn’t that a little insulting to Laura Norman?
I am looking forward to The Open this week and I hope Norman plays well. But I really hope the networks lighten up on the Norman /Evert “soul mate” angle. It has gotten a little old and insulting. If I want to watch people with huge egos talk about themselves and make out I’ll put on the”E-Network or MTV”. I don’t want to see it on my golf telecasts. Raise your hand if you had enough of Greg Norman. I have.