Greg Norman explains how, in 1996, a seed of doubt was sown Masters’ failure
In the current golf age, Greg Norman is generating headlines for other reasons, but the ghosts of his past continue to follow him around.
Long after his playing days, Norman has continued to be a divisive presence on the PGA Tour. However, despite being a multifaceted success, Norman’s career on the course still makes the former world No. 1 shudder.
The Australian’s concerns over his multiple final-day failures, most notably his notorious slide at the 1996 Masters, are exposed in a new ESPN 30 for 30 documentary named Shark.
In 1986, 1987, and 1996, Norman finished second at the Masters; yet, his defeat to Faldo there will always be remembered by golf fans as cementing his status as the king of the “Saturday Slam” due to his inability to win championships on the final day.
Prior to Sunday, Norman had a six-shot advantage over the Englishman. However, Faldo’s surge and Norman’s second-nine meltdown helped Faldo win his third green jacket, five strokes clear of the Australian.
The documentary shows Norman witnessing the 1996 Masters final round for the first time, which is tough for him to see. When film of his shots missing the hole, the green, or the lake was presented to him, the expression on his face said it all.
When he missed an eagle on the 15th during that crucial final round, he may have made one of his most well-known shots at Augusta, falling to his knees in anger and helping Faldo win.
After completing the third round with a six-shot lead, Norman said his confidence began to waver when he ran across British writer Peter Dobereiner in the parking lot.
Dobereiner joked, “Not even you could screw this up.”
That was the first time Norman thought, “Oh my god,” he recounted.
“Something entered my body. Peter, why did you just say that? My brain was invaded by something.
“Given that it is not the golfer I am familiar with, you must naturally feel terrible about the whole situation.
“It was simply a convergence of trash at that time, from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, total agony,” the author said.
Greg Norman’s Fall
Producers arranged for Norman to play the Augusta National course in the documentary, and the 63-year-old hit an approach shot on the ninth hole, when he says: “On a Sunday in 1996, I would have taken that. What a change a quarter-century makes.”
“I don’t believe I would be willing to be dragged back to there when I truly lost it,” Faldo told documentary makers.
“Would you pay to see a terrible film again? You wouldn’t spend another $20 if you felt the movie was poor. That’s putting yourself through the wringer, in my opinion.”
Norman has finished second four times in his career, behind only Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, and Arnold Palmer.
There’s also speculation among golfers that the Australian got “snakebit” on multiple occasions and was the victim of poor luck. That notion is based on the fact that journeymen golfers stole his thunder in majors on several occasions.
When Larry Mize’s unbelievable chip sank in at the 1987 Masters, Norman stated he sobbed.
“It was terrible, terribly tough,” Norman remarked of the outcome.
“I returned home and sobbed on the beach.” All of these questions will occupy your mind for months.”
After so many second-place results, Norman remembers having lingering feelings.
“Oh my God, what did I do wrong?” Did I make a mistake? “Why does it happen to me on a regular basis but not to anybody else?” Norman inquires.
“All these dumb thoughts flash through your head, and it was quite tough for me.”
“(However,) if people want to look at it from a snakebite perspective, maybe there are other things in life that have been quite wonderful for me as well.” “What you lose on one hand, you may get on the other.”
Norman fiercely denied being a “choker,” claiming that his record reflects how many tournaments he had won.
“In 1986, I played 27 events and won 11 of them,” he remarked.
“Was I still going to be a choker if I won two majors? I’m not sure.”
He won the British Open twice but never the Masters. The 67-year-old believes he is now at peace with his error in 1996.
“Would my life today be different if I wore a green jacket? No. It would have looked great in my trophy cabinet, but it would have made no difference in my life. I was both fortunate and unfortunate “He said.
“What occurred in 1996 is now history. I’m comfortable with it now. It hurt for a long, but now I can talk about it honestly and emotionally.”
To learn more about your favorite player and be updated on the tournaments just go to OKbet Sportsbook or directly go to OKbet.com.