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My Shot: Greg Norman

Continued (page 2 of 2)

My exposure to some of the best financial minds in the world taught me one thing: Never put your money at risk. When you sign your name on the bottom line, make sure you aren't the guarantor of anything. Invest in things where, in a worst-case scenario, you don't get the return you hoped for, but still get a return.

Tiger is almost halfway to Jack's record in the majors. I've got a feeling the second half will be much harder than the first. See, great players have always appeared every 10 years. Arnold Palmer is 10 years older than Jack, who's 10 years older than Watson. Bobby Jones was 10 years older than Nelson, Hogan and Snead, who were the same age. Somewhere there's a kid — maybe several of them — exactly 10 years younger than Tiger, who's 28. They're working hard on their games and dreaming of nothing else but being the best. In five years they're going to make it very, very hard for Tiger. Will he break the record? Time will tell.

Some players have good hand/eye coordination. Others have feel. My strength was a sense of where I am in space and a feel for the things around me. Depth perception, sensing where the wind is coming from and how hard it's blowing, how firm a green is just by looking at it, that sort of thing. You can spin me around in a dark room, and when you stop I can tell you which way north is. When I hunt or fish in the wild or go scuba diving, I have no apprehension about my surroundings. When you play with someone who seems to be a "natural," they often have this sense.

I wouldn't mind seeing the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup joined into a truly international three-way competition. But the PGA Tour, which controls the Presidents Cup, would have to concede some control, and the people there don't want to give up control of anything. I found that out when I tried to start a form of the World Golf Championships. I was knocked down by the PGA Tour and told it would be bad for golf, only to watch the people there create the very thing I had in mind. With the PGA Tour, it's all about control.

Bob Tway holing it from the bunker, I could live with. It was a shot that a good pro holes fairly often. Robert Gamez and David Frost holing out to beat me, they hurt, but I got over them. The one that killed me inside was Larry Mize's chip at the Masters. That was destiny saying, You aren't going to win this tournament.

In high school the teacher would give us the cane. If you got out of line, out would come the bamboo cane, five feet long. They made you hold out your hands, and whack! The number of whacks depended on the severity of the offense. Man, did that smart. I don't look back on it as being particularly barbaric. It was fair, effective discipline.

When I turn 50 I might play in the senior majors, but that's it. One reason I developed outside business interests was so I wouldn't be dependent on playing to make a living. And it might be a moot point — the Champions Tour might not even exist by the time I turn 50.

I was for Casey Martin, big time. The PGA Tour blew it, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer blew it. I thought it was disgraceful. They forgot to ask themselves one question: What if he were my own son?

Some golfers are consistently lucky. They hit their ball in the trees, and as you help them look for it, you get the feeling you'll not only find the ball, but they'll have a good lie and an opening. Sure enough, they do. The luckiest golfer I've known is Freddie Couples. Ask Fred; he'll admit he's lucky. My luck is average, with a couple of the bad breaks happening at crucial times.

I can still win a major. I'll try like heck to get to the Masters this year, and if that doesn't work out I'll try to pre-qualify for the U.S. Open, because Shinnecock Hills is my favorite golf course. My best chance will always be at the British Open.

The best ball flight in golf is a power fade. A draw-type swing with the face a shade open at impact. My whole career I aimed at the left edge of the rough and swung as hard as I could. I never worried about the ball going left. I've had my problems, but driving the ball long and straight has never been one of them.

I don't like to guarantee anything — that it won't rain tomorrow,that the new washing machine won't break down the next time I use it or that I'll hole a six-inch putt. The only guarantee I make is that I'll follow through on a commitment I've made. Even that's dangerous, because I might not wake up tomorrow.

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July 28, 2014

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