On the phone from his Colorado ranch, just two days removed from being released from the hospital after a chainsaw accident, Greg Norman confessed to one regret.
"I wanted to go home and cut that son of a bitch down," Norman said of the sea-grape tree he had been trying to tame with a chainsaw. "You fall off a horse, you get back on it."
Instead, Norman will wisely put the tree-trimming aside for now. On Saturday, after returning from an overseas trip, the 59-year-old Norman set out to cut back some of the branches at his Jupiter Island, Fla., home.
Looking back, Norman said he had a premonition that afternoon "something bad was going to happen," and he was right. When one of the branches broke, Norman's left wrist fell down on the blade of his chain saw. Fortunately, Norman had instinctively taken his finger off the chainsaw trigger, otherwise, doctors told him, he could have lost his hand. Even so, the damage was significant.
"It certainly didn't feel good, but then I looked down and blood was squirting," Norman said.
In pain but not panicking, Norman acted quickly: He had his wife, Kiki, meet him in the backyard with a towel and a tourniquet, then called his son Greg to have him take him to the hospital, and lastly he called Jupiter Medical Center to tell them he was on his way. Although he ended up requiring surgery to repair nerve damage, he was assured by doctors he wouldn't suffer long-term damage.
"It was just one of those freak accidents," he said.
Most remarkable about the sequence of events is why a multi-millionaire golfer and executive was out trimming his own trees in the first place. But that, Norman said, is just who he is.
"I'm a do-it-myself kind of guy," he said. "I enjoy doing it. It's in my DNA. I'm out on the ranch, driving bulldozers and graders, chain sawing 100-foot pine trees. I like it. I grew up that way."
In fact, it is because Norman is so intent on doing much of his own handiwork that explains why he left for Colorado soon after his surgery.
"I didn't want to wake up and look down and see the sea-grape trees still there," he said.