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Rub of the Green

September 9, 2006

Rub of the Green: The Bard never played golf

TERRE HAUTE — If William Shakespeare were still alive, searching for a leading man for one of his famous tragedies such as “Julius Caesar,” “Othello” or “Hamlet,” Greg Norman would undoubtedly be a perfect fit for a leading man’s role.

No other golfer of the modern era has had defeat snatched away from what seemed to be a perfunctory victory so many times as the Shark. Norman’s prowess on golf courses throughout the world can’t be ignored as his once, number one ranking would attest, but then his opponents lined up to administer a number of heartbreaking defeats that would have made a lesser man deposit his golf clubs in the nearest lake.

It didn’t matter whether it was a PGA regular tour event or a major championship, it seemed as though the deck was always stacked against the broad shouldered Aussie.

It was in the PGA Championship that Bob Tway short sided himself in a deep greenside bunker. Norman was safely on the green when Tway banged his sand shot into the cup and when Norman missed a 30 foot putt the championship belonged to Tway.

In sudden death at The Masters with Larry Mize some 20 yards short of the green in two and Norman putting for a birdie, it appeared the Shark would have two putts for the win, but Mize’s pitch and run found the center of the cup. Once again the Shark had his pocket picked when he was unable to sink his 25 footer.

It was in Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Classic that Greg had the tournament won — almost. Robert Gamez came to the 72nd hole needing a bird to tie for the championship. He did a bit better than make birdie on the par four when his seven-iron second shot from 175 yards flew into the cup on the fly and the title was his. Gamez high-fived his caddy after the shot with too much gusto and injured his hand. The injury hampered his golf game for several years after the incident.

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