No matter what happens in British Open's final round, Greg Norman didn't choke: There's no choking at age 53
Greg Norman could shoot an 85 today in the final round of the British Open and he wouldn’t have choked. Norman could pull off two Phil Mickelson’s at Winged Foot, fall face first into three different bunkers, hit a shot backwards and he still wouldn’t have choked.
There is no choking when you’re a 53-year-old leading a major championship. A real major, not one of those trumped-up, propped-up faker events on the Geezer Tour (which thankfully, Norman mostly shuns).
Norman’s already pulled off the amazing at Royal Birkdale by taking the lead into today’s final round. Not closing the deal will not sully that achievement, it will only deny an even better story.
Has The Shark choked numerous times during the prime of his career? No doubt. But today cannot be considered one of them - no matter what transpires. Greg Norman gets to play with house money in the British Open. Any 53-year-old leading a major does.
So please hold the Greg Norman choked again nonsense. No matter what he does or doesn’t do. Choke cannot apply to Norman - not in this wonderful case.
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I think everyone has an idea of where im going with this.
That's no choke, just not the storybook finish to an already unbelievable tale.
Of course, he choked in the second round of an amatuer golf tournament he had a lead in yesterday and unless he pulls out the win today, I'm sure you will be chastising him with choke insult blogs again. Story is, he also lost three straight years of playoff games with Eastern Illinois in College as starting QB, all great regular seasons. So maybe it is just a trend in championships. Maybe he will win this one?
Maybe I'm braggin' on yah too early.
But I'll make it simple for you. We know that Norman played far worse in the final round than in the first three; that is a fact. Now, if you had to bet your life, what would you say the cause was? Was it physical, technical or mental? You can say what you want here, but in your heart there is no way you'd bet on the first two.
Lastly, the relativism typical of our age is apparent here. Some of you speak as if choking is something relative, which can only manifest itself when certain unrelated criteria are met, such as the individual in question being of a certain age or practicing a minimum amount of time. Well, this is like saying that a given player could not have been mentally tough because he's only 12 or is a woman. Again, choking is the result of a real and specific mental state, one that can manifest itself in a person regardless of age, race, religion, sex, creed or practice habits.
If the wind had been calm and everyone around him was shooting in the 60's, THEN you could call it a choke. It looked like the average score yesterday was in the mid-to-high 70's, so the weather and the course dominated the players, and the 53-year old Norman basically played to the level of the rest of the field.
I give credit where credit is due. Norman is a phenomenal talent, a physical specimen and a great athlete. And in light of his and viewing this in retrospect, it really isn't surprising that he was able to contend.
However, between the ears is a different matter. If Norman had Woods' mental toughness, he probably would have won almost as many majors and prevailed on Sunday.
Moreover, even if it wasn't a full-fledged choke, the bottom line is that he faltered the British mainly because of psychological factors.
Now, having said that, I think his game plan of hitting driver so much was fairly moronic. But that's always been the way he played. and that in good part is why he's only won 2 Majors. Extreme conditions demand good thinking and that's never been GN's strong suit.
Deviation toward the mean occurred to me, but I don't think it was the main cause of Norman's stumble. I'll illustrate my point.
In 1998, 58-year-old Jack Nicklaus, visibly limping due to a bad hip (this was just before his hip-replacement surgery), found himself in contention for the Masters after three rounds. On the final day, he closed in grand style by shooting a 68, his best round of the tournament. Alas, it wasn't enough for a victory, as he was too far back. But he did thrill the crowds and finish only three or four shots behind the winner, Mark O'Meara.
Here is my point: If a 50-something Nicklaus had found himself playing well enough to be two strokes in the lead at the British going into the final round, do you really think he would have closed with a 77?
I understand that not everyone is Nicklaus, but that's my point. It's the difference between someone who rises to the occasion and someone who folds.
Norman folds more than a Chinese laundry.
I knew he'd mess it up on Sunday though. For the first three days, he looked like he was enjoying it. On Sunday, he just look tired.
Shucks y'all - I'm 5 years younger than he is, in very good physical condition, and have a 4 handicap - his Sunday score was pretty darn impressive for the conditions...I would have been hard pressed to do as well if it were DAY ONE instead of FOUR!!
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