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Golf pro, Greg Norman, was born on February 10, 1955 in Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia. Norman is an Australian professional golfer and entrepreneur who spent 331 weeks as the world's number one ranked golfer in the 1980s and 1990s. He is nicknamed "The Great White Shark," or simply "The Shark," a reference to a shark inhabiting Australian waters as well as Norman's blond hair, size and aggressive golf style.
With Jack Nicklaus past his best, Greg Norman was regarded as probably the game's greatest long hitter. In his heyday, driving long and incredibly straight off the tee similar to that of Nick Price his contemporary with a persimmon (wood) clubhead, he intimidated most of his fellow professionals. However, with the advent of the "metal-wood" by TaylorMade and other subsequent advances in golf ball and golf club technology (especially the variable face depth driver), his dominance was significantly diminished, as the "new technology" enabled less precise ball-strikers to achieve equal or better accuracy and distance. Whether the cause was shaken confidence, the new technology, or the emergence of golf's next generation of young stars (including Tiger Woods), Norman was never the same after his final Masters collapse.
Since then he has focused more and more on business ventures and golf course design than on competitive play. He turned 50 in February 2005, but has kept his distance from the senior golf circuit. Partly this is because of his other interests, but also because of back and knee injuries. (He required knee surgery for the latter in October 2005 and February 2006.) Norman believes his back injuries could have been averted had he been introduced to the concept of golf fitness early in his career.
Articulate and with a friendly image, Norman has for years been a spokesman for companies including General Motors-Holden, which developed a Commodore model named after him. His own businesses interests include MacGregor Golf and Greg Norman Golf Course Design. He continues to play tournaments, his growing business interests take up an increasing amount of his time. His personal wealth is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars.
Norman's hobbies include offshore game fishing. He has owned a succession of increasingly large and luxurious boats (though his latest, called Aussie Rules, after the sport Australian rules football, may best be described as a small ship) for the purpose. He even described his "ugly" 1993 PGA Championship loss "[i]n fishing terms, this was a mackerel in the moonlight—shining one minute, smelly the next." He became a wine lover in the 1970s while playing at tournaments in Europe. During Norman's first trip to the United States in 1976, when he was chosen to represent Australia in the World Cup of Golf in Palm Springs, he soaked up as much of the culture as he could, including trying California's wines. In the 1990's, Norman partnered with winemakers from Berringer Blass to launch Greg Norman Estates wineries. Based in Hobe Sound, Florida, he typically plays only one or two tournaments per year in his homeland of Australia.
Greg Norman won the PGA Tour of Australia's Order of Merit six times: 1978, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1986, and 1988. He won the European Tour's Order of Merit in 1982, and topped the PGA Tour's Money List in 1986, 1990, and 1995. He won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average on the PGA Tour three times: 1989, 1990, and 1994; and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001. His dominance over his peers (despite his comparative lack of success in the majors) was probably best expressed in the Official World Golf Rankings: Norman finished the season on top of the ranking list on seven occasions, in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996 and 1997, and was second at the end of 1988, 1993 and 1994.
In May 2008, Greg Norman played in only his third Champion's Tour event since turning 50, the 69th Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club. Norman, having not played competitive golf regularly in the last several years, stayed in contention all week and wound up three shots behind eventual winner Jay Haas (+7), tying for sixth place. His new wife (as of 6/28/2008), tennis legend Chris Evert, has been a large part of Norman's consideration to enter events on the PGA and Champions tour. "I would doubt he'd go back full time," Evert said. "But for him to keep it up, one or two tournaments a month or whatever, would be great. I would 100 per cent support him if that's what he wanted to do."
In July 2008, despite not playing in a major for three years, Norman finished nine over par in a tie for third at The Open Championship after being the 54 hole leader by two strokes. He set the record in becoming the oldest 54-hole leader in a major championship and earned an automatic bid to the 2009 Masters. The following two weeks, Norman continued his strong play, finishing in a tie for fifth at The Senior Open Championship after a weekend 67-68 and fourth in the U.S. Senior Open after being the only player shooting 72 or lower all four days.
In 1986, Norman was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award, a feat he replicated in 1993 to join Muhammad Ali and Björn Borg as multiple winners (They have since been joined by Roger Federer). He received the 2008 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA's highest honor, at the 2008 Golf Industry Show in Orlando. Norman is a member of The Environmental Institute for Golf's board of trustees and also chairs The Institute's advisory council. He was the also the recipient of the Golf Writers Association of America's 2008 Charlie Bartlett Award.
In September 2007, Norman announced he and former tennis champion Chris Evert would be married. The couple became engaged on 9 December 2007 and on 28 June 2008 were married in the Bahamas. Mill went on record as saying he wished Evert and Norman happiness.