Golf: Norman continues to diss Tiger
By Ray McNulty
Scripps Howard News Service
Let there be no doubt: Tiger Woods hears what Greg Norman is saying.
But can he do anything about it? Does he still have enough game, enough fight, enough championís pride to make Norman choke on his words?
For those who havenít heard, Norman has been talking a lot about Woods lately. And not much of it has been particularly flattering. Or encouraging. Or even diplomatic.
Just last month, in fact, Norman told Golf Magazine ó for its November issue ó Woods now has too many distractions to maintain the focus he had when he won 14 major championships in 11 years and, because of that, he doesnít think he will win another one.
ěTiger, when he dominated, had a single-shot approach,î said Norman, 56, a former world No. 1 who won two British Opens. ěIt was only about the golf.î
In the interview, Norman said ěpeople are looking for things that are wrong with Tiger now,î and that ěthe more he shuts people off, the worse it gets.î
He also took note of Woodsí body language on the course since the 2009 Thanksgiving night incident and embarrassing sex scandal that followed, saying, ěHe doesnít keep his head up anymore. Heís got his eyes down. Heís trying to keep his eyes away from the camera, right?î
Then there was this: ěTiger can still play, and I think heíll win again. But heís not going to do what he did before.î
And he wasnít done.
Last weekend, while promoting his Shark Shootout tournament in Naples, Fla., Norman was at it again, this time speaking as captain of the International team that will play against the U.S. ó and Woods ó in next monthís Presidents Cup event in Australia.
Norman said if he were the U.S. captain, he would have chosen PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley, not Woods, to play for the Americans.
ěI can understand the name of a Tiger Woods and his history of what heís done on the golf course,î Norman told the Naples Daily News. ěBut I pick the guys who I think are ready to get in there and play and have performed to the highest levels leading up to it.î
To drive home his point, Norman added: ěI just donít think heís swinging the golf club the way he used to, when he won all those major championships. Heís a different player out there nowadays.î
It was an honest opinion and a fair assessment, given that Woods hasnít won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open and hasnít won anywhere on the PGA Tour in more than two years.
It is also true Woods has done nothing this year to deserve a place on our Presidents Cup team. He was picked by U.S. captain Fred Couples because of who he was.
But let there be no doubt: When he gets to Australia next month, Woods wonít forget what Norman said.
Weíll see if he can do anything about it.