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Catch Me ifyoucan
03 Apr 17 20:45
Date Joined: 09 Sep 03
| Topic/replies: 18,579 | Blogger: Catch Me ifyoucan's blog
A closer look AT THE CONTENDERS.....

JASON DAY Best at Augusta: T-2 (2011)
"Jason is the No. 1 putter on tour, and he hits it long and high. He's perfect for Augusta." . . . "There isn't a spot on that course where he's going to be uncomfortable." . . . "What he doesn't need is a windy Masters. His ball flight is too high when the wind is swirling. Plus, he's always sick. He wants to win Augusta so bad it pretty much guarantees he'll be sick that week. He's like Tiger in that respect—there's always something wrong with him." . . . "He hasn't quite learned to play the golf course correctly. You can't just play all out, and he seems to do that a bit too much. There isn't a pin he doesn't think he can get at, but you have to have the discipline to not go right at some of them because your misses are so magnified there. But he'll learn, and I think he'll eventually win." . . . "The only thing that hurts Jason is that he doesn't seem to have a half-shot. Everything is full tilt." . . . "He just hasn't put it all together in one week there, and the game is filled with guys who did that, be it Tom Weiskopf or Ernie Els. Not saying Jason won't win. But the longer he waits, the harder it gets." . . . "He maybe wants it too badly." . . . "He has great patience. I just wish he would do it faster. I mean, the guy wears out everyone else's patience." “The only thing that hurts Jason is that he doesn’t seem to have a half-shot. everything is full tilt.”

RICKIE FOWLER Best at Augusta: T-5 (2014)
"Rickie seems to have a textbook game for the Masters. If you can win at Sawgrass, you can move the ball both ways. And he can finish well. So he's not afraid of the big situation. But his putting is the weak link, like so many of the leading players other than Jordan." . . . "The problem is his chipping. He's a little flippy at the bottom. Hitting to greens that don't give him much margin for error, that leads to a lot of bogeys if he isn't holing out from 15 feet all day. At Augusta, you have to be comfortable chipping into the grain, and I just don't think Rickie is. When you take the little bump-and-run shot away from him, he looks a little lost." . . . "He's starting to put double bogeys back on his card, and I thought he'd gotten over that when he went to Butch. He's overly aggressive at the wrong times. Bogeys aren't bad sometimes, but double bogeys—and then you press some more. Bad combo."

SERGIO GARCIA Best at Augusta: T-4 (2004)
"The irony is that, ball-striking-wise, Sergio is suited to Augusta more than anyone other than Bubba. Sergio hits it both ways. He can hit the draw off the tee and the fade into the greens. He plays old-school golf. But he's talked himself out of winning there. He clearly hates the place. He's beaten before he gets to the first tee. His putting weakness is a problem, of course. As Ernie showed, you can be exposed on the first hole of the Masters. [Els six-putted the opening hole in 2016.] The same could happen to Sergio. Three-footers in the Masters are as stressful as 10-footers on other courses. If you miss, you're going to be as far away again. And to hole them properly, you have to risk having an eight-footer coming back. Sergio's worried about the next one, so he doesn't hit the first one very well." . . . "He sees it as a tricked-up course, one they would never build today. But he should like it more than he does. The most striking aspect of the course is that the shape asked off the tee is so often the opposite of the approach shot. That should suit Sergio. But he can't get his head out of his arse." . . . "His history in the majors only compounds his bad mood when he plays in the Masters. It's a shame. He has everything, all the shots. And now he's putting just fine. But his attitude is awful at Augusta. He can't escape his past there, especially when he's reminded of some of the things he has said." [After a third-round 75 at the 2012 Masters, Garcia said, "I'm not good enough . . . I don't have the thing I need to have. . . . I've come to the conclusion that I need to play for second or third place . . . in any major."] . . . "He doesn't handle adversity well, and yet he's been a pretty good U.S. Open player. I think he's just fed up with trying and coming up short." . . . "I think he'll win a major, but I don't think it will be the Masters. Some people turn up and relish the prospect. Others dread it, and Sergio is one of those."

BRANDEN GRACE Best at Augusta: T-18 (2013)
"Someone like Branden, even though he drives it so well, has little or no chance to win. He simply hits the ball too low, both off the tee and with his irons." . . . "He shapes his shots left to right. He's likely to be exposed by that. It's a massive disadvantage to be up the right side on, say, 10. It's like a half-shot penalty. The same is true at 13 and 14. Holes where a 20-yard draw gives you a big advantage, he's going to be found out. And you can't see him stopping a long-iron second to the 15th green."

DUSTIN JOHNSON Best at Augusta: T-4 (2016)
"It looks like someone told him he doesn't have all the shots to win at Augusta, and he hasn't actually realized that he does. The only nitpick I see is, his right hand rides a little high when he's putting. Under pressure, that can lead to taking the club back closed and having to make a compensation coming through." . . . "The low cut shot doesn't work at Augusta, but the high cut can. So someone like Dustin Johnson can compete there. He hits it way high and can hold balls into the slopes if it happens to get hard and fast." . . ."His biggest problem is his caddie [brother Austin]. At Augusta, you have to really be on your toes. And he's not that experienced there. So I do wonder if they have any idea strategically on the ultimate strategic course. He has already gone for way too many flags." . . . "He misses so many of those 10-footers that inevitably you're going to have there, but maybe he overcomes that for one week. Sometimes, a 10-footer for par is the best you're going to get. Tiger lived on making 10-footers when he had to." . . . "People don't give Dustin enough credit for his putting. I think he putts it pretty decently. He misses some, but his speed is usually not too far off." . . . "It's obvious what holds back Dustin Johnson: nothing. It's just hard to win majors." “The low cut shot doesn’t work at Augusta, but the high cut can. So someone like Dustin Johnson can compete there.”

ZACH JOHNSON Best at Augusta: 1 (2007)
"It would take a perfect storm of circumstances for a Zach Johnson to win again. A three-to-four-club difference into those greens is too much to overcome."

SMYLIE KAUFMAN Best at Augusta: T-29 (2016)
"He played in the final group last year when the course was a lot harder than when Jordan killed it in 2015. I like his game, but his development is a little behind the curve of the others in his age group. Nothing wrong with that. Just give him more time." Smylie Kaufman was just a stroke behind leader Jordan Spieth after 54 holes last year before shooting a final-round 81.

MARTIN KAYMER Best at Augusta: T-31 (2014)
"Basically he won with putting at Pinehurst [2014 U.S. Open], and he'd have to do the same thing in the Masters because his driving isn't as good as some of the other top players." . . . "Maybe the worst chipper out there."

RUSSELL KNOX Best at Augusta: Cut as rookie (2016)
"He hits it only 285 yards off the tee. That isn't an advantage at Augusta, but it isn't the end of the world, either, if only because he hits it so straight. I'm not sure he putts nearly well enough to even contend at Augusta, never mind win. Because the greens there are so fast, the hole is, in effect, smaller. Look at how many times we see crazy lip-outs there. Not good for guys who putt like Russell."

MATT KUCHAR Best at Augusta: T-3 (2012)
"There's always someone playing better than him. There's nothing bad about his game, but nothing that makes him particularly well-suited to Augusta, either. It's hard to imagine him beating everyone on that course."

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA Best at Augusta: 5 (2015)
He carries the weight of a nation, a bit like Adam Scott used to do for Australia. Can he manage the expectations? That's a hard way to play." . . . "Matsuyama's putting stroke is too slow. It lacks pace. He takes it back too far and too slowly. So there's a built-in deceleration. You can't hit it well enough at Augusta to make up for bad putting."

RORY MCILROY Best at Augusta: 4 (2015)
"I look at this year as sort of a free pass when everyone is going to be talking about Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Dustin and Jason Day. That said, I would always put Rory in the top 10 even coming off an injury." . . . "Any injury is serious when you swing a stick and hit a ball. Sometimes those rib injuries tend to linger." . . . "Rory goes at the ball so hard. I'm not sure the body is meant to be going at shots with that sort of violence." . . . "When he's not injured, he always seems to be on the edge of being injured. Part of the problem is this mania for power in the modern game." . . . "There's a link between Rory and Tiger. I'm convinced Tiger's body broke down because he overdid it in the gym. He shortened his career by 10 years—at least. I've never seen any of the heavier guys injured. I'm not sure any of the gym rats will have great longevity." . . . "If he's fully healed in time, this will be a good thing for him. He won't have to over-think his preparation or how he's playing. It takes a little pressure off him with all the talk about the career Grand Slam, etc. Down deep, he knows what he's playing for, and he's probably been thinking about it the last few years. But now I think he'll be more relaxed and could come in with a different mind-set entirely." . . . "Rory can't win there because he's a below-average putter. He has been his whole career, and not too many of them win at Augusta National. He's been streaky-good at times, but he's had one good putting week in the past two years. You can talk all you like about Rory winning the Masters, but that depends on him having his best putting week ever. And it has to happen at Augusta National. Really?" . . . "You have to putt well every day to win there, and Rory hasn't done that yet. But he is getting better through his work with Phil Kenyon, who is a brilliant putting coach." . . . "Rory's speed control is sometimes dodgy. It isn't something you can easily learn, either. You can work on mechanics and produce an efficient stroke, but speed control is innate, and Augusta is the ultimate test of that." . . . "Rory just got away from what he was doing as a kid with his putting technique. He came out as this amazing young player, and he was successful and then he said, 'You know what? I'm going to start dragging the handle toward the cup with my putting stroke.' That's the Stockton thing with the forward press and drag the handle, instead of the release method he was using. Either one works, but not when you've been doing one your whole life and then you go to the other. Why did he do that?" . . . "When he gets into trouble he's tempted to try to get out of it with one swing. You can't do that in the Masters. The course can make you feel like you can be a hero, but all too often you end up with a big old black eye." . . . "Whatever happened to him in 2012 [a 77-76 finish], maybe that's just stuck in his head." . . . "Rory is an in-and-out chipper, and his clubbing is suspect at times. How often do you see him and [caddie J.P. Fitzgerald] looking at each other in shock after his ball has finished 20 yards over the back?" . . . "If you listen to them on the course, you often hear Rory asking, 'What happened there?' More than once I've heard J.P. saying something like, 'OK, hit a soft draw with a 6-iron off that tree.' And I've immediately thought, This ball is going over the green. And sure enough, it does. So you have to wonder. I see Rory up close only occasionally, and I know he's going to hit the ball over the green when his caddie clearly doesn't. It makes no sense." . . . "Rory needs someone to tell him what he needs to hear, not what he wants to hear." . . . "Why he doesn't employ Billy Foster is a mystery. Rory would have 10 majors by now if he did. Of course, we know what Rory is like. He's as stubborn as anyone on tour. The more people tell him that J.P. is not the right caddie for him, the more he'll keep him on." “You can talk all you like about Rory winning the masters, but that depends on him having his best putting week ever. and it has to happen at Augusta National. Really?”

PHIL MICKELSON Best at Augusta: 1 (2004, 2006, 2010)
"Phil's notes for Augusta are 100 pages thick. He contends because he knows every inch of the golf course. But he also has imagination for the chipping and the putting required around there, and all the notes in the world aren't going to help you if you can't handle the tough shots around the greens that everyone has to face eventually." . . . "Billy Foster caddied for Seve, but he reckons Phil is the better chipper. That's good enough for me. And Phil is phenomenal out of bunkers." . . . "Phil is the ultimate for chipping at Augusta. He's far and away the most accomplished." . . . "Phil has some issues with his body that I'm not sure we fully appreciate—the arthritis thing is still there. On the course, the 'hero' potential is too often too much for him to deal with. He lives for shots like the one he hit from the pine straw at the 13th [in his 2010 Masters win]. But they don't come off too often. There's always the potential for disaster with Phil. And at Augusta, that's a thin line." . . . "There isn't a shot he won't try. There also isn't a shot he hasn't seen at Augusta. He hasn't lost his nerve, either."

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN Best at Augusta: 2 (2012)
"Louis should win every time he tees it up. He has the best swing out there. But it comes down to how interested he is. He knows what he wants to do when he finishes playing, and he is, in a very quiet way, trying to get there. Golf for him is not everything. And, yet again, putting is his weakness. That, and a mind that tends to wander. Neither of which works too well at Augusta."

JON RAHM Best at Augusta: Rookie
"Perfect for Augusta. High hooks—the opposite of Bubba's high slices." . . . "I haven't seen him play away from too many pins, and that sort of aggression can get you into trouble, especially on the water holes."

PATRICK REED Best at Augusta: T-22 (2015)
"His biggest handicap is actually his familiarity with the place [Reed played at Augusta State] and his expectation level. He knows he should play well because he's been around there so often. But I think he turns his shots too hard from right to left. He doesn't have a controlled draw. So he's never completely sure where the ball is going to finish."

JUSTIN ROSE Best at Augusta: T-2 (2015)
"Putting is his Achilles' heel. He hits the ball like a world-beater. With putting, you have to feel it and see it and visualize it. And none of those things come out of a computer. But that's the [instructor] Sean Foley way." . . . "Justin is yet another guy who gets better the farther he is from the hole. He was the other way around as a kid. He's mentally strong. But majors are such a big deal now, and he's one who tries too hard. He puts too much importance on them, especially the Masters because of the long build-up, which is why we see some of the top guys have complete nightmares at majors now and then." . . . "When you first get into majors you treat them pretty much like any event. You pitch up on Monday, play a couple of practice rounds and go for it. But when you start contending in them and even winning, the tendency is to put too much importance on them. And nowhere is that more true than at Augusta. Guys just make it too big a deal. Justin and Rickie have certainly fallen into that trap. Their expectations are off the charts."

ADAM SCOTT Best at Augusta: 1 (2013)
"Adam hits the ball as well as anyone, but he doesn't spin the ball an amazing amount. Rory, Dustin, Jason and Bubba all spin the ball a lot. So Adam's not a guy who can stop a 5-iron really quickly. That can be important at Augusta, where you can sometimes have shots over 200 yards to incredibly small targets. As for Adam's putting, he was a good putter for a long time. But now he just seems worn out by having birdie putts roll over the edge so much of the time. And that happens a lot at Augusta. Plus, his short game isn't as good as Jason's or Jordan's. There isn't a hole at Augusta that he can't play well tee to green, but his putting does get exposed. When someone's weakness is putting, it's hard to pick out a hole at Augusta where they're always going to struggle. It could be anywhere."

JORDAN SPIETH Best at Augusta: 1 (2015)
"Jordan's only weakness is what happened last year [the final-round quadruple-bogey 7 after hitting two balls into the water at the 12th hole]. It has to be in his head. Every eye is going to be on him, and he'll be aware of that." . . . "That is such a hard shot. I've hit the ball in the water there once in 30 to 40 tournament rounds, and it was tough the time after I did it. It's especially hard if your miss is to the right under pressure, which is the case for many modern right-handers. There are a lot more blocks than hooks these days." . . . "Olazabal was the classic example of someone made for Augusta. Rubbish off the tee. Great iron player. Wonderful putter. That's Spieth." . . . "All he has to do is put the ball in play off the tee. From there, he can play that course as well as anyone. Perhaps his only weakness is that his bad shots are really, really bad. His misses are off the planet. But so were Tiger's early in his career, and he did OK in the Masters. Besides, Augusta is not a 'chip-out' course." . . . "Jordan gets exposed a little because of his relative lack of length. He's prone to stretches where he doesn't hit many good shots. In every four-day event, he's likely to have one off-day." . . . "Jordan isn't afraid to take on different shots. He isn't afraid to hit a bump-and-run if he has to hit that shot. Everyone else just takes out their 60 or 62 and hits a flop shot of some kind and throws it up in the air." . . . "Spieth is such a great chipper. First time there you can see guys chipping off the first green 20 times. But he never did that." . . . "Someone like Jordan can walk more freely at Augusta because he doesn't worry so much about the short putts. He never thinks about the next putt because he assumes this one is going in. The others—even if they're holing out well—are just more anxious." . . . "Pure striking doesn't necessarily get rewarded at Augusta. Hitting the ball less than perfectly puts less spin on shots, and that works better more often than not. Guys who hit solid shots can see their balls spin back off the greens. And when that happens a few times, their confidence is shot. Spieth doesn't hit the ball nearly as well as, say, Day or Rory or Henrik." . . . "If Jordan's putting is anything other than hot, he has no chance. And he can't hoist irons high in the air like Rory can." . . . "I've never seen a better putter than Jordan. As a whole package, he's amazing. How do you explain how he holes from 25 feet so often? No one else is close. His speed control is incredible. Virtually every putt is traveling at exactly the right speed, which is huge at Augusta. That's a massive weapon." “Jordan’s only weakness is what happened last year,” a quadruple-bogey 7 at the 12th hole.••

HENRIK STENSON Best at Augusta: T-14 (2014)
"Henrik is another guy who will never putt well enough to win the Masters. He's putted well enough to win one major. So has Adam Scott. And when they win, everyone thinks they're going to win every major. But they've done it only once." . . . "Henrik is a great ball-striker, but he needs to hit more drivers to take full advantage of that. He's a 3-wood guy. He averages about 290 yards off the tee. That is such a waste. You can't look at him and say, 'He's my pick for Augusta.' I'd put him in the same category with Adam and Justin Rose. They have all putted well enough to win one major." . . . "The best ball-striker in golf, maybe, but definitely not the best short game. And you're going to have to chip it and make a bunch of four-, six-, eight-footers. Just not a guy I would pick to win." . . . "He might ball-strike the place to death and win, but since they changed it, I have yet to see anyone ball-strike Augusta into submission. They just don't allow it." . . . "He tends to do better on courses where the greens are not like concrete or super burned out, so he feels free to stroke the ball rather than 'hope' the ball. But he can do it anywhere. When he won the Players [in 2009], the greens were almost dead and really fast. So if the greens get so tough that no one is making anything, his chances of success increase. Holding him back, too, is that he clearly doesn't enjoy the golf course. Like Sergio, his inherent dislike of the place is a problem."

JUSTIN THOMAS Best at Augusta: T-39 (2016)
"Well, he's only 23, but there's a big difference between winning the odd PGA Tour event and winning the Masters. Don't get me wrong, four wins, and three here pretty recently, a 59 on the board, he's obviously playing very well." . . . "Justin seems to have a scoring gear he just sort of discovered. Or grew into." . . . "He appears made for the Masters, but we've seen a lot of great players who were made for the Masters who didn't win it. He certainly looks like he has all the tools—length, explosion at the ball (which is incredible), he's proven he can go low, and he obviously has a good head on his shoulders. Augusta is just a different animal, though. Does he have the touch to manage the short shots? That will be important. But with his length he can make up for that with great approaches. You can set yourself up to score with ball-striking."

JIMMY WALKER Best at Augusta: T-8 (2014)
"Jimmy Walker's obvious weakness is that when he gets a little loose, the ball goes left. But now that he's won a major, there's no reason why he can't contend at Augusta. He hits it plenty high." . . . "When I think of some ugly short games, Jimmy Walker comes to mind. He doesn't appear comfortable chipping anywhere he plays."

BUBBA WATSON Best at Augusta: 1 (2012, 2014)
"Bubba is such an unconventional player that he turns out being the perfect guy for Augusta National. First, of course, is that he pounds it, and he can be as long as he chooses to be. But then the way he moves it around and curves the ball, does all those little shots, it's just the best playground for his imagination." . . . "He doesn't get bored there. He loves the course—and we all know how much that means to Bubba." . . . "His preferred shot is perfect for Augusta, apart from the tee shots at the first and 18; 7, too—the holes where he has to hit a straight one off the tee." . . . "He has the most magical short game in golf. He has the most touch, the most imagination. And he likes the challenge of that. Being creative is his game." . . . "There's no shot Bubba can't hit, but he has to hit the appropriate shot at the time. But he can afford to be patient, because if it's not this shot, then it's the next, when he can use his ability to the fullest and do something to set himself up to score." . . . "Bubba's short game is really good, but sometimes he can get a lie that he can't maneuver because he tends to be steep on chip shots, and if it's too tight he might stick it." . . . "Which player has the most/least patience at Augusta? The answer to both is Bubba Watson. Seriously." . . . "Bubba's problem is not knowing which Bubba will show up. If he gets going early, he's fine. But if he has to grind to find something, he throws in the towel, which is odd."

LEE WESTWOOD Best at Augusta: 2 (2010), T-2 (2016)
"Lee does OK at Augusta because he accepts the chip he has to play. He never gets too fancy. He plays to his strength, which is hitting lots of greens. And if he does that, he doesn't have to chip very often, maybe three times a day. Besides, he's better than he used to be. I'd say he's just below average now." “Lee does OK at Augusta because he accepts the chip he has to play. He never gets too fancy.”

DANNY WILLETT Best at Augusta: 1 (2016)
"He has nothing to prove now that he's won the Masters, but he needs to hit the ball higher if he wants to contend in all conditions. Nothing seems to bother him, though. So you never know. He played great [winning in 2016]. And then when his whole world changed as he stood on the 16th tee, he never batted an eye. That was impressive." . . . "He seems to have been on a celebration tour since he won at Augusta."

With thanks to lewisham ranger  • April 2, 2017 11:32 PM BST
brilliant piece. best exposition I've read about what it's like to play the masters.

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Replies: 154
lewisham ranger
When: 03 Apr 17 22:36
"thumbs up"
When: 04 Apr 17 14:44
Brilliant write up Catch Me.
jedi sophie
When: 04 Apr 17 16:09
Great work chaps...
charlie muddle
When: 04 Apr 17 20:00
Really enjoyed reading that very well done guys thanks.
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 04 Apr 17 23:10
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 04 Apr 17 23:12
A severe t-storm; cloudy; storms may bring downpours, large hail, damaging winds, and a tornado WTF
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 04 Apr 17 23:12
When: 04 Apr 17 23:25
That link is like the Racing Post...
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 04 Apr 17 23:55
THE LAST TWO WINNERS, Jordan Spieth in 2015 (2nd 2014) and Danny Willett last year (38th in 2015), broke through as sophomores.

For many players, they never have the chance to return for a second act, a second chance with those crucial terabytes of accumulated knowledge from their first go-round. They never have the opportunity to join players like Jackie Burke or Zach Johnson, who won Masters in their second start.


Justin Thomas 39th, Dan Berger 10th, Kevin Kisner 37th, Emiliano Grillo 17th, Rafa Cabrera Bello 17th, Brendan Steele MC, Pat Perez MC 2009, Andy Sullivan MC, Russell Knox MC, Hideto Tanihara MC, Kevin Chappell 44th 2012, James Hahn MC, Jhonattan Vegas MC & Roberto Castro MC.
When: 05 Apr 17 11:27
Wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour are forecast for Thursday, according to the website
When: 05 Apr 17 11:49
mickleson drops a grenade pre tourney Excited

A number of players on the PGA Tour are "intentionally loose" in marking their ball, according to three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson.
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 06 Apr 17 20:15
Tink I heard Ken Brown quote that 4 of the last 6 winners were also sophomores ?
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 06 Apr 17 20:20
4 of the last 10 maybe ?
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 07 Apr 17 00:02
Imagine today one of the best golfers in the game, one eligible for the Masters, healthy, receiving his invitation and deciding, "I don't want to play." You can't imagine it. It is unimaginable.

But Lee Trevino did just that not once, but multiple times. Trevino skipped The Masters in 1970-71 and again in 1974, during his prime - a prime that makes Trevino one of the best golfers of all-time. Trevino simply felt he couldn't win at Augusta National - the course didn't suit his game. And he never finished higher than 10th in years he did play. He also just wasn't comfortable there: a Latino man at a lily-white, fancy-shmancy, Deep South institution with (then) discriminatory membership policies. When Trevino did play, he sometimes changed his shoes in the parking lot to avoid entering the clubhouse. He only returned to The Masters after Jack Nicklaus convinced him a player of Trevino's caliber should be there.
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 08 Apr 17 00:10
How golfer Greg Norman became a one-man conglomerate.
He never won the Masters, but the tournament was where he started his legendary business career.
Thirty years ago, Greg Norman missed a birdie putt that would have won him The Masters. As it turned out, the Australian World Golf Hall of Famer was more fortunate that year than his loss at Augusta let on.

In 1987, Norman laid the groundwork for Greg Norman Golf Course Design, which has since designed and built more than 100 golf courses around the world. At the time, Norman was 32 years old. He would go on to play professionally for another 22 years — during which he won 15 of his 20 PGA Tour victories and become the first golfer to earn $10 million in his career. The design firm he created in 1987 would become the foundation of a mini-conglomerate that would make his golf earnings look like spare change used to mark a spot on the green.

Norman now has nearly a dozen businesses under his company’s umbrella. The golf course design firm preceded the Greg Norman Collection apparel line in 1992, his wine label in 1996 and, eventually, an eyewear label, a restaurant, a line of meats, a real-estate development firm, a golf academy, luxury housing, a private-equity fund and a wakeboard park.
“He only had a high-school education — he never went to college because he started playing golf and traveling the world playing golf — but he’s always been a student,” says Chris Diladou, Greg Norman Company’s chief operating officer and Norman’s son-in-law. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the game of golf or when he wanted to be a fighter pilot: He kind of has an engineer’s mind. More than anything else, he just gets granular and loves to learn.”
Before he started all of his businesses, he was being represented by management company IMG and was letting them do much of the steering.
“The brand came into its own when I left the management company I was with and figured I was just a pass-through entity with them like every other athlete is with a management company,” Norman says. “My ‘use by’ date was up and they were never going to invest any equity in my brand.”
At the time he stepped away from IMG, Norman was endorsing Reebok products and had developed a working relationship with Reebok founder Paul Fireman. Norman had picked up his “Great White Shark” nickname at the 1981 Masters, and Fireman’s Reebok created a shark logo for Norman and sold it back to him for a dollar. He then leased it back to the company as part of a long-term licensing arrangement that became the basis of the Greg Norman Collection, which functioned independently of his golf course design firm. While building the apparel line, Norman learned a valuable lesson about marketing and branding from Fireman.
“He believed in me so much because I put bums on the seats, I was a needle-mover at golf tournaments and I would sell Reebok gear when I endorsed Reebok,” Norman says. “He was powerfully strong in his belief that, by starting the Greg Norman Collection with Reebok’s distribution and marketing might, it would never be anything but a success.”

We don’t use the term “mini-conglomerate” lightly. The Greg Norman Collection’s now been in existence for nearly 25 years, and functions independently of the other items in Norman’s portfolio out of necessity. For example, when Norman wanted to get into winemaking in 1996, he took his endorsement deal with Australian brewer Fosters and turned it into a stake in then-Foster’s-owned Treasury Wine Estates — which eventually split off from the brewer in 2011. It is his belief that he needs to dedicate time to each branch of his business, specifically, to ensure both quality and credibility.

“You’ve seen a lot of other sports men and women try to follow what I did and fail, in many ways, because you have to have the strength of sustainability,” Norman says. “You have to have the distribution center, you have to have your own winemakers. If you’re going to put your name on the door, you have to be there all the time making sure the right [cost of goods sold] are there, the right labeling is there, the right varietal is there — understanding what varietals need to be added to the portfolio, whether it’s a Malbec from Argentina, a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Every year or half year we’re looking to see where the market is moving.”
Greg Norman Estates wines are part of a company portfolio that includes the Greg Norman Australian Grille restaurant in South Carolina, the Greg Norman Australian Prime beef line, Greg Norman Eyewear, a real-estate development company, a golf academy, a private golf community and a wakeboard park — all under Norman’s own brand.
As with his clothing business, Norman has attempted to find partners that bolster his own brand instead of simply using his endorsement — most recently striking a deal with Verizon this year for a yet-undefined plan to bring wireless technology to professional golf.

“Paul Fireman always believed in me being a clean slate: He didn’t want me to have any advertising on me,” Norman says, noting that his own multiple businesses all refer back to him directly. “He convinced me to stay clean, trust the brand and make sure the brand was the priority above everything else.”
At one point, Norman’s brands all fit neatly under one larger title: Great White Shark Enterprises. As that company continued to grow, its priorities quickly centered around its future. Three years ago, Norman, who is now 62, took his executives to his ranch in Colorado and put two plans in front of them: A 12-year plan and a 200-year plan. Though Norman admits his staff “all looked at me like I was an idiot” for looking that far ahead, he wanted them to realize that they should be considering the bigger picture as well. Norman wanted to be sure that he could not only maintain his legacy, but ensure that the quality of products attached to his name and logo would be there after his death.

Norman took the first major step toward that goal in 2013, when he founded his Great White Shark Opportunity Fund and, with the help of private-equity firm Kohlberg & Company, acquired golf management firm Troon Golf from Goldman Sachs GS, +0.05%  . Shifting away from sports marketing and toward equity, consumer and business-to-business transactions, Norman’s company’s rebranded from Great White Shark Enterprises to The Greg Norman Company last year and changed its shark logo for the first time since Norman’s Reebok days. Norman knows that younger consumers don’t necessarily associate his name with “The Great White Shark,” nor are they particularly tied to golf. But both he and his team are willing to adapt, as the new, sleeker, less ‘90s hyper color shark on his products suggests.
Norman discovered that diversifying his company is perhaps the best way to help it weather the woes of the golf industry. According to the National Golf Foundation, the number of U.S. golf courses has shrunk during the last decade by nearly 800 from its peak of more than 16,000. Though the U.S. still accounts for more than 40% of global golf courses, the NGF says the number of U.S. players dropped from an all-time high of 30 million in 2005 to 24.1 million in 2015. That’s below even the pre-Tiger Woods high of 24.7 in 1995. Norman’s golf course design company acts as an alarm for all of the above, sensing softness in the U.S. and other markets and letting Norman’s company know where to better focus its efforts.

“Because I played golf consistently for 25 to 30 years, globally, my footprint was there,” Norman says. “I was consciously making sure that, hedging against an economic downturn in the United States, I could be in Asia or Australia; or if there was a recession somewhere in Asia, America would pick up. I had the flexibility and the foresight to diversify myself enough by positioning myself on a global front.”
The one thing all that diversification can’t do, however, is insure the brand’s success in his absence. In March, the Greg Norman Company announced a partnership with the brand-development firm Authentic Brands Group (ABG). The firm’s portfolio already includes former athletes Julius Irving and Shaquille O’Neal, but what struck Norman was how ABG was able to increase revenue for the estates of deceased celebrities including Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali and Michael Jackson with help from retail partners including Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Target and Harrod’s.
Not only did ABG lack a golfer, but it lacked a brand with as many categories as Norman’s. After nearly a year of negotiation, Greg Norman companies agreed to a “forever deal” with ABG for the Greg Norman Collection and Norman’s other licensing and endorsement concerns. The ABG deal fit Norman’s 200-year plan, helps create a future for his rebranded company and, perhaps most important, offers it a whole lot of legal protection with a team of 12 lawyers.
“I know what I’ve been through just protecting my trademark in China,” Norman says. “I spent two and a half years fighting this legal battle in China with somebody who used my logo without my permission. I finally won it back, but it cost seven figures in legal fees and two and a half years of angst.”

With another generation teeing off at The Masters this weekend, Norman seems at peace with his legacy both on the course and in business. He’s spent eight years off the course and says he doesn’t feel the need to roam the course at Augusta or go into the clubhouse and shake hands just to drum up business. Sure, it’s the place where he lost his playoff 30 years ago and turned a six-stroke lead into a five-stroke loss in 1996, but it’s also a place he’d return to as a man whose post-career business ventures make his PGA career earnings look like, in his COO’s words, “nothing.” However, Norman is loath to disclose his company’s earnings and notes that the decisions that brought him here — leaving IMG, financing himself, hiring his own people, establishing his brand’s credibility — can be as difficult as Augusta’s Amen Corner on a Sunday.

“I get asked this question a lot, and all I can tell you is that it isn’t an easy path to go down,” Norman says. “It’s all about delivering the quality, finding the space you love to be in and making sure you identify that space, understand what that space is going to give you, execute on the business plan and keep following through.”
“You’re going to have failures, you’re going to have peaks and troughs and its how you come out of your troughs that will make you a better business, a better businessman and a better person going forward.”
When: 09 Apr 17 01:50

good shout going into sunday Cool
When: 09 Apr 17 01:51
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 06 Mar 18 19:05
Left-handers - how many have won major championships?

Only four champions, with seven championships between them: Sir Bob Charles, Mike Weir, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson.

Year / Player / Championship / Venue / Score

1963 Bob Charles Open Championship Royal Lytham & St Annes 277 ¹

2003 Mike Weir The Masters Augusta National 281 ²

2004 Phil Mickelson The Masters Augusta National 279
2005 Phil Mickelson US PGA Championship Baltusrol 276
2006 Phil Mickelson The Masters Augusta National 281
2010 Phil Mickelson The Masters Augusta National 272

2012 Bubba Watson The Masters Augusta National 278 ³

¹ Charles defeated Phil Rodgers in a 36 hole playoff 140 to 148
² Weir defeated Len Mattiace 5 to 6 at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff
³ Watson defeated Louis Oosthuizen 4-4 to 4-5 in a sudden death playoff
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 06 Mar 18 19:13
Oops... Phil and his 2013 OPEN Championship - shocking omission Tongue Out
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 06 Mar 18 19:19
Mickelson won his 5th Major at The OPEN in Muirfield. This was the first time in history that anyone had won both the Scottish Open and The Open Championship in the same year. Mickelson birdied four of the last six holes in a brilliant final round of 66 to win the title by three strokes.

...AND Bubba (again)  - the 2014 Masters Champ ffs Devil
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 06 Mar 18 20:01
btw other lefties returning to the Masters this year are Wells Fargo Champion Brian Harmon and Pebble Champ Ted Potter Jnr.
equine flew
When: 08 Mar 18 12:53
I can really see a step back in time, with Phil, Bubba and Tiger fighting out this years Masters
equine flew
When: 08 Mar 18 12:53
... and Mike Weir
When: 09 Mar 18 16:41
Only if you have a time machine.
When: 09 Mar 18 21:29
Tiger's odds collapsing. Say he gets a win either this week or next, could he actually start fave?
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 09 Mar 18 21:57
RORS played it last week with Dad - wonder when Tiger gets in a practice round ?
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 09 Mar 18 22:07
Dustin Johnson 15/2 8 7 8 15/2 15/2 15/2 13/2 8 8 8   
Jordan Spieth 9 9 8 9 9 9 8 9 10 9 57/5     
Justin Thomas 11 11 12 11 10 10 12 10 10 10 52/5     
Rory McIlroy 12 14 11 12 14 14 9 10 14 11 76/5   
Tiger Woods 12 14 16 14 12 12 16 16 11 14 64/5     
Jason Day 14 16 14 16 14 14 14 12 18 16 18   
Jon Rahm 16 16 16 18 16 16 14 14 18 16 19     
Phil Mickelson 16 16 16 18 20 20 20 18 20 14 18     
Rickie Fowler 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 22 20 22 22   
Justin Rose 22 22 18 22 16 16 25 22 22 18 24 
Bubba Watson 20 22 25 22 22 22 25 25 25 25 28     
Sergio Garcia 28 28 28 28 25 28 33 25 33 25 33   
Hideki Matsuyama 33 28 25 28 28 28 25 28 33 28 41     
Paul Casey 35 40 40 40 33 33 40 33 25 40 35     
Tommy Fleetwood 33 33 33 33 33 35 33 33 40 33 41
50's bar Devil
When: 10 Mar 18 13:29
Tiger Woods is favourite for the Valspar at 5.8 on Betfair.
I hope he wins this week.  He is only 13s for the Masters.
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 18 Mar 18 22:33
WOODs not driving it well enough
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 18 Mar 18 22:46
RORS now 10/1 fav from DJ, Tiger then Thomas 13/1.
When: 26 Mar 18 08:15
Talk about laying down a marker. Could actually make a logical argument that Bubba should be starting FAVE Shocked
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 26 Mar 18 15:08
Rory McIlroy 9
Justin Thomas 10
Dustin Johnson 11
Tiger Woods 10
Jordan Spieth 14
Justin Rose 14
Bubba Watson 16
Jason Day 18
Phil Mickelson 20
Jon Rahm 20
Rickie Fowler 22
Paul Casey 25
Sergio Garcia 28

35's bar
donny osmond
When: 26 Mar 18 15:42
couldnt argue with that rhino.

but there are so many fancied heading into this having been backed after good recent form
that there could well be some fantastic value lurking down the field.
When: 27 Mar 18 02:06
Looks to be such an open tournament and hopefully be very exciting with untold possible number of winners.

Rose has a very solid record @ Auusta but, more than ever, can be brittle mentally with the putter at the business end of a major. Rahm seems to have imploded and doesn't have the temperament. DJ seems out of form/out of focus. Speith is not putting so well. Rory is hard to predict. Thomas has improved but has a poor record at Augusta. Still not convinced Tiger can drive well enough over the 4 days now the pressure is back on him after good recent outings. I just don't personally like Bubba so would never put a penny on him. Fowler is a bridle ponce. Mickleson has obvious credentials but I can never get him right.

Of the more fancied players it leads me to think Day is good value @ 18/1 top 8 (B635). Seems to have gotten over his injures and has some very good course form and we know he has the conkers when at the sharp end.

Of the others at fancier prices I quite like Oosty (50/1 top 10), Fleetwood (401/1 top 8) and S W Kim (250/1 top 8).

GL all.
keeping silent
When: 27 Mar 18 08:37
Been adding little bits and pieces to Casey, Fleetwood , Noren and Pieters . Now the 8 places available will have to top up these . Good luck one and all
sewter lives again
When: 27 Mar 18 08:44
rhino agree with you re Bubba no reason really why he shouldn't be fav 16/1 seems very reasonable
sewter lives again
When: 27 Mar 18 09:12
just seen "Jokes" have gone 10 places take a look at the prices that is a joke
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 27 Mar 18 16:52
Think you forget  it's ONLY an 80 player field and possibly only 20 or so THAT CAN ACTUALLY WIN.
Catch Me ifyoucan
When: 27 Mar 18 17:00
Have another read...
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