Norman picks McIlroy, not Woods, to break Jack's record
It's safe to say Greg Norman likely won't be getting a Christmas card from Tiger Woods anytime soon
Published on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 09:39AM EST Last updated on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 09:46AM EST
Greg Norman is back at it again. This time the former world number one says someone will eventually break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships... but that someone won't be Tiger Woods. Instead, the Shark says Rory McIlroy will be the first in the race to No. 19.
Forget the fact that Woods is sitting on 14 major titles while McIlroy just picked up his second career major championship this past year.
"[McIlroy] is young, he is ahead of the game, he is ahead of the curve on a lot of things, and he has a very balanced life across the board," Norman said prior to the start of the Australian PGA Championship. "So I will keep my fingers crossed for him, because I would love to see that happen."
"Somebody will do it one day, and it could be Rory."
"Every year that passes by that [Tiger] hasn't won a major, it just gets that much harder to win a major," Norman said. "I don't care how many you have won, it just becomes more and more difficult. He might win one or two more, but I don't think he will win the four or five more that he needs to break the record."
A day after he made the comments, Norman was forced to withdraw from the tournament after coming down with food poisoning. You know what they say about karma...
In any case, it was simply the latest swipe by Norman at Woods after suggesting earlier this year that Tiger is "really intimidated" by McIlroy. That came on the heels of another pronouncement that Tiger would likely never win another major and Norman questioning Fred Couples' decision to take Woods ahead of Keegan Bradley at last year's Presidents Cup. Apparently the roots of this feud go all the way back to 1996 when Woods turned down an invitation to play in Norman's Shark Shootout and Tiger's disillusionment with Norman, who had made subtle hints about being a mentor to the young golf phenom.
STICK TO SKIING: Bode Miller is a world class skier who has, apparently, decided to take up golf. According to this tweet he sent out on December 11th, it looked like he was having fun with it.
But the next day, no one was laughing as he sent out this tweet
Miller’s wife, Morgan - who’s a professional volleyball player by trade - later tweeted a photo of the accident [ not for the squeamish ] along with a pair of sunglasses which took the brunt of the 160 mph drive and likely saved her eye.
End result, 50 stitches and lots of bruising. Something tells me Santa is going to be extra nice to Morgan Miller this year!
#PROGOLFPROBLEMS: Brad Fritsch is set to make his 2013 PGA Tour debut as a full time player in January at the Sony Open. The Ottawa-area golfer got a little taste of the “perks” of being in the show when he tweeted this the other day:
THE REST OF THE STORY: Last month, Graeme McDowell said he injured his right hand after getting into “an argument with a door” prior to the start of the second round of the HSBC Champions event in China.
"Busted up my hand a bit last night...had an argument with a door," he tweeted at the time. "Nothing broken. Just bruised and swollen. Should be okay for tomorrow."
Now it appears there was more to the accident than McDowell first let on. With apologies to the late Paul Harvey, here is the rest of the story...
“I actually don’t know what happened to my hand,” McDowell said Monday while appearing on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. “I was sleepwalking. I woke up out of this dream, standing in a hotel-room door, in my boxer shorts, and three seconds later I had the most searing pain in my right hand. I have no idea what happened.”
“That was my first sleepwalking experience and believe me, it wasn’t a good one for me.”
Seems things have healed properly for the Ulsterman as he went on to win the World Challenge earlier this month.
FIRE UP THE GOOGLE MACHINE: Tiger Woods was the most searched athlete of 2012 according to Google Canada. Woods outranked Steve Nash, Michael Phelps, LeBron James and Usain Bolt according to the Canadian version of the search engine.
Woods did not even make the top 10 on Google. com, which was dominated by Jeremy Lin, however, golf was the second most searched sport behind only football but ahead of basketball, baseball and soccer.
IF IT AINT BROKEN...: Phil Mickelson has been granted the opportunity to redesign one of his favourite childhood courses, the North Course at Torrey Pines. Mickelson and his design firm have been given the go-ahead for what the City of San Diego’s golf operations department calls a “renovation” - 18 new greens, renovated bunkers and tees, full cart paths, improved irrigation practices, and possibly some new tees for tournament play.
The $7-million renovation is expected to begin soon after the 2013 PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open is played with work scheduled to be done in early 2015. While his design team will be paid for the work, Mickelson has reportedly waived his personal fee for the project.
The public will get a chance to not only see but have their say about the work being proposed during a public meeting scheduled for December 18th. Many are anxious to see what Mickelson means when he says he wants to make the course “playable” and “fun”. As Tod Leonard of the Union-Times San Diego writes, public reaction is expected to be widely divergent, especially after Rees Jones’ redesign of the South Course made it virtually unplayable for the everyday, high handicap golfer:
The North is the cheaper and more playable of the two Torrey Pines designs after the South Course was made more difficult during a redesign that ultimately led to securing the 2008 U.S. Open.
Jim Keith, a 54-year-old San Diego native from Clairemont, played a nine-hole round on the North on Saturday morning. He said cost and playability are the biggest concerns for him at Torrey Pines. He said he applauds the city for its current maintenance of the courses, but doesn’t want changes to drive up costs.
“I think it’s too steep now,” Keith said. “We’re paying taxes and it’s a public golf course. If they’re going to redo it, do it quickly and don’t raise green fees because of it.”
CAN YOU SPARE A DIME: Ryo Ishikawa is coming to America next year, having taken up his PGA membership... but the young Japanese golf star will be carrying a little less baggage. The 21-year-old was informed by primary sponsor Panasonic that it will not be renewing its deal with him at the end of this year.
The economic downturn has taken a toll on the Japanese electronics giant, which will reportedly post a loss of almost $10-billion this year. The company said it was also going to end its sponsorship of domestic golf events after next year.
Panasonic jumped on the Ishikawa bandwagon back in 2008, shortly after the 15-year old became the youngest male winner of a major domestic tournament. At the time, the deal was said to be worth $6-million (US).
Golf is not the only sport affected by Panasonic’s decision, pulling its sponsorship of women’s badminton and men’s basketball as well.
“I want him on my team. Tiger is maybe the best player in history. If he’s not on the team, he’s going to be number one in my picks.” -- Newly appointed Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson on Tiger Woods, whom he openly criticized in the aftermath of his infamous sex scandal, and his chances of being on the 2014 team.