Norman takes break from business, tennis to tee it up

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. --- Being engaged to former tennis great Chris Evert, it's evident that Greg Norman has found love -- or is that luv?

Former star Greg Norman is playing in the Senior PGA, which begins today, for the first time. He's 53 years old.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Former star Greg Norman is playing in the Senior PGA, which begins today, for the first time. He's 53 years old.

Norman, putting aside his many business interests to take part in this week's Senior PGA Championship, acknowledged on Wednesday that had things been different as a child, he might have taken up tennis rather than golf.

"I never played tennis up until about a year ago in my whole life," said Norman, who plays with Evert about three times a week. "I actually wish I had taken up tennis instead of golf. I really do enjoy tennis."

No fooling?

"Knowing what I know now, yes," The Shark said, noting that tennis better suits his aggressive nature, something that's both helped and hindered him on the golf course. "I get that way on the tennis court. I like to hit the ball hard. ... If you miss a point, you can win the next two points to win the game. Golf, you miss that one shot, you take a triple-bogey, see you later."

That said, Norman has no regrets with what proved to be a very inspired choice to pursue golf. It's a career that's delivered him 78 tournament victories in 13 countries and allowed him to launch a very lucrative business career that runs the gamut from winemaking to fashion and even earning him a place on the Heinz board of directors.

Norman appeared a man contented, making a rare appearance in a golf tournament and, at 53, his first in the Senior PGA Championship.

This week's Senior PGA Championship marks only his fourth tournament this year, and comes after he had knee surgery that led him to missing all of last season. He shot 80-71 in last week's AT&T Classic on the PGA Tour, missing the cut by seven shots at TPC Sugarloaf, a course he designed.

Norman enjoys an occasional casual round with his son, and elects to play competitively only when there's a break in his schedule.

"I really don't put a lot of expectations on myself this week," he said.

Norman's fine with that because he had prepared himself for pursuits beyond golf some four years ago.

"I didn't have the desire to go out there and practice eight to 10 hours a day. I just didn't have it. I was burned out," he said. "That was my choice. And I think I made the right choice for myself, my lifestyle and for my business and for my family around me."

Tennis, on the other hand, has proven intriguing. Norman noted he can hit 1,000 balls a day.

Not that he's in Evert's league.

"No, she doesn't take it easy on me," Norman said with a laugh. "We get into a halfway decent rally that I think is great and it's probably boring to her. So she will just put it in or put a certain shot across the net and it's all over."


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