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Was the Norman collapse in the '96 Masters actually "choking"?


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#31 Matt J

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 04:14 PM

View PostHawkeye77, on 10 January 2019 - 08:11 AM, said:

By any normal definition of the word in sports, of course choked.

For one of the better articles about it:   https://www.golfdige...-20-years-later

Golf is hard.

This article is fracking incredible!  I don't know why I was never any more interested in this golf tournament than I am now.  I was 20 years old and in college, didn't pay much although I did play some, and I went to Augusta for the Masters just two years later.  I would have actually always liked Faldo better than Norman due to the fact that he played Mizuno and I had seen one of his retired sets because Mizzy distributes out of Norcross near where I grew up.  The sweet spots had a dime size wear that I was in awe of... one of the things that got me fired up about golf and to eventually buy a set of MP-60's years later.

Reading this article did it occur to anyone that had Norman not been so defensive about Kostis's private analysis made public, he could have potentially stabilized his grip drift and kept it together on Sunday... it's like the greatest called shot in history!  He was warned and chose to ignore it and "play his game."  Wild.


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#32 fairways4life

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 04:24 PM

View PostMatt J, on 10 January 2019 - 04:14 PM, said:

View PostHawkeye77, on 10 January 2019 - 08:11 AM, said:

By any normal definition of the word in sports, of course choked.

For one of the better articles about it:   https://www.golfdige...-20-years-later

Golf is hard.

This article is fracking incredible!  I don't know why I was never any more interested in this golf tournament than I am now.  I was 20 years old and in college, didn't pay much although I did play some, and I went to Augusta for the Masters just two years later.  I would have actually always liked Faldo better than Norman due to the fact that he played Mizuno and I had seen one of his retired sets because Mizzy distributes out of Norcross near where I grew up.  The sweet spots had a dime size wear that I was in awe of... one of the things that got me fired up about golf and to eventually buy a set of MP-60's years later.

Reading this article did it occur to anyone that had Norman not been so defensive about Kostis's private analysis made public, he could have potentially stabilized his grip drift and kept it together on Sunday... it's like the greatest called shot in history!  He was warned and chose to ignore it and "play his game."  Wild.

I once got to hit balls on the range in a stall right next to Nick Faldo (around 2012 probably). It was just stunning. I never knew a ball could be struck like that. Again and again and again. And this was well past his playing days too.

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#33 gigjam78

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 04:42 PM


If Norman shot 74 and lost would you feel the same way?  Let’s not forget Faldo shot 67 didn’t exactly wait for Norman to fall back.  Yes it was a bad round but every golfer has them unfortunately for Norman it was on Sunday at Augusta. You don’t have a career as accomplished as his and hold the title as #1 in the world for the second longest run in history and not have nerves of steel. To go with his cocky attitude and demeanor. He simply had a bad day

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#34 gigjam78

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 04:44 PM

And furthermore until any of us have have completed at the level he did we should probably not pass judgment

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#35 cardoustie

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 04:56 PM

I was at this event earlier in the week !!

The Masters is THE one event the pro's want the most.  Rory (to date) and Johnny Miller are solid examples

Norman wanted this above all others and then he had to face the one golfer he feared the most .. in his group.  A tri-fecta for a meltdown.. a quadrilateral if you make it a Sunday

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#36 IVM

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 04:56 PM

No he didnít choke he had a big bet on Faldo in Las Vegas !

Letís get real of course he choked and he always has in majors .

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#37 emncaity

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 05:12 PM

View Postoz dee cee, on 10 January 2019 - 06:13 AM, said:

Lots of info there and I'm not even sure if I'm answering correctly.
Caveat first, I actually like Norman and he was my favorite player for 20 years. I watched that round and cried through it. (I was young and he was my hero)

But he choked. Nothing more, nothing less. Choke.

Luck with the thread...

Thanks.  But why do you summarily call it a "choke"?  What's your definition?  That's where everything starts.

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#38 Christosterone

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 05:14 PM

This is a bit off topic but Norman was so awesome for so long...

This whole video is worth it just to see them hit 2 irons 300 yards off the deck...



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#39 Shilgy

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 05:15 PM

View PostIVM, on 10 January 2019 - 04:56 PM, said:

No he didnít choke he had a big bet on Faldo in Las Vegas !

Letís get real of course he choked and he always has in majors .
Considering he won a couple but "always choked" he was just heads and shoulders better than the others?
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#40 Obee

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 05:16 PM

OP, Are you Greg Norman's favorite nephew or something? Wow. ;-)

And a real question for you: Do you play golf? If so, do you play tournament golf at any level? Or are you more of a "fan" and less of a player? Just wondering.

Edited by Obee, 10 January 2019 - 05:26 PM.

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#41 Malvern

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 05:17 PM

View PostKookaburra1966, on 10 January 2019 - 02:11 PM, said:

I'll throw someone else in the blender if I may.

Ever since the mid 70s, one of the most commonly mentioned "facts" was that "no Australian has ever won the Masters".  Norman grew up with that, as did we all.  It's not like there hadn't been a multitude of others with a good shot at it, just never happened.

Ever since his first professional win in 1976, he was "the next best chance to finally win at Augusta".  By the mid-80s that expectation had only intensified, Norman was the best, no, the only chance "we" had of breaking that curse.  He wasn't carrying just his own expectations, but the whole nation - a nation with not much to show other than perpetual overachievement on the sporting field.  After 86 (led going up the 72nd), 87, .... that pressure and expectation only grew.  96 was finally going to be finally "the year" and, having just crested the big 4-0 and physically starting to break down, the weren't going to be too many more chances.

Bottom line - he just wanted it too much.  We all did.

I'm not sure on the choking thing however every year when the invitations go out for the dinner, ol' Greg must silently curse.

Kookaburra, I think you are on the money in that it was simply an accumulation of expectation, also IMO a difficulty in managing his natural aggressive game to a winning game. To that end it goes back to 86 where I think rather than making an aggressive pass at the ball on the 72nd, he takes one more club and sprays it into the patrons on the right.

By the time 96 comes around, its the last chance, what went on in his head who knows but certainly some of what Obee mentioned seemed like it was occurring.

I play golf because of Greg Norman, probably won't follow him into his new career as a nude model.

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#42 Shilgy

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 05:20 PM

View PostObee, on 10 January 2019 - 05:16 PM, said:

Are you Greg Norman's favorite nephew or something? Wow. ;-)

And a real question for you: Do you play golf? If so, do you play tournament golf at any level? Or are you more of a "fan" and less of a player? Just wondering.
Whom was this directed at?
Call it choking of you must, for some reason I hate the phrase coming from those of us that never did anything near his career accomplishments.
That said imho he wanted it too much. If that's choking in people's minds then fine.
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#43 ClintDagger

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 05:23 PM

View Postgigjam78, on 10 January 2019 - 04:42 PM, said:


If Norman shot 74 and lost would you feel the same way?  Letís not forget Faldo shot 67 didnít exactly wait for Norman to fall back.  Yes it was a bad round but every golfer has them unfortunately for Norman it was on Sunday at Augusta. You donít have a career as accomplished as his and hold the title as #1 in the world for the second longest run in history and not have nerves of steel. To go with his cocky attitude and demeanor. He simply had a bad day
I think Norman tried to play smart, mistake free golf thinking heíd make a couple birdies, a couple bogeys, put up about a 72 and win by 2 or 3.  I think he was fine until his gaffe at 9 and I think that really shook him up.  His body language and demeanor changed a lot from that point.  Itís from there that he looks tight and seems to be wilting to the pressure.  I think two things can be true at once, Faldo can have played lights out and Norman can have succumbed to the pressure.  You said if Norman shoots 74 does that change things.  I think itís hard to accept Norman losing by 5 on that course in those conditions when he led by 5 going in without seeing that some of that was self inflicted.

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#44 Obee

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 05:25 PM

View PostShilgy, on 10 January 2019 - 05:20 PM, said:

View PostObee, on 10 January 2019 - 05:16 PM, said:

Are you Greg Norman's favorite nephew or something? Wow. ;-)

And a real question for you: Do you play golf? If so, do you play tournament golf at any level? Or are you more of a "fan" and less of a player? Just wondering.
Whom was this directed at?
Call it choking of you must, for some reason I hate the phrase coming from those of us that never did anything near his career accomplishments.
That said imho he wanted it too much. If that's choking in people's minds then fine.

That was for the OP, Shilg.

As for the "never accomplished as much" thing, that's just not something that should ever be brought up in conversations regarding sports or anything having to do with excellence. Otherwise, the only people who could ever comment on Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus would be Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus.

For instance, I shouldn't need to have Tiger Woods' career golf record to be able to comment on Tiger's short game melt downs. If I (or anyone else) have anything to say about Tiger's short game struggles (again, for instance), they should be judged on their own merit, not whether or not we've passed some sort of "test" as to our "career accomplishments" before comments can be taken seriously. Right???
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#45 Matt J

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 05:32 PM

Watching the coverage, the amazing thing to me is really how well Norman plays.  Faldo plays impeccably, but Norman's short game is absolutely amazing at this point in his career, he almost makes birdie after missing into the woods on 8.  He gets too aggressive on 10 and pretty much assures himself a bogey, but the miscue was really the iron shot.  By the time he rinses the ball on 16 he's obviously just cooked and turns around and stiff the re-tee.

These guys live on a knife's edge of making a living out there, truly amazes me.  I can't imagine having to AVERAGE 29 or so putts per round and hole 71 feet of putts just to stick around and have a chance to make money.  Amazing.


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#46 Darth Putter

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 05:35 PM

I did a Goggle image search for "golf choke."

Norman falling to the ground at #15 in 1996 is the first image and VanDeVelde standing in the burn at #18 at Carnoustie is the second.

The data has spoken.
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#47 Matt J

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 05:43 PM

View PostClintDagger, on 10 January 2019 - 05:23 PM, said:

View Postgigjam78, on 10 January 2019 - 04:42 PM, said:

If Norman shot 74 and lost would you feel the same way?  Let's not forget Faldo shot 67 didn't exactly wait for Norman to fall back.  Yes it was a bad round but every golfer has them unfortunately for Norman it was on Sunday at Augusta. You don't have a career as accomplished as his and hold the title as #1 in the world for the second longest run in history and not have nerves of steel. To go with his cocky attitude and demeanor. He simply had a bad day
I think Norman tried to play smart, mistake free golf thinking he'd make a couple birdies, a couple bogeys, put up about a 72 and win by 2 or 3.  I think he was fine until his gaffe at 9 and I think that really shook him up.  His body language and demeanor changed a lot from that point.  It's from there that he looks tight and seems to be wilting to the pressure.  I think two things can be true at once, Faldo can have played lights out and Norman can have succumbed to the pressure.  You said if Norman shoots 74 does that change things.  I think it's hard to accept Norman losing by 5 on that course in those conditions when he led by 5 going in without seeing that some of that was self inflicted.

This is an excellent observation and I agree.

But, I would add, watching it at the moment it's like every little miscue keeps adding up and looks like 3 or 4 more pounds on his shoulders.  And he scrambles like a mad man the whole time.  A few putts and neither or the balls wet on 12 an 16 and he wins by two.  Just blowing me away watching how he slides little by little.  And, we've all felt it.  That feeling that the whole round rests on a single swing which of course goes bad.  I'm guessing you are referring to not hitting one more club on the approach on 9 and hitting it long?

The first time I ever remember really getting into the red, I was playing super loose enjoying a conversation with a new playing partner and another another partner that I've always enjoyed playing with.  Didn't feel like I was doing anything real special, hitting fairways and greens.  Sank a big bomb of a putt on two, had a great up and down on three, almost holed out an 8 iron on the par 3, hit some good putts to make pars, then hit another wedge to kick in on a par 5, and all of a sudden I'm 4 under after 8 holes.  Scared the bejesus out of me and I was instantly cooked.  Stood on the tee at 9 and actually jokingly said to my buddy, I just want to go home right now and be able to say I was 4 under after 8.  Immediately went double double single bogey to shoot a 73.  :)

That's a choke.

Edited by Matt J, 10 January 2019 - 05:44 PM.


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#48 Hawkeye77

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 06:07 PM

Nice tour pic.

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#49 baudi

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 06:26 PM

First of all, I remember the emotional and friendly etiquette between both players on the 18th.
To me, this is ultimate strength of sportsmanship which is seen less and less today.
At a distance, people always seem to complain about Greg Norman but the man showed he stood tall overcoming this loss. I take my hat off for his attitude.

(Do not forget GN battled Olazabal for a win in 99).

For three days Greg Norman displayed flawless golf never seen before. No one came close.
Starting a final round anyone will realize to reach the level of golf achieved earlier that week will be impossible. So yes, this disadvantage is a mental issue but I reckon the day would have been different if Norman would have had a smaller lead or one or two strokes behind.

During the front nine on the last day, Norman was a bit unlucky with some shots but afterwards he explained he was losing his swing. Later he said he was hitting wedges 3 yards shorter.
Yet he thought he could still win tilll 16. Chokers do not think like that. They revel in negativism.

Of course Sir Nick smelled his chances. he nailed a crucial shot at 13 or 15 where he changed  5 wood for a two iron and had to deal with an unpleasant reaction of the audience. The worst memory he had is that people felt Norman had actually lost the tournament whereas Faldo did not get full respect for winning the Masters.  

Often watching golf is quite boring but this display is the ultimate show down.

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#50 Obee

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 06:53 PM

View Postbaudi, on 10 January 2019 - 06:26 PM, said:

First of all, I remember the emotional and friendly etiquette between both players on the 18th.
To me, this is ultimate strength of sportsmanship which is seen less and less today.
At a distance, people always seem to complain about Greg Norman but the man showed he stood tall overcoming this loss. I take my hat off for his attitude.

(Do not forget GN battled Olazabal for a win in 99).

For three days Greg Norman displayed flawless golf never seen before. No one came close.
Starting a final round anyone will realize to reach the level of golf achieved earlier that week will be impossible. So yes, this disadvantage is a mental issue but I reckon the day would have been different if Norman would have had a smaller lead or one or two strokes behind.

During the front nine on the last day, Norman was a bit unlucky with some shots but afterwards he explained he was losing his swing. Later he said he was hitting wedges 3 yards shorter.
Yet he thought he could still win tilll 16. Chokers do not think like that. They revel in negativism.

Of course Sir Nick smelled his chances. he nailed a crucial shot at 13 or 15 where he changed  5 wood for a two iron and had to deal with an unpleasant reaction of the audience. The worst memory he had is that people felt Norman had actually lost the tournament whereas Faldo did not get full respect for winning the Masters.  

Often watching golf is quite boring but this display is the ultimate show down.

Why would another round of "flawless golf" be "impossible"? Tiger did it one year later.

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#51 Matt J

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:18 PM

Weirdly very similar to to Spieth / Willett story in 2016 - did one win or one lose?  Always a bit of both, right?

Another observation watching Norman... he seemed to keep missing left with pulls.  I know that miss.  I started to realize that when I get tentative and slow down my tempo I will hit a pull and sometimes do that under pressure especially if I slip into a stronger grip.  Lately, I actually will concentrate on having a quicker backswing, with an attempt at a pause at the top, and I don't care if it goes left as a block (I'm a lefty) under pressure because usually with the adrenaline pumping I will get through the ball.  Funny game.  Gotta have some things to concentrate on to keep it together under pressure, a friend who has had a lot of tournament success always talks about his dad having coached him to slow his breathing down, walk slower, and then under club knowing he can't help but hit it a club long.  Seems to work.  It's like he has a casual round / normal carry distance and an adrenaline carry distance.  Wild.

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#52 Matt J

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:21 PM

I used to race road bikes in college and I get the joke and actually like the pictures, but I do find it a bit disrespectful to the OP and the users that are actually enjoying the topic to post something distracting in the thread.  Take it to the 19th hole and your own thread if you can't refrain.

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#53 baudi

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:29 PM

Good question. Norman and Faldo had a sort of match play situation

Norman was the only one who had shot subpar on all days that week. But he went up every day. Also remember Saturday Was a tough day that week.
The year Tiger won, Rocca was subpar too and  on the last day his competitor but not  his biggest threat. Tiger was 9 strokes ahead.
That will reduce anxiety in play.


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#54 Obee

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:31 PM

View PostMatt J, on 10 January 2019 - 07:18 PM, said:

Weirdly very similar to to Spieth / Willett story in 2016 - did one win or one lose?  Always a bit of both, right?

Another observation watching Norman... he seemed to keep missing left with pulls.  I know that miss.  I started to realize that when I get tentative and slow down my tempo I will hit a pull and sometimes do that under pressure especially if I slip into a stronger grip.  Lately, I actually will concentrate on having a quicker backswing, with an attempt at a pause at the top, and I don't care if it goes left as a block (I'm a lefty) under pressure because usually with the adrenaline pumping I will get through the ball.  Funny game.  Gotta have some things to concentrate on to keep it together under pressure, a friend who has had a lot of tournament success always talks about his dad having coached him to slow his breathing down, walk slower, and then under club knowing he can't help but hit it a club long.  Seems to work.  It's like he has a casual round / normal carry distance and an adrenaline carry distance.  Wild.

Yep, great stuff. I made some breakthroughs at my level completely by W A L K I N G   S   L     O      W       L        Y   when approaching my shot and when walking up to any green. I am generally a bit on the anxious side with a quick "gait." It's amazing how much just walking more slowly did for my ability to play better down the stretch when nervous.
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#55 Matt J

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:41 PM

View PostObee, on 10 January 2019 - 07:31 PM, said:

View PostMatt J, on 10 January 2019 - 07:18 PM, said:

Weirdly very similar to to Spieth / Willett story in 2016 - did one win or one lose?  Always a bit of both, right?

Another observation watching Norman... he seemed to keep missing left with pulls.  I know that miss.  I started to realize that when I get tentative and slow down my tempo I will hit a pull and sometimes do that under pressure especially if I slip into a stronger grip.  Lately, I actually will concentrate on having a quicker backswing, with an attempt at a pause at the top, and I don't care if it goes left as a block (I'm a lefty) under pressure because usually with the adrenaline pumping I will get through the ball.  Funny game.  Gotta have some things to concentrate on to keep it together under pressure, a friend who has had a lot of tournament success always talks about his dad having coached him to slow his breathing down, walk slower, and then under club knowing he can't help but hit it a club long.  Seems to work.  It's like he has a casual round / normal carry distance and an adrenaline carry distance.  Wild.

Yep, great stuff. I made some breakthroughs at my level completely by W A L K I N G   S   L O   W    L Y   when approaching my shot and when walking up to any green. I am generally a bit on the anxious side with a quick "gait." It's amazing how much just walking more slowly did for my ability to play better down the stretch when nervous.

I have to try it.  I'm a fast walker and a fast paced person a little anxious too.  I was playing with a guy the other day and he kept getting out of position, I'd walk quickly to my ball and then stand around kept hovering around even, take one back, give one up.  Maybe if I start walking a little slower and thinking through what I'm doing I can avoid some of my birdie/bogie syndrome.


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#56 jmck

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:42 PM

View PostMatt J, on 10 January 2019 - 07:21 PM, said:

I used to race road bikes in college and I get the joke and actually like the pictures, but I do find it a bit disrespectful to the OP and the users that are actually enjoying the topic to post something distracting in the thread.  Take it to the 19th hole and your own thread if you can't refrain.

OP blew up someone else’s totally unrelated thread with this revisionist history before starting this one, so no sympathy needed.

As to the topic and hand, let’s crack open the dictionary.....

“Choke....4 : to lose one's composure and fail to perform effectively in a critical situation...
//had a chance to win the game but he choked.”

Norman at Augusta in 96? It’s literally the definition of choke.

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#57 Hawkeye77

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:49 PM

View PostMatt J, on 10 January 2019 - 07:21 PM, said:

I used to race road bikes in college and I get the joke and actually like the pictures, but I do find it a bit disrespectful to the OP and the users that are actually enjoying the topic to post something distracting in the thread.  Take it to the 19th hole and your own thread if you can't refrain.

Sorry I probably am to blame for that.

Take a look at the Tour Pics thread the OP completely hijacked then said he wouldn't, then hijacked, then said he wouldn't and on and on.

Just a little humor (paybacks are heck) and the OP isn't getting near the level of interference he imposed on those of us who have been enjoying the other thread for quite awhile.  And, lol, what more could he possibly have to say on the subject. Even if pics are worth a thousand words, he's still way ahead.

I'll post no more pics in this thread - and yes, I mean it when I say that. ;-)

EDIT:  WTF!  Just looked at the other thread and my screen was filled with a post from the OP just a few hours ago, again long after he said he'd stop polluting the other thread with the stuff he said he'd cover in this new one. Tolstoy at least kept talking about different stuff in different ways in War and Peace.  Anyway, I'll keep to my word and no more pics in this one.

Edited by Hawkeye77, 10 January 2019 - 08:02 PM.


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#58 Shilgy

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:50 PM

View PostObee, on 10 January 2019 - 05:25 PM, said:

View PostShilgy, on 10 January 2019 - 05:20 PM, said:

View PostObee, on 10 January 2019 - 05:16 PM, said:

Are you Greg Norman's favorite nephew or something? Wow. ;-)

And a real question for you: Do you play golf? If so, do you play tournament golf at any level? Or are you more of a "fan" and less of a player? Just wondering.
Whom was this directed at?
Call it choking of you must, for some reason I hate the phrase coming from those of us that never did anything near his career accomplishments.
That said imho he wanted it too much. If that's choking in people's minds then fine.

That was for the OP, Shilg.

As for the "never accomplished as much" thing, that's just not something that should ever be brought up in conversations regarding sports or anything having to do with excellence. Otherwise, the only people who could ever comment on Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus would be Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus.

For instance, I shouldn't need to have Tiger Woods' career golf record to be able to comment on Tiger's short game melt downs. If I (or anyone else) have anything to say about Tiger's short game struggles (again, for instance), they should be judged on their own merit, not whether or not we've passed some sort of "test" as to our "career accomplishments" before comments can be taken seriously. Right???
Yes... But :) like I said I've never been a fan of the "choke" phrase. The connotation is "weak" particularly mentally. You are not #1 that long and win as much as he did without mental strength. Did he not have it that day? Fairly obviously something was off. Happens to all of us, often on days we want to play well the most.
  Funny thing is I was never a big fan, Freddie was my guy. But watching the Masters was like watching a car crash in slow motion. It was that difficult to believe as it seemed he was finally going to win the one he seemed to want the most.
  But I know what you meant about the out of body experience or however you phrased it. Usually the days you most want to play well and something's off, your mind starts racing, and your body is just plain out of sync.
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#59 rangersgoalie

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 08:06 PM

I wanted Greg to win, knowing what the Masters meant to him.

I was watching at home with my non golfer wife.

I remember on #12, I said fu#@.......my wife asked what happened?
His routine had completely changed  op  that shot, and I was yelling at the tv...steep away!

If I remember correctly, he hit it long left, and though it was trending that way already, Faldo took control

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#60 Matt J

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 08:09 PM

Although I don't like the word choke and wouldn't use it about anyone else, especially someone I like, I'd use it on myself.

There's a fine line like "shank" in making it into something bigger than it is.

There's no great mystery of why people cave under pressure.  Everyone has something that will endanger their performance.  Much like what Tiger says about the subject, he learned to dominant and close by practicing doing it repeatedly.  Everyone has to put themselves in a place to "choke" and do it over and over again to beat it.

As I mentioned earlier, Norman was just a few swings and a few putts away from closing this thing, but that level of play, on that course, at that tournament, is a very very thin line.


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