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


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#61 dalehead

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 08:14 PM

One of the biggest chokes in the history of golf. Watch the tape. As his lead is cut into Norman just unravels before your eyes. The other term that fits Norman is underachiever. All that talent and just 2 Open Championships to show for it? And at a time when Nicklaus and Watson were past their primes and Tiger was playing junior Amateurs.


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#62 Hawkeye77

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 08:15 PM

I remember that Sunday as a particularly nice day for us that year, had a great Sunday morning with my wife and then only (and 3 1/2 year old) daughter and figuring out the lunch then snack lineup for sitting and watching Norman get the tournament that had eluded him and that he wanted so, so badly.  I wasn't any kind of a Faldo fan at that time (really came to appreciate him more as time went on) and was ready for a "coronation".

Totally agree with rangersgoalie, but I didn't perceive the change in routine. However, it just seemed like 12 sucked all of the air out of the tourney for me and had a "bad feeling".  

The next year my daughter got to watch Tiger and became a confirmed Tiger fan and little golf nut which has continued to this day!  If it took the former to help with the latter, I'll take it!

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#63 mosesgolf

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 11:38 PM

IMO GN was weak between the ears.  Itís comical how he often criticizes others failures when he himself failed so much when it counted the most.  Undoubtedly he was very talented and best in the world(talent wise) for a long time BUT he underachieved on a GOAT level with the talent that he had.

Edited by mosesgolf, 10 January 2019 - 11:43 PM.

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#64 Steele47

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 11:59 PM

 Hawkeye77, on 10 January 2019 - 07:49 PM, said:

 Matt 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.


LOL..  Kinda proud of myself that I picked up on you (Hawk) jabbing the OP for hijacking the other thread.  On the other hand,  at this age I'm ok with laughing for the wrong reasons.

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#65 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 01:37 AM

 Obee, on 10 January 2019 - 05:16 PM, said:

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.

I was a plus-2 as an amateur when I was playing a lot.  Also played and taught as a pro.  Got to about plus-3 or plus-4 at that point.  

Actually, one of the reasons I'm being so bulldoggish about this thing is that it really bugs me the way the fan mentality distorts what actually happened, how fans hang onto a narrative and won't let go no matter what, how they impute motives that aren't there, even remember the facts of that Sunday completely inaccurately, remaking them to fit the narrative in their heads.  

As for the other, I really like Norman and think he's underappreciated, but I have no problem calling them like I see them.  I was a sportswriter for a while too, and it's kind of a habit.  I'm not exactly sure why people think this is all about an attempt to softpedal that collapse, but it's not.  It was bad.  I'm just saying it wasn't from fear, and the distinction is important to a competitive player.  In fact, it's even more important that a competitive player knows what to do with what Norman's problem was than what to do with fear, because I've never actually seen a case of fear that didn't go away eventually if a player put himself in contention often enough.

Edited by emncaity, 11 January 2019 - 01:40 AM.


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#66 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 01:44 AM

 Steele47, on 10 January 2019 - 11:59 PM, said:

 Hawkeye77, on 10 January 2019 - 07:49 PM, said:

 Matt 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.


LOL..  Kinda proud of myself that I picked up on you (Hawk) jabbing the OP for hijacking the other thread.  On the other hand,  at this age I'm ok with laughing for the wrong reasons.

You'll both have to jab better than that.  I don't care if discussions go in a different direction.  What do you people do at pubs and parties?  Tell everybody they have to talk about the same thing, or go home?  Smack them if they make a side comment, and that leads to another discussion?

As for "hijacking" the thread, here's what actually happened:  I made the initial comment, then I got a flood of responses.  I replied to those responses.  So any "hijacking" was a collaborative effort, now wasn't it?  Unless, that is, you can come up with a rationale why I shouldn't respond to replies directed at me, on the thread where those replies appear.  

Time after time over there, I suggested a migration to this new thread, and what happened?  Still getting replies.

I don't know exactly what your problem is.  But then, I'm not losing sleep over it either.

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#67 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 01:47 AM

 mosesgolf, on 10 January 2019 - 11:38 PM, said:

IMO GN was weak between the ears.  It's comical how he often criticizes others failures when he himself failed so much when it counted the most.  Undoubtedly he was very talented and best in the world(talent wise) for a long time BUT he underachieved on a GOAT level with the talent that he had.

I don't know that I'd argue much with the proposition that he underachieved, simply because to me it's almost a certainty that he would've won more times with a mentality like Nicklaus and a very few others had.

You think he was "weak between the ears."  In what sense exactly?  I think he was too unable or unwilling to get out of his "I'm bold and fearless all the time" gear.  I don't think there was an ounce of fear in the guy.  But having one gear and failing to see the dangers out there on days like that Masters Sunday is a kind of weakness.  Or were you talking about something else?

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#68 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 01:51 AM

 dalehead, on 10 January 2019 - 08:14 PM, said:

One of the biggest chokes in the history of golf. Watch the tape. As his lead is cut into Norman just unravels before your eyes. The other term that fits Norman is underachiever. All that talent and just 2 Open Championships to show for it? And at a time when Nicklaus and Watson were past their primes and Tiger was playing junior Amateurs.

I've watched the tape twice in the last week, and have been going over every shot again today in preparation to do a summary for this thread (and for the book).  You're remembering it like a lot of people remember it, but you're just wrong, mainly because you're way oversimplifying it.

You may not remember, but Price and Faldo were playing some awfully good golf in the early-to-mid-'90s.  So were Couples and Love, and a few others.  But golf isn't really person-on-person anyway.  If you look at scores on specific courses set up specific ways, Norman played some of the best golf in history during his '90s run as #1 in the world.

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#69 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 01:53 AM

 fairways4life, on 10 January 2019 - 04:24 PM, said:

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

 Hawkeye77, 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.

Going back to look hole-by-hole again today in preparation for the summary I'm about to do for this thread, I was just stunned again by how great a round that was by Faldo.  At the time I was probably a bigger fan of Faldo, in fact, partly because we're the same height, and the problems that drove him to Leadbetter read like a list of the same problems I had.  What you see in his round was exactly the kind of thinking that was missing with Norman that day.

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#70 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 01:57 AM

 Hawkeye77, 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.

I'll read the article, but I've read pretty much everything on the matter, and I'm not obligated to take anybody else's read or conclusions anyway.  I've now watched the entire round straight through twice and spent a few hours today going back shot-by-shot in prep for a summary I'm going to do for this thread.  

Part of this discussion is about whether using the term "choking" to apply to anything that negatively affects performance is justified or worthwhile.  I don't think it is.  Not for a competitive player.  Do you think Norman was somehow fearful or unaccustomed to the big stage, or felt too small for it?


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#71 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:18 AM

 dpb5031, on 10 January 2019 - 08:22 AM, said:

Some days you just dont have "it." Whether it's
biorythms or whatever, sometimes we're just "off." We've all had those days...

Unfortunately for Norman he was "off" in that final round. Nerves become elevated when you know you're off and it becomes even more difficult to perform up to your own standards. Add the fact that we're talking about one of the biggest stages in all of sport plus Norman's own desires and expectations, and it's a real pressure cooker.

I guess you can call it a choke, or whatever you want, but I think it's more complex than that.

Anybody can call anything anything, sure.  Doesn't make it that, especially if we want the term to mean anything at all.

I agree with the "off" thing.  Especially relative to how he'd been playing. Not so sure about pressure really being much of a factor.  It's not like he hadn't been under pressure before.  It had been only three years since he shot one of the greatest final rounds in majors history at the (British) Open.  Since then he'd spent three years at #1 with one of the greatest runs of golf ever seen.  Plenty of opportunities to collapse in all of that.  What I want to know from people is this:  If he was so prone to collapsing, a total choker, etc., how did he do what he did in '93 at the Open?  How did he come from way behind a couple of years before that to get into a playoff for the Open?  And so forth.

But your "off" comment gets at something I think people who haven't been competitive players just don't understand:  Your best game is not on call at all times.  Sorry, but it's not.  And the fact that it's not there on a given day isn't a character flaw.  It's just life as a tournament player.  The question is what you do about that when your B-minus shows up for the final round.  This matter to the discussion here because fans are always assuming that if some top player is in or near the lead and doesn't win that particular major, he's a "choker."  They don't even factor in the fact that there is some natural variance, and the nature of the game is that you don't always win.  So there's a kind of baseline that's going to include a certain percentage of losses for any player, and when you're evaluating somebody's career at the top level, you can't make the standard a question of whether he won every time he was in contention.  (Not "you" you.  I can see you know this.)

But then, I'm not even that sure how much that whole B-game thing matters, if that's seen as involving a lot of mishit shots.  Because the truth is that Norman hit only a couple of badly mishit shots that day.  The collapse was due almost 100% to bad decisions, I think from overaggression and a refusal or inability to adapt to the need to avoid disaster.  People like Norman don't like to think at all in terms of "avoiding" anything.  To them that's negative thinking.  To somebody like Nicklaus, it's a parallel track that's always there alongside the positive thoughts about where you intend the ball to go.  

At some point in the process of this book, if I have the time to do it and can come up with a solid methodology, I'm going to look at the final rounds shot by people like Nicklaus and Hogan and Woods against those shot by Norman, Faldo, Price, Watson, maybe a couple others, and see what we get.  I mean final rounds when in contention.  Maybe even limited to majors, I don't know.  But maybe not.  Sometimes Snead's argument about the overemphasis by fans and media on the majors makes some sense to me.

Anyway...no question Norman wanted this win, so there was pressure of a kind (not the kind a rookie or early-career player gets).  I'm not really disputing the proposition that this caused him to do things and think in ways that degraded performance,  I'm just saying it wasn't out of fear or some closely related factor.  But good God, even suggesting he did something other than choke -- that he got hyperaggressive and one-note, failed to recognize what he needed to do, etc., but didn't act out of fear or timidity -- apparently people just completely lose it over such an outrageous notion.  I don't get it.

Edited by emncaity, 11 January 2019 - 02:20 AM.


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#72 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:19 AM

 Steele47, on 10 January 2019 - 11:59 PM, said:

 Hawkeye77, on 10 January 2019 - 07:49 PM, said:

 Matt 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.


LOL..  Kinda proud of myself that I picked up on you (Hawk) jabbing the OP for hijacking the other thread.  On the other hand,  at this age I'm ok with laughing for the wrong reasons.

See other response.  You guys are such comedy geniuses you really ought to take it on the road together.  With showers, or something.

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#73 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:21 AM

 Hawkeye77, on 10 January 2019 - 08:14 AM, said:

Now back to the pics.

Hey, that is hilarious.  Did the photos arise naturally from something prompted in the discussion?

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#74 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:23 AM

 ZAP, on 10 January 2019 - 11:43 AM, said:

I will admit I have gone to the course the day after playing well and just plain sucked.  Without pressure.  I have also completely collapsed under self imposed pressure.

I will say only Greg knows for sure.
If you're just gonna kill the thread like that, we just can't talk anymore.

In the end, this is going to be the simplest and best answer, most likely.  Although apparently for a lot of people, if you suggest that Norman is anything other than a gravy-sucking coward who choked his yellow guts out on that day, it sets their hair on fire.

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#75 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:25 AM

 DRRicks, on 10 January 2019 - 11:55 AM, said:

He almost missed the pond (left) on 16. C'mon.
That was a terrible shot, alright.  Question is, was it out of fear?

You happen to have hit on the one single shot I think he hit that day that might have been a matter of fear, for reasons I'll get to when I post the shot-by-shot summary (tomorrow, I hope).  I still doubt it was, knowing his history and his habits.  But possibly.


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#76 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:31 AM

 Body_Visions, on 10 January 2019 - 11:57 AM, said:

Whatever it was, it completely overshadowed one of the best final rounds in major championship history.  A 66, that I believe could have been a couple lower had Faldo needed it.

Personally, I define choking as a blow up hole, 3-putt, or a missed short one, while in the heat.  

Did he melt under the pressure Faldo was applying?  Possibly, but that was more of an all-day deal, that wasn't defined by any particular shot.

And let's not forget that Norman would have needed a 72, just to tie.  Not exactly the easiest thing to do on Sunday.

Totally agree.  (It was a 67, but still.)  Anybody going back to watch the round again is going to be struck by just how brilliant a round that was by Faldo.  In fact, it was brilliant in precisely the way Norman himself needed to think his way around, and almost certainly would've won if he had.

See the hole-by-hole recap I'll try to get posted tomorrow.  It was indeed an all-day thing, and Norman kept fighting back.  He also hit only a couple of really badly-struck shots the entire day.  Almost all of the collapse was due to one bad decision after another, always in the same direction -- overaggressive.  But I'm jumping ahead here.

I've reminded people a thousand time of the 72.  Good players know there are times when a 72 is so close to 67 or 68 it's not even funny.  It's the difference in one made putt or one missed up-and-down every several holes.  To the observer, it can look almost identical.

 Matt J, on 10 January 2019 - 03:58 PM, said:

Extraneous comment, I don't know why I don't watch old footage more often....

I just broke down my second office setup a few weeks ago and today threw together a second screen at my desk and put this coverage from YouTube on the second screen, WOW!

The commentators actually say pretty reasonable and intelligent things and the swings are beautiful, the course might look as good or better than it does today, get to see a young Mickelson, young Nobilo, good stuff.

You said it.  I agree.

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#77 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:32 AM

 jholz, on 10 January 2019 - 11:45 AM, said:

With the lead Norman had entering Sunday, and the way he lost it, I'm not sure you can characterize it any other way.

I can.  And have.  Stay tuned.

I mean, if you expand the definition of "choke" to include "anything that causes degraded performance in a final round," then yeah.  But what's the usefulness of the term, then?

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#78 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:34 AM

 helper_monkey, on 10 January 2019 - 01:43 PM, said:

The 1996 Masters is one of my great memories in golf.  My dad was going to do yard work most of the day and told me to come get him when they got on 16 so he could watch the last couple of holes and see Norman win the green jacket.  I (wisely) decided I better go get him well before that! We watched the last 10 or so holes together in almost silence, just couldn't believe what we were seeing.  After it was over, we still had to get all the yard work done that was supposed to have been done while we were watching golf.  We were out there working in moonlight for a bit, but it was worth it.

Really was unforgettable.  Totally tragic on one side, totally brilliant on the other, all kinds of insanely intense psychology and golf suffering going on.  In its own way, almost a match for Nicklaus in '86.

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#79 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:40 AM

 Kookaburra1966, 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.

No question that's a possible factor.  Even a likely one.  (I have relatives in Australia and ancestry there, too, but I would've liked Norman either way.)

I'm just saying I think he collapsed because he couldn't or wouldn't adjust to the need to avoid disaster at the same time he was thinking about birdies and trying to run away with the tournament.  It's his history.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.  I just don't think the collapse had a single thing to do with fear or feeling too small for the occasion.  He was pedal-to-the-floor at all times.  A hammer for whom every problem was a nail, and that hammer was making birdies.  That was the solution to everything, and you could see him continuing to try to do it over and over again that day.  It's hard to think about even now.  I'm about to post a hole-by-hole summary directly from the video that will dispel the myth that he was hacking it all over the ranch that day.  He actually hit only a couple of really badly struck shots.  What killed him was one-gear aggression, and seemingly no way of shifting away from it.  But then, you know, he liked to play that way.  Maybe some people just have to do that, accept the consequences, and blow off whatever anybody says.  Still hard to watch.

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#80 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:43 AM

 vman, on 10 January 2019 - 12:42 PM, said:

 King_Slender, on 10 January 2019 - 12:25 PM, said:

He shot 78 - total choke.
Similar to the '86 USPGA where he shot 76. Everyone goes on about Tway's holed bunker shot but Norman had 3 sub 70 rounds prior to his closing 76.

... ten years earlier.  Since that time he'd been #1 in the world for three years, played a stretch of some of the best golf in history, and played one of the greatest final rounds in major championship history at the '93 Open.

Problem is, people use selective evidence to advance the Norman-as-choker narrative they already believe.  Were you aware of the time he came from way back to make a multiplayer playoff in the final round of an Open?  Or any of the other good final rounds he had?


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#81 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:54 AM

View Postfairways4life, on 10 January 2019 - 12:21 PM, said:

Norman's playoff record in PGA Tour and European Tour events was 5-14.

For a guy that won 34 times on those tours combined (and another 50+ times on the "lesser" tours), he only got 2 majors.

He had 30 Top-10 finishes in majors and 20 top-5 finishes, but only turned two of those into wins.

He had some bad breaks along the way --- like Larry Mize's chip-in --- but it's not like Norman displayed a menacing ability to close out tournaments. Some guys are just better closers than others.

This is legit analysis, mainly because it's by the numbers.  

The question, though, is why this happened.  Is all poor final-round performance a "choke"?  Not to a competitive player.  There's a necessary distinction between losing out of fear or unfamiliarity and losing out of overaggression and failure to recognize and adjust to a situation.

It's a somewhat weaker argument to say he has only two majors to all those wins, for this reason:  If you take, say, 30 of the best players in history of about equal ability, simple random distribution will predict that some will win a lot of majors, some will win a decent amount around the median number, and some will win fewer, and this may happen for reasons that don't have to do with choking, character flaws, or anything along those lines.  Just the kinds of breaks and variables that happen in this game all the time.  Larry Mize holing out from 47 yards or whatever it was.  (I do agree that Tway never should've had a chance, if Norman had played just a decent round.  In fact he was the only player in the top 10 who shot over par, and eight of those other nine broke par.  So yeah, that's not good.)

But I would also caution against the use of selective evidence to confirm an already-existing narrative, rather than proceeding from evidence to conclusion.  Norman also had some excellent final rounds.  Every great player is going to have a dog now and then on a final day.  Is it legit to say Norman probably had more than his share?  Yeah, I think so.  But I don't think it was ever out of fear.  Early in his career, it was a technical flaw.  After that, who knows.  He had some bad and some good.  He reached great heights and had one of the biggest collapses in history, along with some less dramatic failures on final days and some successes too.  I would imagine if he were asked about this, he'd say something like "at least I was in the arena, and by the way, I'm talking to you from the yacht," or something like that.

Edited by emncaity, 11 January 2019 - 02:57 AM.


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#82 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:58 AM

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

Would I feel what "same way"?  My position is almost exactly what yours is.

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#83 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:59 AM

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

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

At the '93 Open, three years earlier, he was a shot behind Faldo to start the day, with Langer, Price, Els, and Couples within a couple of shots, to name a few.  And yet he shot one of the greatest final rounds in history.

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#84 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 03:01 AM

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

No he didn't choke he had a big bet on Faldo in Las Vegas !

Let's get real of course he choked and he always has in majors .
Eh, no.  Not "always."  At some point I'll run down all the times he didn't.  For one thing, though, he left us with one of the greatest rounds in the history of the game, on the final day at the '93 Open, against nearly all the best players of the day bunched near the lead.  Including Faldo at #1, one shot ahead of him, leading the field.  And yet.

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#85 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 03:06 AM

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.

It was directed at me.

And I agree with you on every point, except I don't think it's so "fine" if people want to call it choking.  Can't do anything about it, but it really destroys the usefulness of the term.  And it's more than semantic.  To a competitive player, it matters.  The things you do to overcome "choking" in the sense of fear or feeling too small for the occasion are different from how you solve a problem with being a one-track player who doesn't recognize a situation and adjust to it.


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#86 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 03:10 AM

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.

He led by six, and yeah, it was self-inflicted that he shot 78.  The question is what caused that breakdown.  I just don't think there was any fear in the guy at all.  Most of what you say here is accurate, I think, except to the extent that "succumbing to the pressure" involves any kind of fear or timidity.  Seems to me it was that "when you're a hammer, everything's a nail" problem.  The solution to everything in a tournament for Norman is to make birdie, which almost always means taking an aggressive line no matter where the flag is, where the trouble is, what the situation is, etc.  There's something to be said for a simplified way of playing, I guess, but you're probably going to win more if you have more gears and more ways to win.

In addition, and completely out of Norman's control, Faldo shot a brilliant round.

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#87 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 03:16 AM

View PostMalvern, on 10 January 2019 - 05:17 PM, said:

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.

You're dead right here, IMHO:  "...a difficulty in managing his natural aggressive game to a winning game."

Sometimes blind aggression results in a win, sometimes it results in a spectacular loss.

I'm sure the dinner invitations are indeed hard to see or hear about, too.

Just as a side note, in '86 he still had that technical problem that plagued him in his early career when he got emphatic on a shot under pressure -- the opposite of fear, really, an attempt to go with his aggressive nature:  His right foot would slide backward as he sort of straighted up a bit, and he'd hit a dead-solid push a mile right.

He actually played a helluva final round in '86 up to that point.  Only guy at nine under going to 18 other than Nicklaus.  (Everybody forgets that, in their obsessive need to push the Norman-as-choker narrative.)  As he came to that hole, I really thought he was at least going to tie Nicklaus.

Edited by emncaity, 11 January 2019 - 03:18 AM.


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#88 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 03:20 AM

View PostDarth Putter, on 10 January 2019 - 05:35 PM, said:

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.
You get your entire argument from an image?  Talk about the emoji generation.  Man.

"Norman falling to the ground at #15" is Norman reacting to a little pitch that nearly went in for eagle.  He birdied the hole.  He was also only two back at the time.

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#89 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 03:23 AM

View PostMatt J, on 10 January 2019 - 05:32 PM, said:

Watching the coverage, the amazing thing to me is really how well Norman plays.  

Finally, somebody who really gets it -- who actually sees what's there.  Almost nobody remembers what actually happened.  Ask most people, they'll tell you Norman absolutely hacked it all over the place that day.  Which he absolutely didn't.  Augusta is just really good at punishing bad decisions, and boy, did it ever.

Please stay tuned for the hole-by-hole summary I'm trying to get posted tomorrow.  Would love to know what you think.

View PostMatt J, on 10 January 2019 - 08:09 PM, said:

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.
An accurate and sober assessment, I think.

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#90 emncaity

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 03:30 AM

View Postrangersgoalie, on 10 January 2019 - 08:06 PM, said:

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

I'll have to go back and look at the routine.  If it's there, I missed it.  Very possible.

But on the 12th, he did what so many other players do:  Instead of hitting it over the left half of the bunker, he sort of shaded it a hair left of the flag -- Clampett said he was hitting it at the flag -- and then, I think because the image of that flag is just an instinctive thing with him (as it is with many other players), he just sort of put the hold on it to squeeze it over that way, and fell short.  

I'm going to cover this in the summary I'm about to post (tomorrow, I hope), but a lot of people don't understand that the green is angled away from closer left to farther right, and the slope in front of that right pin starts about where the back side of the front bunker ends on the right side of the bunker, or actually on the green if you're hitting over the left half of that front bunker.  So if you're hitting it to a yardage just over the front bunker and about 30-40 feet left of the hole, but instead you hit it that same distance at the pin on the right, you're pretty much on the slope and rolling back down at that point.  People talk about that shot like it was a chunk, but it wasn't.  It was, as had been the case on the 9th and 10th (and probably the 11th, on the three-putt), overaggression.  Which I'm convinced is what killed him that day.


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