Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

FOCUS ON GOLF: PGA CHAMPIONSHIP | NOTES

With Hip Repaired, Norman May Be Ready for Some Stormin'

August 17, 2000|THOMAS BONK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — His hip is repaired and so is his attitude, which makes Greg Norman, well, what does that make him at this week's PGA Championship?

Dare we say it? Contender?

Anything is possible, especially for Norman, who only seven weeks ago had arthroscopic surgery on his right hip. He came back two weeks ago at the International in Castle Rock, Colo., and finished fourth.

"It's great to feel fit, strong and healthy," Norman said.

Norman, 45, hasn't won a PGA Tour event in three years, but he doesn't think he's out of the picture this week.

"I do like my chances," he said. "I feel free. I feel loose. I know I am playing well because I have practiced well. I don't have any doubt in my mind when I line up a putt, I don't have pain or anything to take my mind away from the job at hand."

Norman has won 18 PGA Tour events and the British Open in 1986 and 1993. Twice he has been second at the PGA--in 1993 when Paul Azinger beat him in a playoff when Norman missed a four-foot par putt on the second extra hole; and in 1986 when Bob Tway holed a bunker shot on the 72nd hole.

Norman said he is just relieved to be back on the golf course again after surgery.

"I know I am ready to jump out of bed and go," he said. "That just instills the right amount of confidence I am looking for. I think that will flow into my golf game. It may happen immediately."

*

Norman on his hip surgeon, Dr. Marc Philippon: "He is on the cutting edge."

*

Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus are part of a threesome for the first two rounds. It is the first time they will have played competitive rounds together. Vijay Singh completes the threesome.

*

The pairings for practice rounds at majors are always interesting because they usually feature friends or include someone who just shows up and joins at the last minute.

Here were some of the pairings Tuesday at Valhalla: Justin Leonard, Fred Couples and Mike Weir; Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara; Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Nick Price and Michael Gill; Curtis Strange, Tom Kite and Jay Haas; Eduardo Romero, Angel Cabrera, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal; and Jean Van de Velde and Nick Faldo.

*

Lee Westwood, asked if he thought he had often overdone his practice sessions at majors: "Yeah . . . I love questions like that--one-word answers."

*

For the record, the bentgrass greens are cut at 7/64ths of a inch, the collars are one-quarter of a inch, the fairways are 7/16ths of an inch and the primary rough is 4 1/2 inches. There are 41 bunkers on the course and water comes into play on 15 holes.

*

The 467-yard, par-four No. 12 was the toughest hole in the 1996 PGA Championship at Valhalla, while the easiest was the 535-yard par-five No. 2. And, for what it's worth, winner Mark Brooks was the best putter that week (102 putts).

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|