x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Shark's claim may come back to bite him

That the long-time world No? 1 Greg Norman waited nearly two decades to trot out this version of events instantly drew raised eyebrows.

Greg Norman falls to the ground after missing his shot for an eagle on the 1th hole during the final round of the 1996 Masters. Dave Martin / AP Photo
Greg Norman falls to the ground after missing his shot for an eagle on the 1th hole during the final round of the 1996 Masters. Dave Martin / AP Photo

Maybe this is why pencils in golf do not have erasers.

Latter-day attempts at revisionist history often prove embarrassing, if not professionally damaging and polarising.

Greg Norman, who has generally handled myriad career setbacks with class and decorum that few other top stars could have mustered, has been not-so-gently reminded of that notion this week.

During a lengthy piece on Australian television, the Shark claimed that during his cataclysmic Sunday splashdown at the 1996 Masters, where he blew a six-shot overnight lead to lose to Nick Faldo, he had back pain. "I tried to walk it off but I couldn't," Norman recalled. "I told my coach, 'Today's not going to be easy'."

That last part, he recalled quite correctly. The ignominious day still stands as the largest overnight lead ever blown after three rounds at a major championship.

That the long-time world No?1, who famously blew 54-hole leads at every major, waited nearly two decades to trot out this version of events instantly drew raised eyebrows, as aficionados went snarky on Sharky. All the old cutlery was back out of the drawer.

One Welsh scribe mused of Norman's closing 78: "His spine did indeed seem to fall out."

At no point in the round did Norman appear injured, other than bruises inflicted to his pride.

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden once said, "Never make excuses. Your friends don't need them and your foes won't believe them."

Especially 17 years later.

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