Greg Norman

Greg Norman

Greg Norman: A Brief Biography

Greg Norman
Greg Norman(Source: Getty Images)

Greg Norman's Early Life and Background

Born in Mount Isa, Australia on February 10, 1955, Greg Norman's early athletic pursuits leaned towards physical contact sports like rugby. However, at the age of 15, caddying for his mother sparked an interest in golf that would define his future. A fast learner, Norman devoured Jack Nicklaus's "Golf My Way" and honed his skills, reaching a scratch handicap within a year and a half. Balancing his budding golf career with a trainee position at Royal Queensland Golf Club (where he earned $28 a week), Norman turned professional at 21 in 1976. This marked a successful year, as he secured his first professional win at the West Lakes Classic.

Greg Norman's Amateur Career

Greg Norman received media attention in June 1974 at the Queensland Open when he was just 19 years old. The Canberra Times reported that Norman, who was an amateur at the time, was only one shot off the lead after the first round. Although he started playing golf at the age of 15 and showed promise, he only had a short amateur career. He became a trainee professional at 20 and turned pro at 21.

Greg Norman's Professional Career

Norman turned professional in 1976 at 21, securing his first professional win at the West Lakes Classic that same year. He quickly established himself on the European Tour, winning the Martini International in Scotland in 1977. In 1980, Norman notched his first PGA Tour victory at the Australian Open, a tournament he would dominate, winning it four more times throughout his career. Throughout the early 1980s, Norman consistently finished high in major tournaments, including a runner-up finish at the 1983 PGA Championship. In 1984, his relentless pursuit of excellence culminated in his ascension to the number one ranking in the world for the first time. He would hold this prestigious position for a record-setting 331 weeks over the course of his career.

The aggressive playing style that earned him the nickname "The Great White Shark" finally yielded major championship wins in 1986 and 1993, conquering The Open Championship (British Open) on both occasions. Norman remained a consistent force throughout the decade, amassing 29 top-10 finishes and eight runner-up positions in major championships. One of the most notable near misses came at the 1996 Masters Tournament, where he infamously squandered a six-stroke lead on the final day, ultimately losing to Nick Faldo. Despite the heartbreaks at the majors, Norman continued to dominate other tournaments, adding 17 PGA Tour victories and numerous international wins to his already impressive resume.

While Norman remained competitive in his late 40s, the emergence of Tiger Woods marked a shift in the golfing landscape. After turning 50 in 2005, Norman enjoyed a successful stint on the Champions Tour (now known as the PGA Tour Champions), securing eight victories. In 2001, Norman received his ultimate recognition by being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, with the highest percentage of votes ever recorded at the time.

With a career tally of 88 professional wins, including 20 PGA Tour victories and two major championships, Norman cemented his place among golfing greats. His record-setting 331 weeks at number one in the world rankings stood for nearly two decades before being surpassed by Tiger Woods.

Norman's entrepreneurial spirit extended beyond the course. He established the Greg Norman Company, a successful global enterprise encompassing golf course design, apparel, and wine.

A true ambassador for the sport, Norman served as the International Team captain in the prestigious Presidents Cup in 2009 and 2011. Additionally, in 2021, he became the CEO of LIV Golf Investments, a new venture to reshape the professional golf landscape.

Greg Norman's Playing Style

Norman was known for his bold and aggressive style of play and is widely considered one of the best drivers of the golf ball in his era. Between 1984 and 1997, he finished in the top 20 in total driving on the PGA Tour twelve times and in the top six nine times, including first in 1988, 1989, and 1993. His ability to hit long and straight shots off the tee with a persimmon (wood) clubhead in his prime intimidated many of his fellow professionals. His high ball flight allowed him to carry the ball long distances.

Greg Norman's Caddie

Greg Norman's most prominent caddie during his rise to fame was Tony Navarro. While specific details about Norman's caddie choices throughout his entire career are difficult to pinpoint, Navarro's association with Norman is well known.

Navarro initially struggled to find work with other golfers. However, their partnership flourished after landing a chance to caddie for Norman. Navarro remained loyal to Norman, even declining offers to work with legends like Tiger Woods.

Navarro, in interviews, described Norman as a perfectionist with a strong work ethic. This sheds light on the kind of caddie Norman might have preferred – someone who could handle the role's physical demands and keep pace with Norman's meticulous approach to the game.

Greg Norman's Golf Journey

Born in 1955 in Mount Isa, Australia, young Norman initially set his sights on the physical world of contact sports like rugby and Australian rules football. However, at 15, while caddying for his mother, a spark ignited.

Intrigued by the game, Norman devoured Jack Nicklaus's "Golf My Way" and, within 18 months, achieved a scratch handicap – a remarkable feat for a late starter. Balancing his passion with a trainee position at Royal Queensland Golf Club, he turned professional in 1976 at 21, securing his first win at the West Lakes Classic.

Norman wasted no time establishing himself on the global stage. He conquered the European Tour in 1977 with a win at the Martini International, showcasing his talent to the world.

The 1980s marked Norman's rise to dominance. He captured his first PGA Tour victory at the Australian Open in 1980, a tournament he would go on to conquer four more times. Throughout the early 80s, he consistently finished high in major tournaments, including a runner-up finish at the 1983 PGA Championship. Finally, in 1984, his relentless pursuit of excellence culminated in his long-awaited ascension to the number one ranking – a position he would hold for a record-setting 331 weeks.

The aggressive style that earned him the nickname "The Great White Shark" finally yielded major championship wins in 1986 and 1993, conquering The Open Championship (British Open) on both occasions. These victories solidified his place among the golfing elite. However, the decade was also filled with near misses, particularly the heart-wrenching collapse at the 1996 Masters. Norman famously squandered a six-stroke lead on the final day, ultimately losing to Nick Faldo. Despite the major championship heartbreak, Norman continued to dominate other tournaments, adding 17 more PGA Tour wins and numerous international victories to his already impressive resume.

As Norman entered his late 40s, the golfing landscape shifted with the emergence of Tiger Woods. While he remained competitive, the dominance of the previous decade waned. However, his love for the game continued. He enjoyed success on the Champions Tour after turning 50, and in 2001, he received his ultimate recognition by being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Greg Norman's Achievements

Listed below are a few of Greg Norman’s significant milestones and achievements:

Total Wins: A staggering 88 professional victories, including:

  • Amassed 20 PGA Tour wins

  • Achived 2 coveted victories at The Open Championship (British Open) in 1986 and 1993.

  • Held the number one ranking in the world for a record-breaking 331 weeks.

  • Established the Greg Norman Company, a successful global enterprise encompassing

  • Served as the International Team captain in the prestigious Presidents Cup (2009 & 2011), fostering international competition.

  • Currently, the CEO of this new venture is aiming to reshape professional golf, showcasing his continued impact on the sport's future.

Greg Norman Awards and Honours

In 1986 and 1993, Greg Norman was awarded the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year Award, making him one of only a few multiple winners alongside Muhammad Ali, Roger Federer, and Usain Bolt. He was given the "Legend" status in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2007, and he received the prestigious Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America in 2008.

In addition, Norman serves as a member of The Environmental Institute for Golf's board of trustees and chairs their advisory council. He was also honored with the Golf Writers Association of America's 2008 Charlie Bartlett Award and inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame in 2009.

As part of the Q150 celebrations, Greg Norman was recognized as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland in 2009 for his prominent role as a "sports legend."

In 2015, the PGA of Australia established the Greg Norman Medal, which goes to the best Australian male or female golfer in a given year. Norman was also the recipient of the Australian Global Icon Award and the National Golf Course Owner's Association Award of Merit that same year.

Greg Norman's Majors

Sl. No.TournamentsYears
1.Masters Tournament2nd/T2: 1986, 1987, 1996
2.PGA ChampionshipU.S. OpenMasters TournamentPGA ChampionshipU.S. OpenThe Open Championship2nd: 1986, 1993
3.U.S. Open2nd: 1984, 1995
4.Masters TournamentPGA ChampionshipU.S. OpenThe Open ChampionshipWon: 1986, 1993

Greg Norman's Net Worth

Norman’s net worth is estimated to be around $400 million as of April 2024.

He is considered one of the world's wealthiest golfers. He has accumulated significant wealth through his sports career and business ventures. Greg Norman is now retired from golf. As a professional golfer, he became the first golfer to earn more than $10 million in a single season. His annual earnings were over $33 million.

Greg Norman's Ventures

Greg Norman has partnerships with companies, including SiriusXM, Verizon, Club Car, and Cobra Puma Golf.

Greg Norman's Assets

Norman established the Greg Norman Company in 1993, which was originally named Great White Shark Enterprises (GWSE). This multinational corporation is headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida and generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue annually. Norman left his previous management group, IMG, before founding the company. He used the Reebok-licensed shark logo to launch his line of apparel, which now represents over a dozen different businesses. The company changed its branding to become the "Greg Norman Company" in 2016.

Great White Shark Enterprises wholly owns several business properties, including Greg Norman Golf Course Design (GNGCD), which has created over 100 golf courses worldwide since its establishment in 1987. The Greg Norman Collection, a line of golf-inspired activewear for men and women, began in 1992 and reached $100 million in annual sales in 2005. Greg Norman Estates, a wine company, produces 14 different varietals from Australia, California, and Argentina, and has earned the number 8 spot in the world with a 1998 Reserve Shiraz.

The company's real estate division is responsible for various developments and projects, including the Medalist Village in Hobe Sound, Florida. The Greg Norman Design Group is a separate wing of the real estate division that deals in interior design. Furthermore, the Great White Shark Opportunity Fund is an asset-based, debt-lending fund that invests in public and private small- to mid-cap growth companies throughout the world, offering alternative lending and flex capital.

Greg Norman Jr. and Norman jointly own Shark Wake Park, a brand of wakeboarding complexes. The first park opened in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in June 2016, and a second, larger park opened in West Palm Beach, Florida, in June 2019. Norman also launched a connected golf cart in 2017 with partners Verizon, GPSi, and Club Car, equipped with a touchscreen display for music and GPS while playing a course.

Greg Norman Eyewear debuted in 2011, providing sunglasses designed for use on the golf course. The brand has a partnership with Aspex Eyewear and is distributed in the United States by Aspex. Greg Norman Australian Prime is a branded line of premium Wagyu steaks and other beef products. Greg Norman Australian Grille, located in Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, offers fine dining with an Australian theme.

The Greg Norman Company also includes partially owned companies and partnerships. For example, Norman invested in and became the ambassador for Vancouver-based GPS Industries in 2004. GWSE partnered with Kohlberg & Company to acquire Troon Golf, one of the world's largest golf management companies with over 250 golf courses in its portfolio. Norman is also a leading investment partner in Alchemy Global, a firm that seeks investors for sports startups.

Norman is the brand ambassador and partner to several companies, including Qantas, Cobra Golf, and OMEGA, among others. In 2017, Authentic Brands Group became a controlling partner for the consumer products division of The Greg Norman Company.

LIV Golf Investments is led by Greg Norman as CEO. The LIV Golf Invitational Series began in 2022 and consists of seven regular-season events where players compete both individually for points and as part of a team. The series has faced strong resistance from the established PGA Tour and European Tour organizations, including suspensions of players who joined the series, and criticism of its financial backing by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

Greg Norman's Family

Greg Norman's family life includes his current wife Kirsten Kutner, whom he married in 2010, and children from previous relationships. He has two biological children, Morgan Leigh Norman and Gregory Norman Jr., from his first marriage to Laura Andrassy. Additionally, he has two stepdaughters, Kaya and Kelly, from Kirsten's previous marriage. The family also includes four grandchildren.

Greg Norman's Wife

Norman's first wife, Laura Andrassy, was a former flight attendant. They married in 1981 and had a 25-year marriage, the longest of Norman's three. Together, they had two children, daughter Morgan Leigh Norman and son Gregory Norman Jr. Laura reportedly played a supportive role in his golfing career. Their divorce in 2007 was shrouded in controversy. Norman developed a relationship with his future wife, Kirsten Kutner, while still married to Laura.

Just a year after his divorce from Laura, Norman married tennis legend Chris Evert in 2008. Their union surprised many due to their high profile and Evert's close friendship with Laura. The marriage lasted only 18 months, with reports citing incompatibility and the pressures of their public lives as contributing factors.

In 2010, Norman married Kirsten Kutner, an Australian interior decorator. Newspapers reported she was the woman Norman allegedly had an affair with while married to Laura.

Staying Private: Unlike his previous marriages, Norman and Kirsten maintain a relatively low public profile. However, reports suggest they have a happy and stable relationship.

Greg Norman's Cars

Greg Norman has always been a car enthusiast and owns a collection of 18 cars, which include a Ferrari Dino, two Daytonas, a Ferrari 330, and a variety of Chevy vehicles such as Tahoes, Suburbans, and Blazers.

FAQ's On Greg Norman

A. Greg Norman turned professional in 1976.

A. Greg Norman was a dominant force in professional golf during the 1980s and 1990s. Nicknamed "The Great White Shark" for his aggressive playing style, he won over 88 professional tournaments worldwide, including two Open Championships (1986 & 1993) and held the No. 1 ranking for a record-breaking 331 weeks.

A. Beyond his golfing prowess, Greg Norman is a successful businessman. He founded The Greg Norman Company, a global enterprise encompassing golf course design, apparel lines, his own wine brand, and other ventures.

A. Greg Norman has been married three times: Laura Andrassy (1981-2006), Chris Evert (2008-2009), and Kirsten Kutner (2010-present).

A. No, Greg Norman never won the Masters Tournament. He had several close calls, including a playoff loss in 1982 and a heartbreaking final-round collapse in 1996.

A. Yes, Greg Norman is a renowned golf course designer.  He has designed or redesigned over 100 courses worldwide, including prestigious projects in Asia and the Middle East.

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