Greg Norman, aligned with Saudi-backed LIV Golf, takes on PGA Tour


(Scott Wiseman/For The Washington Post)

With decades of resentment and an appetite for combat, ‘The Shark’ is throwing golf into chaos again. This time, he’s doing it with Saudi money.

In West Palm Beach, Fla.

After lunch, Greg Norman stands at the window of his private yacht club, watching the boats glide across the waterway. Dinghies and fishing boats and superyachts, Norman has had them all, and they each mean something to him.

In the distance, there’s a Hinckley powerboat cutting wide circles, pulling a boy on a tube. Norman sees it and chuckles. A father and son, he suspects.

It was his dad, an engineer, who built Norman’s first boat. He would work beneath the house on weekends as Greg, 8 or 10, quietly watched him work the tools, bending and clamping the slats, gradually crafting a frame. When the little sailboat was finished, Merv and Greg brought it to Ross Creek and pushed it in for its first voyage. They named it “Peter Pan,” after the boy who never grew up.

“It’d be pretty cool to sail up and down right here,” Norman says now. “With this wind …”

He will be back on the water soon enough, no doubt. But he may be alone. His father, with whom he has a tortured relationship, is dying. Norman’s father figure, Jack Nicklaus, is among the longtime allies who now refuse to speak with him. The sport he once ruled is at war, and Norman — one of the most recognizable and accomplished figures in its history — is leading the attack.

His reputation is in tatters. He’s increasingly isolated. His default setting has always been aggression, a man who goes for it even when he shouldn’t, and he’s showing no sign of letting up. For now, though, he drifts off, still gazing toward the faraway Hinckley.

“This is a perfect wind,” he says.

During the secret meetings with golf’s giants, Norman, 67, begins by quietly sitting to the side. Jeans, sneakers, open-collared shirt. The vibe is casual. They know who he is: two-time British Open champion, the world’s No. 1 player for 331 weeks, fifth-richest golfer of all time.

Another man opens the presentations. He’s a consultant from Britain who has quietly worked for years to help the Saudi Arabian government establish a foothold in professional golf. He has led roughly 200 of these meetings, he says, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private pitch process.

Last year, a company called LIV Golf Investments — once a grass-roots effort led by the consultant’s marketing and tourism apparatus and backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund — hired Norman as commissioner and chief executive.

The Saudi government initially pledged $400 million for 2022 alone ($255 million of which is for prize money) to attract golf’s superstars, and LIV has announced a series of high-stakes tournaments around the world. Given Norman’s bona fides, including global renown as “The Shark” and a history of taking on the PGA Tour establishment, he was the “missing piece,” the consultant says.

“I’ve been down this road before,” Norman often chimes in during the meetings. “Free agency is coming to golf. Finally.”

Usually in a hotel suite or rented house, the consultant blazes through a slide show outlining the vision for the renegade tour. An international event schedule. TV-friendly elements inspired by Formula 1 and the Premier League. And, of course, eye-popping prize money.

The Masters, a tournament Norman knows painfully well, is currently the most lucrative event on the golf calendar. This year, its total purse was a record $15 million, and winner Scottie Scheffler pocketed $2.7 million. The 39 players who missed the cut went home with nothing.

On the LIV tour — it rhymes with “give” and was named for the Roman numerals of its 54-hole tournaments (traditionally they’re 72) — even regular season events will have a $25 million purse with a $4 million winner’s share, plus guaranteed appearance fees, no cut and other moneymaking opportunities. A season-ending team championship has a $50 million purse.

“It is landscape-changing,” longtime golf agent Bobby Kreusler says. “A potentially life-changing possibility for players.”

There is, however, the matter of LIV’s financial backer, which recently extended its total pledge to $2 billion for the 2023-25 seasons to further entice top-shelf players. There is a widespread belief that the Saudi government is using golf the way China and Russia used the Olympics, the way Qatar is using this fall’s World Cup: to “sports-wash” a long-hideous global image underscored in 2018 by the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote columns for The Washington Post.

Norman’s explanations for doing business with the Saudis have been clumsy at best. “We’ve all made mistakes,” he told reporters recently. The response drew rebukes from Amnesty International and Khashoggi’s fiancee.

Many of golf’s stars have distanced themselves from Norman and LIV, pledging allegiance to the PGA Tour. But many haven’t: Tour stars Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood are among those who will be in the field for its first event, scheduled to start Thursday in London. And at least one who had declared loyalty to the PGA ultimately signed up: Dustin Johnson, a two-time major champion.

Johnson’s top sponsor, the Royal Bank of Canada, dropped him, and the PGA Tour has threatened lifetime bans for any player who participates. But Johnson, who has reportedly received guarantees of more than $100 million to flip to LIV, remains in the field. On Saturday, Kevin Na, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, posted on Instagram that he was resigning from the organization and “exercising my right as a free agent.”

In interviews, both Norman and LIV’s consultant insist golfers don’t seem to care who pays them. “They ask,” the consultant says. “Then they move on.”

So Norman remains all-in. After decades of big risks and torched bridges, he says this latest gambit may be the biggest yet. He claims a lifetime of accomplishments, and being deprived of the things he wants most conditioned him for this moment.

He calls the PGA “monopolists” and suggests critics such as Rory McIlroy have been “brainwashed” by golf’s ruling class. The sport’s executives and agents, Norman says, are conspiring against LIV to protect an antiquated system that prevents golfers from realizing their own power and worth amid a global movement of athlete empowerment.

“You just can’t bully these guys anymore,” he says. “The world is too sophisticated now.”

As for doing business with the Saudis, Norman shrugs. He has built courses in China and Vietnam, using what he calls “golf diplomacy” to open previously walled-off nations. Khashoggi’s murder was “reprehensible,” Norman says, but he seems genuinely confused by questions about the ethics of his new venture.

“I’m not in this thing for Khashoggi or anything like that,” he says. “I’m in here because of the game of golf. That’s what I care about. If I focus on the game of golf and don’t get dragged into this other stuff, that’s my priority.”

Asked about his conscience, Norman again looks bewildered.

“Every country,” he says, “has got a cross to bear.”

They piled into the family car and began the long journey south. Merv had accepted a job in Brisbane.

Greg was a teenager, and like his father, he liked to build things. But his passions were surfing, golfing and sailing “Peter Pan.” His mother, Toini, was a single-handicap golfer who encouraged him. Merv understood none of this. He wanted Greg to attend college, join the Royal Australian Air Force, take over the family business. Instead, his son studied Nicklaus’s book “The Greatest Game of All: My Life in Golf and seemed hypnotized as he watched “The Golden Bear” make another charge on Augusta National Golf Club.

He grew his hair out like Nicklaus and mimicked his swing. He fully committed to the game at age 15 and would later improve his handicap from 27 to scratch in less than two years, earning him the nickname “The Golden Cub.”

Merv would call him no such thing. And when Greg was 15, Merv sold his electrical engineering business and accepted an executive position 800 miles away — a move that felt designed, Greg says, to inhibit his budding golf career. Merv even gave away his son’s golf clubs, Norman says, and his little sailboat. Once, his dad told him golf wasn’t a legitimate career and that, if he pursued it, he would fail.

Norman says he grabbed Merv by the throat and pinned him against the refrigerator.

“I went: ‘F— you,’ ” he says, “ ‘I’m going for it.’ ”

For a while, Norman tried filling the void with competition, or so goes the legend. There’s a certain mythology associated with “The Shark,” part of his decades-old allure. Among the stories is that, while making $32 a week as an assistant golf pro in Australia, Norman would sometimes wager $1,200 on a match. He would win easily, of course, and parlay his winnings into travel and entry to tournaments in Asia and Europe.

Eventually, Norman’s game brought him to the United States, where he finished fourth in his first Masters and second in the 1984 U.S. Open. A dashing figure from a curious land, Norman’s talent drew in fans and reporters, and his charisma allowed him to further shape a story that occasionally blurred the line between tall tales and the truth. He became golf’s first rock star, and Norman rewarded his new followers by bombing it off the tee and stalking up the fairway with his arms raised.

“He had long hair and was pretty brash. There was some resentment,” says Steve Elkington, a fellow Australian golfer and major champion. “But it’s hard to beat him; he’s just going to run over you like a lawn mower.”

Norman won 11 events in 1986, topping the world golf rankings — and became a divisive figure on tour, where many fellow players, finding him aloof and phony, refused to socialize with him. “Just because I can play the game of golf better than most,” Norman says now.

He led the 1986 British Open after three rounds but had struggled to a 74 on Saturday. That evening, in the Turnberry dining room, a sympathetic figure approached. Nicklaus had noticed a flaw in the young man’s grip: He was strangling the club. Ease up, Nicklaus told him, and the claret jug was his. The next day, Norman followed his idol’s advice, shot a 69 and won his first major.

But it was the green jacket and its validation that he craved: “I want that golf tournament more than anything else in the world,” Norman once said. The Masters was Jack’s tournament, the one Norman watched on television back home. He led the 1986 edition after three rounds. But Nicklaus shot a 30 on the back nine, Norman’s par putt on No. 18 missed left, and Nicklaus became the oldest Masters champion ever.

Norman started Sunday as the leader at that year’s U.S. Open and PGA Championship, too, but faded and claimed what the golf media dubbed the “Saturday Slam.” In the next year’s Masters, Norman missed a clinching putt on the final hole. Larry Mize chipped in from 140 feet on the first playoff hole for a stunning, sudden-death win. In most of the world it’s known as “Mize’s Miracle,” but in Australia, it is called “The Crash.”

He was a champion, yes, but now was a choker, too. He lashed out at critical reporters and distanced himself from friends on tour who suggested he modify his game. Deep down, Norman says now, he was looking for ways to overpower his lingering self-doubt. He had to prove something, he says, not just to himself but to the man back home who had predicted failure.

Norman signed endorsement deals with McDonald’s, Qantas, Hertz. Reebok started the Greg Norman Collection, an attempt at capitalizing on Americans’ late-1980s infatuation with Australian culture, and he traversed fairways in a bushwhacker hat emblazoned with a colorful shark.

There was no quenching his thirst for wealth. He would fly to Japan for a day to collect $1 million for a golf exhibition, then Asia and Europe to pocket $100,000 in appearance fees. He commanded $40,000 for corporate speaking events, sometimes hitting three in a night, and became the first golfer with $10 million in career earnings. He bought a 12 percent ownership stake in equipment brand Cobra, turning $1.9 million into $40 million.

He fired his agents at IMG and launched his own licensing and course design empire. He would meet with associates in Guam and Indonesia and Thailand. Norman once collected $380,000 on one side of the Pacific Ocean, then a few days later won a tournament at Pebble Beach for $600,000. Friends called him the “Human Mutual Fund,” and he traveled in his Gulfstream III, then his Gulfstream V and eventually a Gulfstream 550.

“We’re all coming in vans,” Elkington says. “He started showing everybody what was possible.”

He spent it as colorfully as he earned it. Merv was a “cheap bastard,” Norman says now, so Norman arrived at tournaments in a helicopter, or in his Rolls-Royce or his Aston Martin or his Range Rover or one of so many Ferraris he supposedly lost count.

“Even though I had seven Ferraris and whatever it was,” Norman says, straight-faced, “I really wasn’t a materialistic type of person.”

He bought a 12,000-acre ranch in Colorado; a mansion on Jupiter Island, Fla.; and an 87-foot sport fisher named “Aussie Rules.” He later called a watercraft designer in Australia and said he had drawn up specifications for his next yacht. It was to have a helipad and decompression chamber, a wine cellar, a 15-foot herb garden. Norman would design a glass pulverizer that ground his beer bottles into sand and a separate device to crush cans into quarter-sized disks.

The designer knew what “The Shark” was actually saying: He was going to need a bigger boat. And not just bigger than a sport fisher but big enough to carry a sport fisher.

“It was a bit of a chuckle, to be honest, like, how are we going to do this?” says Sam Sorgiovanni, who presented an initial plan to Norman for a 198-foot superyacht. By then, Norman had a few more ideas. “It was a handsome boat. And then it grew.”

Twenty more feet, in fact, with a $35 million price tag. Meanwhile, Norman’s golf game was stagnant. He went nearly two years without a tournament win, and with his business interests thriving, he considered retiring from golf. He silenced those thoughts with adrenaline: marlin fishing with friends, cave diving, surfing. Then he would challenge everyone to a canoe race. They would pound beers, and when everyone else was exhausted or wasted, Norman announced he was going to lift weights.

“He was all systems go,” says Butch Harmon, Norman’s longtime swing coach. “It’s like a racecar: You’re not going to slow it down.”

Not until it blows a gasket, anyway. At the 1993 PGA Championship, another Sunday began with Norman in the lead. Then his four-foot par putt lipped out on the first playoff hole, and it was Paul Azinger who lifted the Wanamaker Trophy. If golf tournaments were 54 holes instead of 72, Norman would have been a five-time major champion.

In 1994, Norman had an idea that rattled the PGA: a global super league featuring a season of showdowns on multiple continents. There would be 40 players in each field, including the top 30 in the world rankings.

The purses would be huge, and players would receive bonuses and travel allowances. Norman had already secured a 10-year, $250 million commitment from Fox for broadcast rights. He called it, simply, the World Golf Tour.

“The F-bombs that were being thrown about, the fingers that were being pointed in every direction, as to how they could let something like this happen,” says a former PGA employee who attended executive meetings then. “It’s not a hard concept. How did we, at the PGA Tour, not come up with this on our own?”

PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem threatened punishments and possible legal action against members who participated. Then he convinced the sport’s stars to pledge fealty to the PGA. It wasn’t hard, given Norman’s reputation. He folded and was “100 percent gutted.”

“They slayed the dreamer,” he says.

Finchem, who declined an interview request through his publicist, later announced an idea of the PGA’s own: a global super league featuring a season of events on several continents. Winners would receive $720,000. He called it the World Golf Championship.

“I don’t hold grudges,” Norman says, again straight-faced.

Longtime associates say Norman’s most remarkable skill is neither golf nor business. It’s his ability to repeat something with enough conviction that it becomes true. It’s his best and worst trait, those close to him say, the one that both pushed him from No. 100 in the world to No. 1 and made him successful in real estate, Wagyu beef, even water parks. It’s now justifying his partnership with the Saudis, associates say.

“There was a lot of: ‘I’m going to prove everyone kind of wrong,’ ” one longtime friend says. “Sometimes he formed his own reality.”

When Harmon pleaded with Norman to set aside power and rely on finesse, especially during a tournament’s emotionally charged final round, Norman would disregard the advice, the coach says. If friends and loved ones confronted Norman with worries that fixations with money and danger may be warping his priorities and blunting his self-control, he would distance himself. Norman’s impulses had made and enriched him, and they should therefore be trusted — even if they defy reason or inflict pain.

In April 1996, Norman dominated the first three rounds of the Masters. He woke up Sunday with a six-stroke lead, at the time the third-largest lead in tournament history. His mom and dad, up early in Brisbane, were watching.

Harmon thought Norman looked anxious at the practice range. Elkington saw a tentativeness in Norman’s swing, confirmed by bogeys on the first, fourth and ninth holes. Nick Faldo cut the lead to two, and after two more bogeys and a double to start the back nine, Norman had fallen out of the lead. Then his tee shot plunked into the pond at No. 16.

Merv and Toini turned off their television and went for a long drive. Norman smiled and congratulated Faldo on the 18th green, and when Harmon found him in the locker room later, Norman shrugged off his collapse.

“This is not the end of the world,” he told reporters.

“It’s not going to affect my life.”

Norman told himself he was nothing like Merv. Look at who he was, the things he could buy. His friends were presidents and prime ministers, and with his connections and force of will, he believed, he could transform entire nations.

“Sometimes I used to think, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to give my dad a big hug?’ ” Norman told Sports Illustrated before the 1996 Masters. “God, wouldn’t that be great?”

For everything Norman had, of all the trophies that could be bought or won, this was always what he had wanted most. He had never found a substitute, and though the dollar may not be as powerful as a father’s embrace, in the modern world it remains the almighty. It’s also a way to keep score when there are no more tournaments to win.

In the years following his ’96 collapse, Norman’s social circle kept shrinking. So did his national profile. He fell out of touch with Raymond Floyd and Nick Price. After Tiger Woods burst onto the golf scene by dominating the 1997 Masters, Norman became just one more relic of the game’s past.

He sold his yacht and his Ferraris. Norman found that many younger Americans had never heard of him or his brand. In 2008, he left his wife of 25 years amid a highly publicized affair with tennis legend Chris Evert. Evert’s then-husband, former Olympic skier Andy Mill, had gone elk hunting and day-tripped in helicopters with Norman.

“He was one of my best friends,” Mill says now. Norman paid ex-wife Laura Andrassy some $100 million in a divorce settlement and married Evert, only to get divorced after 15 months; he has since married a third time. Mill says that when he and Norman spoke a year after their marriages dissolved, Norman told him it was time to move on. “You don’t get over those types of things,” Mill says. “I cried for three years.”

Amid so many detachments, at least Norman still had Jack. When he needed to talk, he would drive over to Nicklaus’s and vent for hours. Nicklaus offered wisdom, guidance, affection. When Norman and his family moved to West Palm Beach, it was Jack who found them a house, Jack who pre-enrolled Greg Jr. and Morgan-Leigh in private school.

It wasn’t precisely what he had spent a lifetime pursuing. But he was used to runners-up. “A father figure,” Norman calls Nicklaus.

Four years ago, Norman flew to Australia to see Merv. The old man never said much about regrets, but with disease now in his liver and heart, it seemed he wanted to die with fewer of them. He was visibly affectionate with Toini, Norman says, and he thanked his son for buying them a house closer to Janis, Norman’s older sister with whom he used to sail Peter Pan.

Merv, in his 90s, stepped forward and put his arms around his son. Norman stood there, in this moment he had fantasized about. But it didn’t feel as he had hoped.

“It’s like, I would’ve loved this back in ’86 or ’87 or ’91 or ’92,” he says. “Or whatever it is, those moments in time, when you need that shoulder. You look for that, right? You don’t have it; I never had it. I never had the closeness of a friend, of a really, really true close male friend.

“It’s just those things that you need — ’96, ’93, when s— that happens in April in those times. Like, Jesus, I’m exposed, right? It’s not the same as going to your wife at the time, and I definitely, definitely did miss that. But you learn to …”

“It makes you stronger, I think.”

If you’re a traditionally despotic kingdom looking to use golf as an avenue to global acceptability, you might think one of the two greatest golfers of all time would make the perfect partner. Indeed, Nicklaus, 82 and forever genial, recently said he was offered more than $100 million to be the public face of LIV.

The tour’s consultant also pitched representatives for Woods, who once staged his own public coup with the PGA Tour over marketing rights. Norman says Woods turned down a deal that was “mind-blowingly enormous; we’re talking about high nine digits.”

Those icons were logical choices, with money and fame and experience building robust brands. But they lacked the willingness, at least in part because both are concerned with generational legacy, with lives (and after-lives) filled with ceremonial tee shots and stirring montages.

Greg Norman? “I don’t care about that s—,” he says.

When Norman met with LIV’s investment group last year, he says, he already had conducted economic stress tests of LIV’s vision. He laid out his experiences designing courses and luring tourists in Vietnam, on mainland China and in the United Arab Emirates. And he talked about the lessons learned from his mistakes with the World Golf Tour three decades earlier.

“We already had the playbook,” he says, “so I knew what was coming.”

Norman says he hoped LIV and the PGA Tour could live symbiotically. LIV events avoided overlap with marquee tournaments, and Norman says he repeatedly tried to initiate dialogue with Tour executives. No one responded, he says, and earlier this year the Tour’s response seemed familiar: Players who chose LIV may face a lifetime ban from the PGA, Commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Woods, whose agent didn’t respond to a request for an interview, reaffirmed his loyalty to the PGA. McIlroy, a four-time major champion, said Norman’s league was “dead in the water.” Phil Mickelson has spent the past four months in exile after the release of an interview in which he called the Saudis “scary motherf—–s” but indicated a willingness to take their money.

Nicklaus has admonished any series that would compete with the PGA Tour. As a result, Norman says, he has cut off his longtime mentor.

“I never spoke to him much before then,” Norman claims.

Reminded of their long talks and deep friendship, Norman takes a deep breath.

“One hundred percent truth? Jack’s a hypocrite,” he says. “When he came out with those comments, I’m thinking: Jack must have a short memory.”

He says Nicklaus attended a LIV presentation and later wrote in an email that the new tour had his blessing.

“Quote-unquote, he said: ‘This is good for our game. If it’s good for the game of golf, it’s good by me,’ ” Norman says. “So, you want the facts? You’ve got the facts. Know what you said before you open your mouth.”

A spokesman for Nicklaus, who’s being sued by his own company partly because of his negotiations with the Saudis, declined to make him available for an interview but sent a statement reiterating Nicklaus’s “unwavering support” for the PGA Tour and wishing Norman well.

Norman has said the backlash to Mickelson’s comments about the Saudis scared off some players and stalled LIV’s momentum. But Johnson and Garcia are among those that came on board, and one prominent golf agent suggests Mickelson’s comments “put it all on the table for everybody to see.”

“Everybody is paying attention to it,” the agent continues. Like other reps and players who met with LIV, this agent signed a nondisclosure agreement. “Any guy who plays in one of these events … your marketability is going to go up instantly. And the money is life-changing. They got that right. People who would never had paid attention to this are paying attention now. Because it is life-changing.”

Norman has installed executives from ESPN, the NFL, even Augusta National. He claims LIV has a business model — and an investor — that could give it a 200-year life span. And after the first tournament, when someone pockets millions and the entire field gets paid, Norman believes more superstars will join.

Then, he says, everyone will see what he sees.

“Everybody says to me: ‘Greg, you’re the punching bag.’ I’ve been a punching bag for 45 years of my life. It doesn’t bother me,” he says. “I’m not going to back off. I’m not going to show weakness to my team. I’m not going to show weakness to monopolists. I’m going to stand up for the rights of the players.”

He pauses before continuing.

“The players who decide to come on board, God bless them,” he says. “They’re going to make a lot of money.”

Three weeks before this year’s Masters, Norman traveled to Brisbane. The time had come to say goodbye. He walked in for the first time in four years and saw Merv in a chair he rarely leaves, where he sleeps 17 hours a day, the once-muscular man who had raised and taught and scarred him now frail at 135 pounds.

He won’t let Norman pay for a nurse, won’t sit in a wheelchair. Imagine being that stubborn, Norman says.

Merv faded in and out, and Norman spoke fast as he tried to explain this thing he’s building. It’s big, he said, though Tiger and Phil and Jack, of all people …

But Merv couldn’t hear him. He’d fallen asleep. Norman had so much he wanted to say, a lifetime of moments and choices that’d stay trapped inside. He returned each day for two weeks, Norman and his family say, spending hours trying to tell his 94-year-old father as much as he could. In a phone interview later, his mother and sister said they were surprised there wasn’t some meeting or call that stole Norman, like usual.

When it was time to go, Norman walked to Merv’s chair and lifted him. Norman says Merv tried to raise his arms, to hug his son one last time. But he was too weak. His arms dangled, and Norman’s eyes flooded. He carefully lowered his dad back into the chair. Merv had just waited too long, and now both of them were out of time.

Nothing gets the heart racing like a call with the Saudis. Norman, arriving to an interview, compares the feeling to scuba diving into a 200-foot cave and having to remove his oxygen tank to fit through a narrow slip. You swim like hell, hope there’s air on the other side or die.

It’s something few humans can comprehend. And with many of his old friendships gone, controversy chasing off most of the rest, Norman has almost no one to talk to. Certainly no one he’ll listen to.

When Norman was in Brisbane this spring, his mother and sister tried probing him. Toini was alarmed by some of what her son was saying, in particular that Nicklaus had flipped on him. Janis said she recently stopped reading about LIV and her brother in the Australian press because, she says, they’re “crucifying” him.

“I know he doesn’t always care,” Janis says. “But we do.”

“We don’t want his reputation to be ruined completely,” Toini says. “He’s always been looked up to, and now …”

Norman’s 91-year-old mother pauses.

“We don’t know,” she says.

“He’s certainly becoming more and more like Dad,” Janis says.

“When he gets an idea,” Toini says, “then he will just — he won’t give up on anything.”

At lunch, after the Saudi call, Norman sits with his arms crossed. His father liked to design and build things, could be insular and cross, trusted his gut to a point it bordered on myopia. Maybe, Norman says now, Merv had it right.

“I didn’t see it back then,” he says.

But didn’t Merv eventually recognize he had taken it too far? With Nicklaus facing legal troubles and declining health, why doesn’t Norman learn from his dad’s final blueprint and eliminate a possible regret? His mother and sister wish he would. So do some of Norman’s remaining friends in golf.

“I would not let that fester. I would clear the air,” Elkington says. “I can’t speak for Greg. I know he gets hardheaded. I don’t want you to write that he should go talk to Jack. But I would.”

Norman, though, doesn’t given in. Never has.

“Right now,” he says, “if I picked up the phone with Jack, knowing what happened with the presentation with him before …”

“It’d just send the wrong message,” he continues. “I’ve got my own life. I’m disappointed, but that’s the way it is.”

Norman stands, takes a last look through the window at the passing boats and heads toward the yacht club’s parking lot. He’s building something, and there’s work left to do. He climbs into his Aston Martin and eases it toward North Flagler Drive. Then, with traffic approaching, Norman floors it. A Mercedes swerves and honks, but Norman ignores it, looking unbothered once more as this solitary traveler charges up the road.


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