MELBOURNE, Australia – Captain Greg Norman and his International team had better hope its run at this week’s Presidents Cup goes a little smoother than its journey home to the Crown Towers from an opening-night team dinner Monday evening in Melbourne.
Coaches, players, wives and girlfriends were heading back to their hotel after dining at Vlado’s, a traditional, well-known steakhouse that sits down near the river, when their Gray Line team bus traversed a V-shaped crease in the road and badly bottomed out. “The loudest, most hideous sound of grinding metal you’ve ever heard,” said one person who was onboard. The bus driver did not know whether to move forward or backward to minimize further damage – but before he went either way, the bus had to get lighter. So everybody emptied back out into the street.
Norman, Jason Day and K.J. Choi then transformed from bus passengers to traffic cops as the bus slowly backed up toward a main road in order to get back on its merry way. At one point, Norman approached a driver with his hands in the air to keep him from proceeding up a one-way road so the bus could back up; the driver, feeling threatened and not instantly recognizing one of Australia’s premier sportsmen, quickly rolled up his driver’s side window in fright “thinking I must have been coming to take him on or something; I don’t know,” Norman said.
Norman chalked up the experience as good International team bonding, and he and his boys had a final laugh about the situation as they finally reboarded the bus and the driver addressed them with this: “Well, folks, sorry for the inconvenience . . . it seems I have a bit of paperwork to fill out once I get back to the office.”