Greg Norman talks Tiger Woods, bad backs, surgeries at QBE Shootout

Chris Tilley/Special to Naples Daily News

Greg Norman talks Tiger Woods, bad backs, surgeries at QBE Shootout

Golf

Greg Norman talks Tiger Woods, bad backs, surgeries at QBE Shootout

By

QBE Shootout founder and host Greg Norman is a World Golf Hall of Famer and held the No. 1 ranking for 331 weeks, bested only by Tiger Woods.

Norman, 64, and Woods are having a different kind of “competition” with a number of surgeries. Norman said he’s had 12 golf-related ones, and Woods has finally recaptured his game to quite the degree after another surgery, this one a spinal fusion in April 2017 for his fourth back surgery and ninth overall.

Woods came back to win the Masters this year, and won in Japan this fall to tie Sam Snead with 82 tour victories.

“I think it’s great what he’s done coming back,” Norman said. “You know, it’s not that easy when you go through surgeries to get back to where you were. He’s not — he’s swinging great, but he’s swinging within himself, which is much better to see.

“So therefore, he’s learned a lot about what the old swing did and what damage it did on his body because speed and power is going to break down somewhere sooner or later.”

Woods isn’t alone as far as surgeries for top players go. Brooks Koepka withdrew from the Presidents Cup due to a knee injury, and Dustin Johnson is just returning from knee surgery in Australia this week.

“Everybody only has so much in their joints to deliver and if you have that constant wear and tear on it,” Norman said. “I mean, you look at all the power players in the world, (Jack) Nicklaus has got a bad back, I’ve had a bad back, bad knees. I’ve had 13 surgeries because of golf. Actually, 12 because of golf.

“It’s because we put so much load on our body. You’re swinging the clubhead at 126, 127 miles an hour like I used to do with those old heavy pieces of equipment we used to play with, it tells us something’s going on in your body when you’re doing it thousands and thousands of time on a repetitive basis, no matter how fit and strong you are.”

While players are hitting it longer partly due to equipment, they’re also using a refining another technology — training — to allow them to generate that power.

“I think the technology with health and wellness with the players has really elevated,” Norman said. “I think they listen to their coaches, they listen to their trainers, they listen to their physiotherapists, so they build their own physical program around their own body, because that’s the right way to do it because your body’s your fingerprint.

“I wouldn’t work out like (Dustin Johnson) works out and I wouldn’t work out like (Justin Thomas) works out. I work out because I know what works for me. So everybody’s independent on that and I think the longevity’s there.”

Norman was part of the International team when it won its only Presidents Cup, back in 1998. That was at Royal Melbourne, where this week’s is being held. Prior to Thursday night’s matches, the Internationals had taken a 4-1 lead following Wednesday’s play.

“I think what (captain) Ernie (Els) did,” Norman said. “I think he had the decision of making it the four-ball instead of the foursomes first up was great. Probably a few lingering things with the American team, whether it’s jet lag or not knowing Royal Melbourne as well as some of the International players, would have messaged down to the guys who hadn’t played Royal Melbourne.

“They had been there probably over the weekend before so they would have got to know the golf course a little bit better. But it’s an information highway about that golf course. You need to know it and you need to know the little nuances of what it’s all about.”

Latest

More Golfweek
Home