Sunday, July 27, 2008

TROON, SCOTLAND –- Greg Norman birdied five of the first seven holes this afternoon at the Senior British Open, reminding old-timers of his six-birdie start in the final round of the '89 Open Championship. It sent me running to the SI Vault for a long interview I conducted with the Shark in the autumn of 1991. Specifically, I wanted to take a second look at Norman's answers to questions about form, momentum, and the fabled "zone" of peak performance.
"The thing with golf," Norman told me at the time, "is it's like a cat chasing its tail. You're never going to catch it. The day you think you've got your swing down pat, something goes awry and you've got to go back to the driving range, back to square one. That's one reason why I love the game so much. It's the soul-searching and the never-ending search for the perfect swing. Nobody's ever going to achieve the perfect swing, but you get those moments where you can put a golf ball within a foot from 180 yards away. That's a very unique time."
"How would you describe that feeling," I asked.
"There's this inner calm you get. Nobody's going to break your concentration, and it's like you're flowing along -- you don't feel the ground. You pick up the golf club and it feels like you're milking it. The swing feels like it takes five seconds, when it really takes 1.2. That's what the game is all about, that feeling."
"How long can you sustain that feeling?"
"One shot, maybe. Yeah, 'cause the next shot is a different situation."
For more of my Q&A with Norman, take the stairs down to the Vault and tell the clerk that Garrity sent you.

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