Greg Norman has played a number of roles for fellow Australian Adam Scott over the years. He was Scott’s boyhood hero and became his mentor when Scott turned pro in 2000. Friday at Royal Birkdale, the 53-year-old Norman played a different and unexpected role to his 28-year-old protégé: rival.
Scott, for one, couldn’t be more excited about it.
“It’s fantastic,” Scott said of Norman's performance at the Open Championship. “He’s probably the most experienced player in contention and he certainly knows how to get it done on these types if courses.” Scott and Norman began the second round tied at even par, one stroke off the lead. But Norman, who teed off an hour before Scott, took the lead with a birdie on the first en route to an even-par round of 70 that left him in solo first until K.J. Choi got to one under.
By comparison, Scott struggled with his swing and his putting. He had three bogeys on the back nine and carded a 74. He admits he’ll need to play better if he wants to be paired with Norman on Sunday.
“When he was one-under through nine, I was trying to get myself up there so maybe I could play with him over the weekend,” Scott said. “To be paired with him in an Open at the weekend would be great. I have to play well tomorrow and hopefully I’ll catch him Sunday.”
Scott played nine holes in practice with Norman earlier this week and said he saw some indications that the veteran might be able to muster one final run at a major title.
“I know he doesn’t play much but when you’re as good as he is you know how to get the ball around no matter how you’re playing,” Scott said. “He’s obviously playing well and it’s easy for him just now. He’s still the Australian hero.”
(Photo: Getty Images)