Greg Norman on Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton and Ferrari Races

Thursday April 9th, 2015
Greg Norman opened up on "In Depth with Graham Bensinger."
Sports Illustrated/Robert Beck

Greg Norman is a great storyteller, expert name-dropper and one of the best quotes in golf, facts all evidenced by an interview set to air this weekend on “In Depth with Graham Bensinger.”

Norman riffs on several topics, including getting injured by Bill Clinton, his lack of a relationship with a certain high-profile neighbor in Jupiter and the time he narrowly escaped reckless driving charges in a limited-edition Ferrari.

Norman tells the story of getting a call from the White House ahead of a Clinton trip to Australia. Clinton wanted to play golf with Norman, but Norman, a Republican, was unhappy with some of Clinton’s policies and hesistant to accept the offer.

Norman called his other presidential friend, George H.W. Bush, and expressed his concerns. According to Norman, Bush said, “Greg, just respect the position of the President of the United States. You play golf with President Clinton.”

Norman obeyed, and later called the round at New South Wales, “one of the most fun days I’ve had on the golf course.”

During a visit to Norman’s home on a separate occasion, Clinton left in an ambulance, but Norman said he wasn’t the only one injured.

“It was just a shock really, quite honestly," said Norman. "When he got his heel caught and fell down the stairs and, I mean I’ve had three knee surgeries because he landed on my knee…I had to catch him. And you know, he fell on my knee. My knee buckled. I couldn’t move because we didn’t know what was wrong with him so his entire weight was on my knee. But…I took one for the team.”

Greg Norman and Bill Clinton shown at the 2012 Humana Challenge.
Sports Illustrated/Robert Beck

Bensinger also asked Norman about Tiger Woods as a player and a person.

“Personally, I don’t know him. Even though we live half a mile from each other, I wouldn’t have said one word to Tiger Woods in 10 years. [2011] Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, we probably said four words and that’s it, you know. Which is kinda strange.”

Norman said he made it a priority to reach out to Jack Nicklaus, another area resident, when he moved in.

"Yeah, to me it was my responsibility, if I’m going into a person’s backyard that is a figurehead of the game of golf, I’m gonna knock on his door and say, 'Hey Jack, I’m here, can you give me some advice,' said Norman. "That’s what camaraderie and sportsmanship and team spirit’s all about. Now look, I’m not looking for it, number one. But I’m kinda surprised that as close as we live…I’m willing to, happy to. But that’s his choice. People have their choice in life. That’s him.”

Norman, always one for adventure and luxury, also shared a story of a high-speed joyride with yet another famous friend.

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“I was with my buddy, Nigel Mansell, who’s a Formula 1 world champion…We were going down to pick up my car which had just arrived, and it was a Testarossa. And obviously I drive it back and Nigel drove another car of mine. And he started showing off his Formula 1 skills I guess and all of a sudden we were doing this ridiculous speed on 95 and it took the police a long time to catch up to us; pulled us over…We didn’t get a ticket. We were very lucky. We got a warning and a rap across the knuckles. They had a look at the car and was very impressed with the car. It was one of the first few that had come into the country. And that was it.”

For more reasons than one, it’s good to be Greg Norman. Here's a quick preview of the interview.

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