Truth & Rumors: Norman stumps for Olympic design job

Truth & Rumors: Norman stumps for Olympic design job

Greg Norman, who along with design partner Lorena Ochoa plans to submit a bid to build the Olympic course for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, says he expects the gig will involve a lot more than just moving dirt around. The winning architect(s), he says, better be prepared to circle the globe, preaching the merits of the game. Greg Hardwig of the Naples News reports:

“In my mind, it’s not just all about the design and the building of the golf course,” Norman said. “It’s actually — whoever wins or gets the nod to build this golf course — has to spend four or five years promoting the game of golf. I truly believe that. It’s not just going out there and getting a design job, because it is a big step.”
Norman said there will likely be three final design teams chosen, and they will then submit presentations. He’s planning on going down to Brazil in early 2011 to look at potential sites, and figures a final design team will be selected in the middle part of the year.

If Norman’s right about the number of finalists Olympic officials will select—and if he and Ochoa are one of them—that leaves just two other spots, one of which presumably will go to the powerhouse pairing of Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam. The third candidate? Does it even matter? It’s hard to imagine another designer—even a big name like Tom Doak or Tom Fazio—getting the nod over either Team Norman or Team Nicklaus. In fact, the Golden Bear has already said that he and Sorenstam are all but shoe-ins to land the job. (“I’ll be surprised if they don’t select us,” he said in June.) Norman, ever a fiery competitor, will have something to say about that, and if keeps saying all the right things, like he did at his Shark Shootout yesterday, he’s sure to garner serious consideration.

“To be honest with you, my competitive drive is more in the development and growth of the game of golf on a global basis now, not on the golf course …
“I’m going to [submit a bid], because I see the chances for the game of golf almost doubling in the number of participants in the game of golf over the next 20, 25 years is huge. If I just have one tiny piece of that, it’s going to be so rewarding for me.”

In more ways than one. Finchem: New ‘Jim Furyk rule’ is intentionally ‘vague’ Among the sundry topics Tim Finchem addressed in his end-of-year powwow with the press Thursday: the so-called "Jim Furyk rule," which the Tour instituted earlier this year after Furyk was DQ’d from a FedEx Cup playoff event when his PDA failed to get him to the pro-am on time. Kowtowing to player and public sentiment that the rule was needlessly penal, the Tour repealed it not long after the Furyk fiasco. The new policy? Here’s how Finchem "explained" it:

“If you’re negligent with respect to a tee time in the pro-am—negligent, meaning, you made a mistake for whatever reason—it’s not a disqualification.
“If you blow it off, then you’re not going to be able to play in that tournament.”
The rule, Finchem admits, is “somewhat vague, but intentionally so, because we want the flexibility to deal with situations that may differ.”

Grey areas in the rules are generally a bad idea, especially in this case. If a player's alarm is on the fritz, he gets a pass, but what happens if he's tardy because, say, his personal assistant botched his Outlook calendar, or he passed out drunk in front of a Hooters? Surely those too are “mistakes,” all be it of a different ilk. Keep on eye on this policy. More controversy is sure to ensue. Oosthuizen learns success can be exhausting Call him Louis OosthuiZzzzen. There are several reasons we haven’t heard much from the British Open champ since he sautéed the field at St. Andrews in July: first, he hasn’t played particularly well (just one top-10 finish since the middle of August); second, he’s been hurt (he missed seven weeks after tearing ankle ligaments on a hunting trip); and third, he's tired. Worn out. Bushed. Ken Borland of Reuters has the story:

"The Open win has definitely sunk in, I've been feeling drained for the last five months," he says.
"The year is getting very long, I had a very difficult schedule with the [South African] Sunshine Tour at the end too. You want to do everything, but it's tough being mentally tired. It makes it difficult to play well, it gets to you in the end.”

O.K., lesson learned. Louis will take it easier in 2011, right? Nah, course not. First-time major-winners never get the message…

Oosthuizen is planning an ambitious split schedule next year between the U.S. PGA and European tours.
"It would be nice to win in America. I'll be playing both tours, splitting it 50/50, which will be tough. But I want to get my mind focused on being on top of my game at the majors," Oosthuizen explained.

First things first, Louis: go get some shut-eye.

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