Return of the Shark
Greg Norman doesn't hold a grudge against Eagle Trace
Wiebe's wicked words
Calc's imperfect 10
Five years ago Greg Norman stormed off the course at the Tournament Players Club at Eagle Trace after shooting 77 in the third round of the Honda Classic, then dumped all over the venue, calling it a " Mickey Mouse course" and "carnival golf." He vowed never again to set foot on it, which was one of the reasons the tournament was moved. So guess who plans to show up this week when the Honda, in a bind for a tournament site, returns to Eagle Trace? The Shark, of course.
Some speculated that Norman entered to meet a condition in his contract to design a TPC course near Atlanta that will host the 1997 BellSouth Classic, but that deal was signed two years ago, and both Norman and the Tour" deny any quid pro quo. The real reason for his return is much simpler: The event is convenient to his home in Hobe Sound, Fla., and since he must play at least 15 tournaments, why not enter those within commuting distance?
Although Honda officials are thrilled with Norman's presence, they were clearly not expecting him to return. Cliff Danley, the tournament's executive director, thought a friend was playing a joke on him when Norman called to commit. "There are a lot of factors in scheduling," Danley says, "but obviously we're happy to have him whatever the reason. Maybe it was just our time."
Norman, Who last month inspected Eagle Trace from the air while flying back and forth to the Miami boat show, is willing to let bygones be bygones.
"Sometimes you say things that you shouldn't say and don't really mean," he says. "In my younger days I might have been a little brash. Obviously I don't hold a grudge."
We'll see if that remains the case next year when the Honda moves to the TPC at Heron Bay, designed by Mark McCumber, whom Norman accused of cheating at last year's NEC World Series of Golf. "Just because McCumber designed the golf course doesn't mean I'm going to cut off my nose to spite my face," Norman says. "That has no bearing on my playing there."
One week after the fact, Don Pooley and Neal Lancaster were still seeing red over an incident involving Mark Wiebe during the final round of the Nissan Open.