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So what did it all mean? Would a good finish at Troon prod Norman into full comeback mode? Would he say yes to the PGA? Would he play in the Masters? Would he risk his "nice little lifestyle" to chase the impossible dream?
Evert, walking every hole at Troon with a spring in her step, couldn't suppress her own excitement. "Something is opening up," she said on Friday. "Something is flowering that can be good for him. I'm sure there will be offers to do exhibitions and skins games, and there will be business opportunities." Was she worried that she might become a golf widow before she and Greg had finished opening their wedding gifts? "At this stage of my life," she answered with a smile, "love is giving him the freedom to do what he wants to do."
It was pretty obvious, by week's end, what Norman wanted to do: play some more golf. He birdied five of the first seven holes on Sunday afternoon, a charge that evoked his final-round streak of six birdies at the '89 Open. But then he took two to get out of a greenside bunker at the par-3 17th, reminding us that experience—linked as it is to memory—can be a nag. The Shark finished at two under in a tie for fifth, four shots out of the Vaughan-Cook playoff, and departed with an enigmatic shrug. "What will be, will be," he said. "And if it works out, great."
But Norman had already tipped his hand on Friday evening, when Evert dragged him over to chat with me by the 18th green. "You're the first person that I've said this to," Norman said, "but near the end of the year I'll be trying to practice a bit more. I'm already looking forward to July of next year [when the Open Championship will be played at Turnberry] and, before that, April. If I'm going to Augusta, I have to find time before Christmas to get my game moving in the right direction." Evert, he added, was making it fun to play again. "She'll tell me, 'Why don't you hit balls for an hour?' Coming from her, that really helps. It makes an hour and a half of practice worth five."
Norman wandered off, and then Evert came over. "I don't want to give you the wrong impression," she said. "Greg's life isn't going to change that much. He's not going to be a full-time player." She turned to stare longingly at her trophy husband, who was signing autographs on his way to the locker room. "But he's the master of his own destiny, that's for sure."
Co-master, I would have said.
Follow Greg Norman at the U.S. Senior Open at GOLF.com.