Dublin, OH — Each year the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide selects an honoree that is recognized Wednesday in a special ceremony which occurs on the driving range.
This year’s honoree was Greg Norman. Norman was honored with Tony Lema, Ken Venturi and E. Harvie Ward with the latter three being recognized posthumously.
“I still can’t find the right words to tell you the truth,” Norman said. “The relationship I’ve had with Jack has been extremely special. From 46 years ago to where we are today it’s hard to imagine someone having that kind of an effect on you as you go through life.”
Adam Scott, currently ranked 10th in the world, was quick to offer his take on his fellow countryman being honored.
“It’s nice to see that Greg is being honored here,” he said. “I have a million stories about watching Greg, growing up as a kid playing. He was the guy carrying golf for my whole childhood, at least in Australia. He was an inspiration to a whole generation of kids in Australia.”
Scott also shared a story about a practice round he played with Norman at the Masters. The duo got held up on the 11th hole and Norman’s then caddie Tony Navarro was sent to pick up sandwiches at the concession stand.
“We sat at the back of the pond by the green and ate the sandwich and he was just really building me up,” said Scott. “That was a really nice moment because it was all very calm down there and gave me a lot of confidence for the week and that’s something that I remember that was pretty special.”
After the ceremony, Norman met with reporters discussing a variety of topics.
When asked which one shot he would want a mulligan on, Norman thought of the 1986 Masters and the final round duel he had with Nicklaus.
“All day long I had been playing great great,” said Norman. “I made a decision to carve in a really nice soft 4-iron in there to try and knock it close and I had been on a bit of a birdie run. I made the wrong choice. If I had to go out and make that shot again, I would have pulled out a 5-iron.”
While Scott and Jason Day headline the current group of Australians on the PGA TOUR, the potential future has a chance to be showcased this week as Brett Colette, Curtis Luck and Ryan Ruffels all are in this week’s field. Norman was able to reflect on the trio and the state of Australian golf.
“We have this ability to keep churning out these great players every 15 years,” Norman said. “I think it’s just a reflection of the guys before who delivered the message and stimulation to these young kids. We realized to become really good, we have to leave our homeland, unfortunately because we’re an island located in the middle of nowhere. We aren’t afraid to go overseas, take our talents, as good as there are, to showcase them anywhere.”
Norman did admit during his press conference that he made mistakes on the golf course, as everybody does, but there was a reason why he mentioned this when discussing his legacy.
“I maximized everything I did,” said Norman. “I cared about everything I did. My priority was the game of golf first, my country second and myself third. That’s the way I was.”
The honorees for next year’s Memorial Tournament will be announced on Sunday.