There’s a great story about a European Ryder Cup captain who keeps a little black book of which journalists he won’t speak to. If Tiger Woods keeps a player version then there’s a good chance Greg Norman will be in it.
The pair’s careers just missed each other – Norman’s final victory on the PGA Tour came just a few months after Woods won his first Green Jacket – but there have been a number of exchanges that suggest they’ve never been close despite the obvious Butch Harmon connection.
As recently as 2017, on ‘In Depth With Graham Bensinger’, Norman revealed that, despite being near neighbours, they never talk.
“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. At the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne we probably said four words, and that’s it, which is kind of strange.”
The previous week, at the Australian Open, they were pictured here looking like old friends reunited.
As for any perceived rift he added: “I don’t have anything against Tiger Woods. I think that’s just the media making it up. At the end of the day I haven’t had a conversation with Tiger Woods to predetermine that there is a barrier there. I’m happy to but that’s his choice and that won’t take any skin off my nose.”
Later that year, after he made his long-awaited comeback at the Hero World Challenge, Norman said that “a lot of the stuff he’s done has been self-inflicted” before a little dig at Woods playing things down.
“Everybody was wondering, you know, the speculation of him saying, ‘I may never play golf again,’ and then all of a sudden he says he’s hitting the ball 330 yards. Big difference from there to there, right?”
Otherwise Norman has said he would have chosen Keegan Bradley over Woods for the Presidents Cup in 2011 and the following year he claimed Tiger was really intimidated by Rory.
Which makes this week’s revelations, courtesy of an interview with Men’s Health, not overly surprising.
“Very few people know this: when Tiger won the Masters this year, I wrote him a hand-written note and drove down my road, maybe a quarter of a mile, and hand-delivered it to his guard at his gate. I said, ‘Hey, this is Greg Norman here. I’ve got a note for Tiger – can you please hand-deliver it to him?’”
Which seems, given their possible history, a nice touch but one, now, that seems to have put the Aussie’s nose out of joint.
“Well, I never heard a word back from the guy. Maybe Tiger just dislikes me. I have no idea. I’ve never had a conversation with him about it. I’ve always been respectful about what his father did for him. I played nine holes with him at his father’s and IMG’s request when Tiger was 14 or 15 and I was the No. 1 player in the world, to give an assessment of this kid. So, I have always been willing.”