If there was a question as to whether or not the PGA golf season, or the other major golf tournaments, could have much drama following Tiger Woods' announcement that he'd be out for the rest of the season having surgery on his knee and recuperating, well, I think this weekend's British Open answered the question.
Australia's Great White Shark, Greg Norman, arrived at Royal Birkdale like a man on a mission, a 25 year-old flatbelly in the body of a 53 year-old golfer.
A golf legend who spent 331 weeks ranked as the world's number one golfer in the 1980s and 90, Norman played his heart out, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to counterbalance the luck -- and great skill -- of the Irish.
Last year's Open Champion Padraig Harrington started his last round paired with Norman and set off the first several holes with some smooth pars, as Norman started his last round with a calm, but rocky and intermittent start, making several bogies in a row and, in the process, deflating a global TV audience.
And I'm sure the folks on the ground at Royal Birkdale were rooting him on as well.
In the end, it was Harrington who played like a champion.
His second shot on the par 5 17th hole was one of the most brilliant shots of the tournament.
In short, he "went for it" -- recklessly, some might say -- by nearly knocking the skin off the golf ball into a 30 MPH cross wind, only to have it bump and run onto the green for an eagle, and establish a 4 stroke lead going into the final hole of the tournament.
Breathtaking, and a seeming counterpunch to the ghosts lingering from Carnoustie's 18th last year when he tragically bounced his ball across the Barry Burn before it settled into the moat below.
I hope all of Ireland celebrated Harrington's victory with a few pints of Guinness at the pub last evening, because it was one well worth savoring and celebrating, Tiger or no.
As for Greg Norman, who hasn't been playing golf nearly as regularly as he once did, thanks for the pseudo-Cinderella comeback.
It made me remember fondly all those times I cheered him on as a wee lad, and which helped pave the way to my love for the game.
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