Jack Nicklaus has been the king of this, but names like Johnny Miller and Arnold Palmer and Gary Player all come to mind as men who have become more open about stuff as the years have added up.
Welcome Greg Norman to that elite group of major champions that said something that definitely will raise an eyebrow or two around the golf world. Norman, now 58, was interviewed by David DeNunzio over at Golf.com and was asked about the prime of his golfing life and how equipment would play a factor if his prime happened to be 2013.
I'm warning you, put the hot coffee down now before you read Norman's response.
A lot of people ask how I'd stack up against today's players if I had use of modern equipment. Listen, it's not about the gear. Winning is about what's in your heart and in your head. Equipment dictates how to play the game in an era, but the physical and mental skills are the same. And I had them. I never feared anything or anyone on the course, and I wasn't afraid to fail. So I think I'd do pretty well against Snead, Hogan, Tiger and Phil -- whoever. Tiger's a tough guy, but I was a tough guy on the course, too. I probably would have beat him.
Now, before we dig into this assertion from Norman that he would probably have beat Tiger Woods let me make a point that I tend to make whenever we come across a situation like this; comparing generations in sports is ridiculous. Honestly, none of us really know how Wilt would have matched up against Shaq, or how Ruth would have hit Mariano, but debating about it is something that will never be silenced.
Norman was an incredibly accomplished golfer, winning two Open Championships and nearly winning a handful of other majors. The reason he has just two majors and not six is simple; the guy struggled to close.
That is the one thing that Woods has over anyone else in the history of the game, so saying that a guy who was known to be a choker on the big stage would take out a guy that, in his prime, never missed an opportunity to close out a major if he had it seems a bit silly.
Still, I guess when you're someone as talented as Norman, holding yourself in rarified air is a part of the job of being a living legend. I don't fault Norman for thinking he could compete with the best in the world a generation later, but I'm pretty sure most of us know how that would have turned out.
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