Looking more like 35 than his soon-to-be 60, Greg Norman returned to competitive golf Wednesday morning.
Well, sort of.
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It was only a pro-am at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, but when Norman teed it up in the final morning time, it marked his first golf action since a serious chainsaw accident Sept. 13. Norman, who will work the 18th tower with Joe Buck when FOX begins broadcasting PGA golf at next month’s Franklin Templeton Shootout, suffered nerve damage in his left wrist, and while he could be seen shaking his left hand after hitting practice balls, he reported that it felt fine.
“So long as I don’t have to take a big divot,” he said with a smile. “I’m just going to pick it clean.”
That seemed to be very likely, given that the paspalum grass used by Norman when he designed the El Camaleon course at the Mayakoba Resort is very strong and balls in the fairway seemingly appear as if they are teed up. Players having been raving all week about the condition of El Camaleon and its manicured fairways, “so I’m looking forward to seeing it,” Norman said.
Norman said he hadn’t so much as chipped a golf ball since the accident, which occurred while he was working in his backyard in Hobe Sound, Fla. But when he went through his practice routine on the range before the pro-am, it looked like he had never been away.
“Like riding a bike,” Norman laughed. “That’s the scary part.”
When the round was over and Norman closed things out with a pitch-in birdie from just shy of the 18th green, he pronounced the day a success.
“It was nice. I knew what the rehab was all about and how to go about it. I did everything I was supposed to. It feels fine,” he said.
It had been more than a five-and-a-half-hour round, so Norman, who will turn 60 Feb. 10, was ready for lunch and some rest. He’ll be back at it as a golfer Dec. 9-10 when he plays in a two-day pro-am before hosting — and working — the 54-hole Shootout Dec. 11-13 in Naples, Fla. Both FOX and FOX Sports 1 will televise the event.
FOX will begin televising USGA events in 2015, including the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay (Wash.) in June.