‘The Times They Are a Changin’

Greg Norman In-cart screens

“ Come gather ’round people
  Wherever you roam
  And admit that the waters
  Around you have grown”

Lyrics from The Times They Are A Changin. – Bob Dylan

I have always loved ‘The Great White Shark!’

The intensity with which Greg Norman played the game left others quivering in his wake when he was on form.

The two Majors he won were majestic, but that number was well short of what could have been.

The bad luck of having Bob Tway hole an unlikely bunker shot in the 1986 PGA Championship and perhaps even more significant for Norman, the chip in from Larry Mize to deny the Shark a green jacket in the 1987 Masters, left many saying that the man had a mild case of the wobbles under the gun.

This was possibly reinforced when Norman fell apart in the final round of the 1996 Masters when he literally let Faldo run away with the Green Jacket.

All that being said, he dominated the number one spot in golf in an era when so many great golfers donned the fairways.  Players like Bernhard Langer, the great Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Curtis Strange and Nick Price just seemed average when Norman got going.

As if bored by the challenge brought by the other greats of his time, Greg Norman turned his focus to business and literally retired to more lucrative pastures.

Why do I write of Greg Norman now?

It has just been announced the Shark is back in the game!  This time from a very different angle and I’m very pleased.

For a number of years, I have been posing the question to golf club managers and anyone who will listen as to why the ‘Saturday Afternoon Rot’ is so rife in the game of golf in South Africa.

Two decades ago, you could not get a tee-time booking for a Saturday afternoon without killing an entire fourball or sleeping outside the club’s pro shop on the Friday evening a week prior.

Now, if you want to play on a Saturday afternoon, you can book at just about any club and even negotiate your own rate so that the club can fill the time sheet with a few random names.

The question is why?

Sport on TV! 

That’s the golf director’s swear phrase!  That’s what is killing golf! 

Well, here is the wake-up call. 

Sport has always been played on a Saturday afternoon and although we never used to have 30 appointed sports channels, the major events were still televised. Yet golfers still filled the fairways.

The trend now however is to watch multiple sports on a Saturday afternoon, so asking what the score is at the halfway house now seems inappropriate because the response would be: “For what?”

You mean for the Currie Cup game between the Sharks and Bulls, the Saracens and Bath?

Perhaps you mean for one of the 8 Premier League games being played?  Oh, English or ABSA?

Golf? Which tournament? The Turkish Airlines Open or the unpronounceable one on the Asian Tour.

And I could go on. You get my meaning!

So what am I on about?

The in-cart screen that tells you how far you have to the flag! That beautiful screen that tells you that you need to have a cold beer upon completion! That beautiful screen that can also offer you all of the sporting highlights and footage you need to be able to survive your thirst for what used to keep you at home on a Saturday afternoon, instead of playing golf!

Yup!  Norman you genius!

Enter in-cart TV broadcasts!  SuperSport on the go!

Yeah, a few of the “old farts” will resist it as it may add a few extra minutes to the front-nine, but at least there will be a few golfers playing the front-nine!

And guess what else?

Music in the cart!  It’s come time to get some real “rhythm” out there.

A 300-metre drive topped off to the rocking bass-beat of 50 Cent!  Hooooohaaaaaa!

The future of golf as we know it, although we can expect quite a bit of resistance.

I say “LET’S DO THIS!”

Article by: Michael Scholz, The 40-Year-Old Rookie.