The Search For Greg Norman's Biggest Fan

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Finalist #1

Matt B.
Bradenton, Florida, USA

Mr. Norman, First let me start by saying Happy 65th Birthday to a man that I have admired and tried my best to emulate for decades! Anyone can say they are your biggest fan and that you have impacted their life in many facets. I’d like to thank you however for giving me this exciting platform of an opportunity to finally come forth and say it personally and know that you welcome it and it will hopefully be read by you. Let it be known Mr. Norman, that me, yes me, yes….. Matt Borchevsky who was born and raised in Springfield, VA is that guy! I was only five years old when you turned professional. I have been following you for years albeit twitter has made it so much easier to keep up with your adventures all over the world and who cannot appreciate the beautiful sunsets and beaches! I follow your twitter page daily and since I moved to Florida a year ago have often thought of driving to Hobe Sound just to see where you live.

This contest is an affirmation of the core values that I have always believed that you possessed as a husband, a father and a son, as well as a savvy successful businessman and entrepreneur. For a man who as far as I can see has absolutely everything, that you would reach out to your fans this way is awesome and awe-inspiring!

I have followed you in golf and worn only your clothes since my early 20’s!! That was about the time I started golfing myself. I was at your first PGA tour victory at the Kemper Open in Potomac Maryland in 1984. Truly….. I have a closet full of the SHARK! Only my under ware (yes….. I know you came out with under ware but my wife says “Really Matt?” LOL) and work clothes do not adorn that awesome logo that exudes power. I have had a large vintage watercolor of you hanging in my home for the past 20 years! For Christmas this year my sister got me a gift card to the Greg Norman outlet in Ellenton, FL and had a shark carved out of wood for me… these are a few of my favorite things.

The symbol is an indicator that he who wears it does not back down and he fights for what he wants. It makes a statement to be strong and welcome opportunities and challenges in life. Everybody has a story and diversities they have had to overcome. After a painful divorce over a decade ago and struggling to keep a bond and relationship going with my only son and not to mention the ups and downs of being in the restaurant industry life has had it’s personal challenges.

Nearly four years ago I finally met my soul mate a woman who was widowed. Shortly thereafter I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. After two failed ablations, a cardioversion and unsuccessful stints with anti -arrhythmic drugs and my life floundering before my eyes at the age of 47 Shelley, who was my wife by this time, and myself pushed for and pursued a course of action. We pushed for it and did not back down. Two years ago this March I underwent open heart surgery procedure known as the mini maze. They make a three inch incision under your breast and place you on a lung bypass machine and stop your heart. They retrieve your heart thru your ribcage remove it and proceed to cauterize the inside and outside of it to stop the faulty electrical currents. Surgery was a success however a week later I was medevaced back to the hospital. I was in congestive heart failure, shock and had pericardial infusion. Basically I was drowning in my own fluids. Time was about to run out thanks to a great team of doctors I recovered and surgery was a success.

I have attacked my opponents, overcome my obstacles and diversions and recently took up golf again after a setback. Mr. Norman it would be an honor and an absolute privilege and a dream come true to play 9 holes, 18 holes or for you to give me a lesson. Just to finally meet you after dreaming of it for the last 28 years.

Sincerely,
Matt B.

Finalist #2

Tim C.
Plover, Wisconsin, USA

To Attack Life, means something completely different to me, when it comes to my admiration for Greg Norman. For as far back as I can remember, Greg has been my favorite golfer. I didn't tune in to the tournaments that were on TV, unless The Shark was playing.

I had several pairs of Greg Norman socks that I wore for every high school basketball game that I played, for 4 straight years. They were my good luck charm and I never missed a game with those socks.

Although I had an opportunity to watch Greg at a Masters practice round in 1994, the most important round of golf I watched him play, was the final round of the 1996 Masters. I know that, that round was tough for Greg but the way he handled himself was the #1 reason that I've remained as his biggest fan. The most important part of watching that round though, has absolutely nothing to do with golf. You see, I watched that round of golf with my Grandfather, George Done. In fact, it was the last round of golf he and I would ever watch together, before he passed away from Colon cancer. I have so many fond memories of that day, and I cherish the time he and I got to spend together watching Greg perform.

Greg isn't bigger than the game of golf, and in all of the years I've followed him, I've grown to see that more and more.

After college, I pursued a career in Golf Management because it was something my late Grandfather and I always talked about. When I passed my Players Ability Test, I decided to move away from the game and focus on my professional career.

Following Greg in all of his post-golf business ventures, has been another way that he continues to inspire me. He has a killer instinct about him that I've taken from the golf course, into the board room. However, it's been the journey along the way that I want to share, specifically how Greg has inspired me to reach higher in my professional career.

You see, my parents gave me a bottle of Greg Norman wine in 2008, for Christmas. I vowed to not open that bottle until I became Vice President of my company. I kept that bottle on my shelf for 12 years, where it served as my drive and my inspiration to reach my career goals. In fact, I bought myself an intermediate bottle in 2014 that would serve as a reminder to not open until I met my first goal of becoming a Director in my company. I'm so pleased to say that I opened that Director bottle in 2017 and I opened that Vice President bottle over Christmas dinner, with my parents by my side, this past December (2019).

https://twitter.com/TimC_Skyward/status/1211327593695367168

It was never once about the wine, it was 100% about the journey. Greg represents so much more to me than who he was as a golfer. He truly Attacks Life. It was the way my late Grandfather did it, it's the way I continue to live my life and it's the way I teach my two sons (8 and 10) to live their life.

I'm Greg Norman's #1 fan, and it would be the greatest gift I could ever give my older brother Chris, if we could meet our idol, together.

Regardless, Greg should know that he represents so much more than just one of the greatest golfers of all time. He inspires people to want to reach more, and that's what he has meant to me for as long as I can remember.

Thank you,
Tim C.

Finalist #3

Peter E.
Sydney, New South Wales, AUS

I am a 43 year old Australian who was born and raised in Sydney. Like all Aussie boys, I love watching and playing sports. At the time rugby league, cricket and tennis were my favourite sports as a young boy. But that all changed one Autumn morning in April of 1987 when I was just 10 years of age.

My now late Father was glued to the TV watching the final round of the 1987 US Masters. I never knew anything about golf or Greg Norman at that time, but I sat down to watch it with my Dad and he started explaining to me how the scoring in golf works and what was happening with Greg's round.

Being in Australia, TV coverage of the Masters would be between 5AM to 9AM in the morning. I was fascinated by what was unfolding on the TV, the striking beauty of the golf course and the pure sporting theatre it provided. As the round progressed through the back nine at Augusta, cruelly I would have to go to school with Greg about to tee off at the par 5 15th. Mobile phones and the internet had not been born yet so I had the agonising wait at school to find out if Greg was the Masters Champion.

Rushing home from school I found my Dad in the front yard and desperately asked "What happened to Greg. Did he win?" Then for the next 10 minutes my Dad filled me in on all the drama I missed while I hung on every word with school bag in hand yet to go inside the house. He described in great detail the once in a lifetime impossible chip shot that Larry Mize made in the playoff that would rob Greg of victory and how Larry would not be able to make the same shot from another 1000 attempts. Feeling sad, I watched the highlights of the final round on the news sports bulletin that evening. Following on from the events of the morning, I would become Greg Norman's biggest fan to this very day. I was hooked on golf and the Great White Shark!

Over the next 30 years, like so many golf fans here in Australia, I would rise in the very early hours of the morning watching Greg play the 4 majors of the year. I would roar at the TV when Greg made countless birdies and eagles and wake up our neighbours and the rest of my family in the process. Greg was and still is a superstar at home and he was always splashed across the newspapers and on TV as he won tournaments all over the world. To me he was and still is the greatest Australian sportsmen of all time. Single handley, Greg was responsible for the explosion of the game here in Australia and the very talented Australian golfers that have followed him into the highest levels of the game. Before the arrival of Tiger Woods, it was Greg Norman who every kid wanted to be like and was inspired by to pick up a club and play the game of golf. Myself included, I love to play the game still to this day and will do so for as long as I live. It was Greg who was responsible for that.

I count myself extremely fortunate to have witnessed Greg play in the flesh over the years. Whenever he came back to Sydney Australia as the worlds best player, I would go watch him play. Walking with the massive galleries who would hang on his every shot, you could feel the energy and Charisma on the golf course that only Greg could deliver. His game left you in awe with his monster drives and extraordinary shot making abilities. When Greg played the house full signs would go up and you knew you if you were lucky enough to be part of the gallery you would most likely witness something very special. I can still remember very clearly watching Greg do exactly this in his final round of the tournament named in his honour, the Greg Norman Holden International in Sydney. Greg was in amazing form that day and shot a 5 under par 67 to win the event with the lowest 72 hole score in the history of the Australian Golf Club.

I was also very fortunate to follow Greg around on a practice round at the Australian Open at the Lakes Golf club in Sydney. On this particular day I was lucky enough to put a Lakes scorecard in front of Greg while he was walking between holes which he very graciously signed for me. I still have the card to this day and is one of my most prized possessions.

But to me, the golf is only part of what makes me Greg's greatest fan. His attitude to life, the way he carries himself, dresses, speaks hid mind and his contributions to charities and good causes make him most admired. Perhaps his greatest quality was how he handled himself in the face of some heartbreaking defeats on the golf course. I will never forget the final round of the 1996 US Masters. Unlike many of the young and over privileged sports stars of today who would shun the media and blame anything else except themselves for their performance, Greg fronted the press, spoke about the round and in doing so made himself and everyone who watched it around the world so proud. The class of how he carried himself in defeat that day and the importance he placed on that attitude has been a life long lesson for me that I apply in daily life to this day both in business and sport. To be gracious no matter the result and to carry yourself with pride and class, not looking for excuses or someone else to blame.

Post his golf career, I have become even more a fan of Greg's. His achievements in business and life are astonishing. He's many business interests and golf course designs will leave an everlasting legacy. I love his approach to life and his "Attack Life" mantra are words I live by. The fact that Greg is so physically fit and strong to this day is a reflection of this attitude. I love to work out, keep active and stay fit and Greg is definitely an inspiration to me in this field to achieve my health and fitness goals.

Greg is still so admired and respected around the world. He rubs shoulders with business leaders and US presidents and his advice is so sought after and respected. He still has a great love for Australia and this was evident just recently with his involvement in the bushfire crisis we had here in New South Wales.

I am an owner of many of Greg's fashion apparel lines. I have 4 books written about Greg's life including Greg's own "the Way of the Shark" which is a fascinating read about his life and great life advice and lessons for all are contained in this book. I also still have one of my most prized Greg Norman possessions, a VHS video tape of the 1993 British open. I still remember getting up in the early hours of the morning glued to the TV for all 4 days of play. The final round Greg played in the Open that year with Nick Faldo hot in pursuit is still one of the greatest individual rounds I have ever seen in the game of golf.

What Greg has accomplished in his life to date, and no doubt will continue to accomplish, is a life lived with exceptional purpose and drive. This is why I am Greg's biggest fan. He shows people what is possible through his accomplishments and what can be done with commitment, drive, self belief and determination. From on the golf course to off the golf course, in my opinion Greg has no equal. He has done himself, his family, all who know him and his home country of Australia immensely proud. How can anyone not be a fan!!

Finalist #4

Lew S.
Sydney, New South Wales, AUS
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My Greg Norman Story 🏌️‍♂️⛳️

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Finalist #5

Joey S.
Temple Terrace, Florida, USA

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