Norman Wins World Series on First Playoff Hole
Greg Norman, who almost withdrew Thursday, chipped in for birdie from 60 feet on the first playoff hole to win the $2 million World Series of Golf at the Firestone Country. The victory over Nick Price and Billy Mayfair was worth $360,000, making Norman the all-time money leader in PGA Tour history with just under $9.5 million. He had trailed Tom Kite.
Norman’s tee shot at the first playoff hole, the par-4 18th, found the left rough. His second shot landed on the right fringe, but he used a 7-iron to chip in for birdie.
“Great chip, wasn’t it?” he asked. “The only thing I focused on, the only thing I visualized was the chip-in I made at Doral for eagle to win (a playoff) in 1990.”
Price and Mayfair missed birdie putts, giving Norman his third victory of the season and the 15th of his career. His other two triumphs came during a four-week stretch in June.
Norman said his biggest motivation came from his play Saturday, where he posted four straight bogeys without hitting a bad shot.
“I said, ‘This is just ridiculous,’ and from then on, I was very positive and determined,” he said.
Norman accused playing partner Mark McCumber of a rules infraction Thursday. He charged that McCumber pulled a blade of grass away from his ball prior to attempting a seven-foot par putt on the seventh hole. He reported the incident to a PGA Tour official, but McCumber claimed he was swatting at an insect.
“I felt very strongly about the issue and I required a lot of convincing not to withdraw,” Norman said. “Everybody around me told me not to compromise myself and my chances to win and it turned out to be the right thing to do.”
Norman began the day six shots behind third-round leader Vijay Singh, but shot a 3-under 67 to finish at 2-under 278. Price, the two-time PGA Player of the Year, remained winless in 1995, despite a final-round 68.
Price said he was disappointed, adding, “I don’t feel 100 percent under the gun right now because I haven’t been in contention this year. But everything in my game was a little better this week.”
Mayfair shot a 70 and missed a six-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation that would have given him the victory. Before that, he had bogeys on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes.
“Nick and Greg are the two best players in the world and I was thrilled to be in there with them, but it was my golf tournament to win or lose and I lost it,” he said. “I played the front nine the best I could play, but on 15, 16 and 17, it all fell apart.”
Singh bogeyed four of the first seven holes and struggled to a 4-over 74. He finished one shot behind Norman at 1-under 279. He was tied with Phil Mickelson, who shot 66.
Fred Couples and second-round leader Jim Gallagher Junior were next at even-par 280. Couples fired a 68 and Gallagher stumbled to a 73.
The Firestone Country Club south course is a par-70, 7,149-yard layout.