Shark laments Open debacle - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Shark laments Open debacle

By Wayne Heming 26/11/2002 07:03:09 PM Comments (0)

Greg Norman says someone's head should have rolled after Australian golf suffered worldwide "humiliation" following last week's Open fiasco.

Five-time Open champion Norman has caused headlines in the past by speaking out at tournaments in Melbourne's sandbelt, warning not to go too far in seeking fast green conditions.

But the former world No.1 took no pleasure when the Australian Golf Union had to cancel the first round of last week's Australian Open at Victoria GC when the lightning-fast greens became unplayable.

Norman said the Open embarrassment was big news in the United States, where he was hosting the Franklin Templeton Shootout, and officials should have heeded warnings from senior players.

"It was all over the golf channel in Florida, all the players were talking about it," said Norman after arriving for this week's Australian PGA Championship at Coolum in Queensland.

"As an Australian in Florida it was really sad because it was a bit of humiliation for the game of golf in Australia.

"To get the repercussions over there, 10,000 miles away where they were basically laughing at us.

"It really didn't hold a whole lot of credibility for the way they structure the game of golf over here.

"I think they've got a long way to go to rebuild the damage."

Norman was concerned that expressions of concern by players about the Victoria GC greens last week appeared to have fallen on deaf ears with no water applied the night before the first round.

"The players do have a sense of what's going on out on the golf course," said Norman.

"We do play a lot of golf courses all around the world.

"When I heard they were rolling around 17 (speed on the stimpmeter) at one stage, realistically, that is unputtable," he said.

"I don't care if you are putting on a billiard top table where it is dead flat."

Norman said golf was a game of "integrity and high standards" and people should be held to account.

"If the integrity or high standards are tarnished and diminished in any way, shape or form, whether it is the players, whether it is administration, superintendents or individuals within the administration making decisions, somebody's head should roll."

Norman said AGU chief executive Colin Phillips had done the right thing by taking responsibility for the fiasco.

Phillips said after calling off the first round last Thursday that the buck stopped with him but the AGU relied heavily on the host club.

Requests for interviews with the club's course superintendent and a greens consultant were denied.

So far, nobody has quit or been sacked over the embarrassing incident.

In 1995, Norman was involved in a slanging match with Kingston Heath superintendent Graeme Grant over glassy greens during the Australian Open of that year.

Norman went on to win the event after Grant called him a perpetual whinger.

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