Greg Norman’s ESPN documentary Shark sheds light on his infamous meltdowns and offers insight into his current controversies.

For Australians, the story of Greg Norman’s capitulation at the 1996 Masters is not one to be told again.

It is a sporting event told generationally, passed down from father to son almost like a myth. It is both an endearing reflection on the overall successes of one of our greatest athletes and a warning about the inevitability of failure.

Charging

And yet now, at a time when the larger context of Norman’s life and career has never been more relevant, ESPN’s esteemed documentary series 30 for 30 has unearthed that Sunday in April at Augusta National for a international audience.

Simply titled Jaws, the documentary begins with the beginning of Norman’s golf career and ends with his failure to win the 1996 Masters, despite starting the final round with a six-shot lead.

It’s a look back at Norman’s career in the field, delving into the personality traits that made him a resentful smash hit among his fellow pros and ultimately kept him from climbing to the top of the game.

But as we all know, Norman’s story didn’t end in 1996. What is presented as a tragic summary is actually just part of the larger tapestry, another piece of a fascinating puzzle that could help explain the golf disruptor’s motivations. modern. -boss.

Norman fighting from the outside

Norman is the director of LIV Golf, an organization trying to change the face of the professional game by staging lucrative events in direct opposition to the PGA Tour schedule.

LIV Golf is backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), which declares itself independent from the government despite being chaired by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who has been accused of giving the green light to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by of Saudi agents in Istanbul.

Greg Norman looks down the street as he reaches into his bag for a stick.
Norman’s LIV Golf has drawn criticism for its affiliation with the Saudi Public Investment Fund.(Getty Images: Manuela Davies)

LIV’s affiliation with the PIF and Saudi Arabia has generated a considerable amount of criticism, with accusations of sports laundering not helped by comments from players such as Phil Mickelson, who called the Saudi government “bad sons of bitches” while noting its value. as a bargaining chip in a financial showdown with the PGA Tour.

Norman, for his part, says his only ambition is to “grow the game.” He is willing to look beyond the Saudi government’s human rights abuses — “every country has its cross to bear,” he says — if it results in an altered landscape of golf and more opportunities for more players to earn more money.

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