August 30, 2014

Back in Town

Giving It His Best Shot 

Golf great Greg Norman leads the way as the 21st Shark Shootout returns to Tiburón Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples Dec. 9–13. The nationally televised tournament will feature returning champions Kenny Perry and Scott Hoch, along with Fred Couples and other top touring pros.

Norman, the Shootout’s creator and host, was introduced to the game by his mother at age 15 and has since won 91 professional events around the world—including 20 PGA Tour titles—and a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

He’s just as busy off the course as chairman and CEO of Great White Shark Enterprises, with ventures into golf course design, wine, development, production and more. He took time from his hectic schedule to answer a few questions about the Shark Shootout, which he has been hosting in Naples for nine years. He created the tournament more than two decades ago to benefit the CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation after visiting a pediatric oncology ward.

Q: What attracted you to CureSearch?

A: I spent time with many children who were bravely battling cancer, and I was struck by their courage. I thought cancer research would be a perfect opportunity for me to lend a hand.

Q: With your business schedule, how much time do you have to work on your golf swing?

A: My practice sessions remain intense, but are concentrated around my preparations for specific events. My goal is still to be the best I can be, no matter what I do—father, friend, CEO or golfer.

Q: What is your single best shot?

A: My second shot on the 16th hole at the Players Championship in 1993. I was standing on the cart path and hooked a 1-iron. I had to aim at the water and hook the ball roughly 40 yards to a green that is protected by water to the right and long. I pulled off the shot, but finished in a tie for third, five strokes behind Nick Price.

Q: What non-golf events have you added to the tournament?

A. In partnership with Gulf Coast Runners, we launched the inaugural Shark Shootout 5k to raise additional funds for charity while promoting health and wellness.

Q: Can you tell us about this year’s field of players?

A: The Shootout features some of the hottest players in the game, including Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson and Kenny Perry, all of whom have won multiple PGA Tour events this year. We also have some fresh faces including Nick Watney, who won earlier this year at Torrey Pines, and Ross Fisher, who has become a fixture on the first page of leader boards in major championships.

Q: How do you choose your playing partner?

A: In the early years, I was privileged to team up with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Raymond Floyd. More recently I have found myself alongside some of the game’s rising stars, like Camilo Villegas and Bubba Watson. In the spirit of being a good host, I have only won the event once [in 1998 with Steve Elkington], but I look forward to doubling my win total in the near future!

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