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Greg Norman

Agony At Augusta

Three frustrating finishes in 1986 paled in comparison to Norman's nightmarish defeat in the 1987 Masters. "As if losing one major to an unlikely shot were not punishment enough, Norman would experience golf's

Greg Norman

version of the cruel and unusual in the very next Grand Slam tournament," wrote Flatter. In the second playoff hole, Mize's pitch shot from 45 yards rolled down a slick green and into the hole. Norman missed a 30-foot birdie putt. Norman cried when he returned to his Florida beach home that night

Norman's other loss at Augusta in 1996 drew an avalanche of public sympathy. He led by six strokes entering the last 18 holes, only to suffer an 11-stroke turnaround. "Golf is the cruelest game, because eventually it will drag you out in front of the whole school, take your lunch money and slap you around. Golf can make a man look more helpless than any other endeavor," Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly wrote of Norman. "I don't know many people who watched the final round of The Masters and enjoyed what they saw," Billy Faires wrote. "Well, except for the sports reporters, who covered it like the media hounds who covered the Jessica Dubroff flight—in the hopes that she would crash and they would have a great front-page story.

Even the man in the green jacket, symbolic of a Masters triumph, was sympathetic. "I don't know what to say," Faldo told Norman in an emotional gathering. "I just want to give you a hug. I feel horrible about what happened. I'm so sorry." Still, others questioned Norman's killer instinct. Said former caddie Bruce Edwards about Norman on ESPN Classic's Sports Century series: "We were walking up the 17th fairway, and Greg turns to me and says, 'I guess it's better to be lucky than good.' And I was stunned. Faldo had outplayed him all day. And so I turned to Greg and said, 'I just want to caddie for someone who has heart.'"

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Famous Sports StarsGolfGreg Norman Biography - Two British Titles, Many Failures, Agony At Augusta, Still Hugely Successful, Chronology, Selected Writings By Norman: