Sunday, July 20, 2008

The best laid plans

Sometimes a writer has a wonderful idea for a blog entry ... and then watches it go down the drain.

Such is the case today.

In an ideal world, this would have been a celebration of a British Open victory by Greg Norman. The golfer was hoping to becoming the oldest player to ever win a major championship, and by quite a few years at that. He came up a few shots short, as defending champion Padraig Harrington earned another title with a fabulous back nine.

But wouldn't it have been a great story? I was all set to compare Norman to, all of people, George Foreman.

Big George was proof that American lives sometimes have second acts. The first time around, he was Fearsome George, best known for wilting under Muhammad Ali's rope-a-dope in a championship fight in Zaire. Foreman, of course, played the dope. Foreman took a few years off in retirement, came back, and redeemed himself when he won the heavyweight championship at the age of 45. Fearsome George become Smiling George, and not just because those grills earned him nine figures in revenues.

Norman won a couple of major championships in his time, but he is best remembered for some that got away despite having late leads. In other words, when it came to closing, Norman wasn't exactly Mariano Rivera. He somewhat faded out of golf to take care of business interests for a while, recently met and married Chris Evert, and decided to play in the British Open while on his extended honeymoon as a tuneup for some senior events. It might have been a small surprise if he had made the cut, mostly because of his recent lack of competitive golf.

Norman surprised everyone by leading after 54 holes. He didn't win, but he finished in a tie for third and impressed everyone along the way.

What's more, he gave hope to everyone born in 1955 that their best athletic days aren't completely behind them.

And speaking as a member of that '55 club, it's nice to be able to thank him for that.

I just wish I had more to thank him about. But that's the blog business.

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