First Tee: Art and chic according to the Shark

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The Independent Online
"MOVE OVER Martini. So long single-malts," are not the first words you'd expect to see on a golfer's web site, but then Greg Norman is no ordinary golfer and "Attack Life" is no ordinary web site. It is a custom-made internet magazine for would-be Great White Sharks, in which the erstwhile Open Champion passes on his style secrets, romantic tips and opinions on everything from Ben Crenshaw and fox hunting to roller- coasters.

Under the heading "New Tricks, You Old Dog", the Shark confides: "You know that feeling you get when a younger woman checks you out." Yes, Greg, I know the feeling well. "Here's some fashion advice from one that might make it happen a little more often."

Without letting us in on how his wife Laura feels, Norman tells those with a Lolita complex to pay attention to what the kids are wearing, emulate Tom Cruise's long hair, and be aware that Helmut Lang, Prada and the "frat boy look" are in.

"A solid-coloured tie in one of this fall's hot colours, like orange or olive drab, could be all you need to look new and current," he confides. Those wearing seersucker suits, cargo pants or divers' watches are told to go home and change before, no doubt, they think about playing a Greg Norman course or eating at a Greg Norman steak restaurant.

Also in are: conversations about art, rum (available from Greg Norman Estates), French Fries at a five-star restaurant, spoon-style watches and jazz clubs. Loafers with pilgrim buckles, steamed vegetables, cigars and cologne are out. So now you know.

Major resentment

THIS WEEK, Laura Davies and Karrie Webb, who have done more to electrify galleries and further the cause of women's golf than anyone since Nancy Lopez, will go head-to-head in the 23rd Women's British Open at Woburn. Davies is, of course, British and Webb, Australian, and neither of them are in any doubt that the British Open is a major. Yet America's LPGA Tour still refuse to recognise it as such.

"They don't think that anything important happens outside America," says Vivienne Saunders, who started the tournament in 1976 with pounds 500 of her own money. She then won it the following year. "I mean, what the Americans don't realise is that the rest of the world don't have the vaguest idea who the top American women players are because they don't travel. They're not like the men, who do play international events."

To the LPGA, the women's majors are the US Open, the Nabisco Dinah Shore, the DuMaurier Classic and the LPGA Championship, all played in the US. But Saunders believes that the Women's British Open, won by Davies in 1986, has more than earned its status as a major. "Look at the status of the players who have won it," she said. "The Americans who have won it, like Patty Sheehan, regard it as a major. I don't have any doubt about that."

A simple game...

ARE YOU a pro golfer feeling down in the mouth? Are you ready to tear your hair out because the birdie putts won't drop? Well, rest easy. America's Golfweek magazine has now provided some indispensable guidance in the form of a quote from that well- known dispenser of indispensable, though not always intelligible, advice, "Mad" Mac O'Grady.

"When you get so down that you become a metastasized malignant narcissist, if you're so self-centred you think the sun's coming up because you're trying to make a three-foot putt... that's when we all get our heads chopped," O'Grady counselled. "And eventually when we are old and feeble and decrepit and our bodies barely can shuffle down the fairway, and we go to Augusta National and see the green beautiful carpet, we realise that not only is nature in a constant state of renewal, so should be our attitude. We realise how wonderful this journey has been, going down the fairways."

Jean's Paris match

AT A RECENT charity golf day at St George's Hill Golf Club, an auction conducted by the comedian Jasper Carrott raised pounds 32,000 for the National Schizophrenic Fellowship. Jamie Cunningham, Jean Van de Velde's manager, who also represents Jeremy Dale, trickshot artist on the day, had one regret. "It's a pity the charity day didn't happen after the Open rather than before it," he chuckled, "because we had one of Jean's golf bags for them but they turned it down. It would be worth quite a lot now."

Van de Velde himself has been in Disneyland, Paris, this week. Having promised his children he would take them, he flew from the European Open in Dublin to Paris, spent a day on the rides and then caught a plane to Malmo, Sweden. "That's probably not the best thing in the world in terms of tournament preparation," said Cunningham, "but it's pretty impressive in terms of being a father and an all-round good guy."

A million worries

DAYS AFTER winning the Open, Paul Lawrie had taken Step One on the traditional five-step programme adopted by Yuggies, Young Upwardly-mobile Golfers, by ordering a Porsche.

He already has a Tour wife and child (Steps Two and Three), so his attention will soon be turning to the snooker table and the Scottish castle, Wentworth mansion, or Sunningdale pied a terre/Orlando, Florida, condominium combo. Newly wealthy golfers are always very flash with their cash. It's not until they reach the $3m mark that the paranoia sets in. If a backache ended their career tomorrow, they fret, how would their children survive on a trifling amount like $3m?

It is that fear that was uppermost in Duval's mind when he asked what he was expected to do with the $5,000 "stipend" he would receive in Ryder Cup expenses. Luckily, the world No 2 received $400,000 to keep the wolf from the door when he was beaten by two and one by Tiger Woods in a two- man match in California on Monday. When Duval conceded a two-foot putt on the 17th, Woods pocketed a mere $1.1m.

Lauren St John is author of `Greg Norman, the Biography'