Golf: Norman hints at retirement

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The Independent Online
GREG NORMAN has given his strongest hint yet that he may be ready to quit the game. Norman, who is out of action for five months after undergoing shoulder surgery, claimed yesterday that he will pack up his clubs forever if he is unable to rekindle his enthusiasm for the sport. "I get more pain than pleasure now by going to the golf course," the Australian said.

"That has to change or I'll hang them up - in a heartbeat - if I can't turn that around."

Norman, who turned 43 in February, has always said that he would review his career in the year 2000. But with his business career blooming and his success on the course waning, Norman has not ruled out retiring before the millennium

Before going under the surgeon's knife, Norman's form this year was uncharacteristically poor. The world's top-ranked golfer for most of the past decade has slipped to No 4 in the rankings.

Norman, who holds the dubious honour of being the only player in history to lose all four majors in play-offs, will miss this year's three remaining majors.

"I think people believe I'm more tormented than I really am [about losing majors]. The Masters I blew to Faldo in 1996, I was back in the office the next day," Norman said.

"If my kids can see what [my wife] Laura and I have left them when we're gone, and say `thanks', yet still retain their initiative to do more and do better, then that's more important that the US Masters. That's the tournament of life. That's the one I want to win."

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