Sporting Heroes: Natural Moe Norman was real-life Happy Gilmore


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The Independent Online

In life, we are often faced with the question of what might have been. Those familiar with the late Canadian golfer Moe Norman are in no doubt. He was the greatest ball striker in history. Powerful and accurate, Moe once hit more than 1,500 drives in about seven hours, and landed every ball within 15 yards of each other.

Moe never had a golf lesson and developed his swing through trial and error over a five-year stretch at the age of 15. That swing went against all preconceptions of how one should look and function, but it is now taught and revered worldwide.

Moe’s personality and characteristics attracted as much attention as his golf. He was different in the way he looked, the way he dressed and the way he acted. It was suspected by some that his eccentricities were due to autism, though as Moe avoided doctors from the age of five, this was never diagnosed.

In 1959, Moe decided to join the PGA Tour. Continuing to defy convention, he would sometimes hit tee shots off coke bottles or hit putts without first stopping to read the green. After his 12th tournament that year, the PGA told Moe to smarten up his act.

Unable to come to terms with being told what to do, Moe returned to Canada and joined the Canadian Tour.

Moe would dominate his home tour for years to come, winning 50 events in total. He hit 17 holes-in-one, nine albatrosses, shot four rounds of 61 and three rounds of the coveted score of 59.

After Moe passed away in 2004, Tiger Woods said: “The real  players in history have owned their swing, Moe Norman and Ben Hogan. I want to own mine.”