Norman in rules tantrum

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Greg Norman, twice winner of the Open, threatened to quit the World Series of Golf event in Akron, Ohio, after a heated row over rules but then relented.

Norman stormed out of the Firestone Country Club after his round and said he was planning to quit the tournament until the PGA Tour commissioner, Tim Finchem, talked him out of it.

The Australian was upset by an incident on the seventh green, where he accused Mark McCumber, with whom he was playing, of tapping down a spike mark. Such an action would be strictly against the rules, but McCumber denied doing it. Rather, he claimed that he was trying to pick up an insect on his line.

Norman was not convinced. He discussed the incident with a US Tour rules official, Mike Shea, after the round but, as it was one player's word against another's, Shea gave McCumber the benefit of the doubt.

Norman, reportedly, was furious and took the unusual action of refusing to sign McCumber's scorecard, leaving Shea to sign it.

Norman cleared out his locker and left the course. However, he was later persuaded by a telephone conversation with Finchem to continue playing.

McCumber shot a two-under-par 68 to trail the first-round leader, Jim Gallagher, by two strokes, while Norman had a three-over par 73. Due to the small 47-man field, the pairings were redone for the second round, which means Norman will not have to play with McCumber.

Jose Maria Olazabal, the defending champion, defied inflammation in his right foot to also fire a 68. The Spaniard, who could pip the Welshman Ian Woosnam to take one of Bernard Gallacher's two wild cards for next month's Ryder Cup, described his first-round score as "a miracle" after a day of wild and wicked tee shots.

Britain's Nick Faldo, who looks certain to be granted the first of Gallacher's wild cards, fired an opening 71.

Comments