Bring it in tight, sports fans. Because I got my holiday dates mixed up, this week’s edition of TFF is an odd melange of this week’s news and my annual best-of series, which will go for the next six weeks. I wish you a great holiday #Breaker – geddit, GEDDIT? – and, as ever, if you need me you shall find me between the flags on Newport Beach.
I can’t quite believe that next year I will be 60 years old, but be assured of my ongoing affection for you, and passion for the privilege of doing this column. Here we go …
Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:
It is you, Greg. So take a bow. YOU are the worthy winner. Give yourself a lingering hug, ya big lug, as the cameras roll. Release some naked photos of yourself holding nothing but a golf club. Then tell us the story of how you once gave Joe Hockey the mobile number of the newly-elected Donald Trump so that PM Malcolm Turnbull could call to congratulate him, making it sound as if you first chiselled the number onto a knife you placed between your pearly whites, before storming the cliffs of Gallipoli, only to tear down the other side bareback on a bucking bronco just a horse’s head ahead of the Man from Snowy River who just couldn’t keep up with you, before finally jumping off to steam in from the Paddington end to deliver the first ball of the deciding Ashes Test – got him, YES, first ball, Greg! – before then, and only then, giving Joe the number to give to Malcolm. And then have your wife give you a life-sized statue of your bust and bare torso to put in your garden, have yourself photographed hugging it, and put that out on social media. After a golf game, talk about how “I was in awe of myself out there”. As to your business enterprises, let’s not beat about the bush, tell ’em, Greg, “I am the living brand”.
Your biggest fan, next to you Greg, is a mere child tapping a xylophone at the feet of Mozart playing his own sonata, obviously one-handed.
In those rare interviews when you’re not talking about big boats or your private jets, make it clear just how powerful your friendships are. Say things like, “Even when I see presidents of the United States getting hammered, I will pick up the phone, and just thank them for what they do to help keep the freedom of the world.”
And Greg? We’ve talked about this before. When in future a journo asks a simple question like what lessons golf has taught you, I want you to outdo yourself. I want you to take that simple question, and sort of ricochet it from your ego, to your narcissism, off your living brand, off the wing of your personal jet, onto the bow of your huge boat, and then shoot it so far back up your own arse to your sense of self-importance, that it will sort of tickle your tonsils as it passes your gleaming white pearls of teeth and you manage, with nothing but net, to turn it back to US Presidents! GO for it, son. You can do it! Show them all! Hunt, dawgie, hunt!
“In President Clinton’s first term,” you will tell the true story, “he was coming to Australia for the first time. I got a call from the White House saying President Clinton would love to play golf with me. Because he was a Democrat and I was a bit of a Republican, and a free market enterprise type of guy, I didn’t want to, so I didn’t initially give an answer. It was playing on me, so I called George Bush snr and said, ‘I’m in a bit of a pickle’. He told me, ‘Greg, you should always respect the office of the President of the United States of America. You should play.’ I called the White House the next day and said, “Here is the situation. I am available . . .”
Greg Norman’s biggest fan poses at home in 2015.Credit:Lindsey Potter
Those are the sort of things you must do, Greg. Yes, yes, yes, I know you have already done them all before, some of them several times. But do them AGAIN! Every time, you sheer take our breath away and just when we think that this time you must have reached the summit, you go higher still!
As to the person you announce as #GregNormanBiggestFan, I don’t think I can be clearer on this. That person, in comparison to you Greg, is a mere two-year-old tapping a xylophone at the feet of Mozart plays his own sonata, obviously one-handed.
(Seriously, folks, I am not quite sure how to define what precise delusion our Greg most suffers from – only that, as the years go by, it is getting worse!)
Gold medallion effort
In the middle of February four Year 10 lads at Joeys – Archie Campbell, Finn Graham, Atticus Heaven and Harry Moxham – water polo players all, completed their course for a Bronze Medallion at the school pool to become qualified lifesavers.
Now because they also play for Lindfield Junior Rugby Club, on the Sunday afternoon just eight days later they were all together on Newport Beach after doing a pre-season training session on the soft sands. Watch now as seven of the club’s nine-year-olds go in to the waters at the northern end … only to get caught in a rip!
Two of the fathers charge in, and are quickly caught themselves. Alarm. Shouts of distress. Calls to 000.
The cry goes up: do we have some lifesavers in the house?
Fitzy’s beloved Newport Beach was the scene of one of the year’s great moments.Credit:SMH
Atticus is closest and charges in at the behest of one of the mothers, rescuing the first kid he can get to, before going back out. But he’s struggling, knowing he cannot possibly get them all.
Never fear. Up on the dunes, the others hears the shouts and charge in themselves. While Harry and Finn help Atticus and go after the kids, Archie swims to the fathers. By the time the ambos arrive, every man-Jack of them has been safely pulled to the shore.
“It started to get really serious,” Atticus says afterwards, “and nothing felt better than when I saw all the boys coming in to help.“
Bravo, the lot of you. Gotta love this city.
Matildas and Chelsea superstar Sam Kerr was ranked the world’s seventh-best female footballer by The Guardian.Credit:Getty Images
Team of the week
Sam Kerr/Caitlin Foord/Ellie Carpenter. The Australian trio were seventh, 51st and 76th respectively in The Guardian’s list of top 100 female footballers.
Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. In the last 62 grand slam finals since the 2005 Australian Open, one of the Big Three has appeared in 59 of them. This year’s final of the US Open, where Dominic Thiem won his first major title defeating Alexander Zverev, was a rare exception.
Five-time major winner Maria Sharapova retired this year.Credit:Getty Images
Maria Sharapova. Turned pro in 2001 at age 14 and announced her retirement in January. She won Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006, the Australian Open in 2008 and the French Open in 2012 and 2014.
Wales and Fiji. Australia’s known opponents at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Eddie McGuire. 2021 will be his last as Collingwood president.
RIP Don Furner. 1932-2020. The famed foundation coach of the Canberra Raiders and all-round rugby league legend passed away in February.
What they said
Kerry O’Keeffe on Joe Burns being retained as Test opener: “It’s Kieren Perkins in lane eight at Atlanta. This is Steven Bradbury. Biomechanically he’s not there as a Test opener, but he does stuff unconventionally. He has four Test centuries, his technique doesn’t look good against the opening ball. What could go wrong? But he has an eye like a dead fish and he hits boundaries.”
The president of Tokyo’s Olympic Organising Committee, Yoshiro Mori, in March: “I pray to God every day that the coronavirus will just vanish.” It was almost as if God wasn’t there.
Peter V’landys on the NRL’s rule change that field goals from 40 metres out will be two points: “The field goal idea came from a fan. Fans write into me every day, I read their letters, and I take things forward. We’ve got to look after the fans.”
Afghan cricketer Noor Ahmad on playing with Rashid Khan and being the best Noor Ahmad he can be: “It will be great to be in the same team as him one day if I am given that honour of playing for my national team. But there can be only one Rashid Khan. I will be happy to be Noor Ahmad, his teammate.”
French soccer international and star of the Barcelona team, Antoine Griezmann, ending his affiliation with Chinese tech giant Huawei in support of the mostly Muslim minority Uighurs: “Following strong suspicions that the Huawei company has contributed to the development of a ‘Uighur alert’ thanks to facial recognition software, I am announcing the immediate termination of my partnership with the company.”
Jack Wighton knows exactly who he is.Credit:Getty
Raiders playmaker and Clive Churchill medallist Jack Wighton on Jack Wighton back in January: “I’m still the same Jack Wighton – I really am.” Jack Wighton? We need to talk. We really do. Or ask Ricky. He will tell Jack Wighton.
Tweet by Donald Trump after the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl: “You represented the Great State of Kansas and, in fact, the entire USA, so very well. Our Country is PROUD OF YOU!” The problem, sports fans? Kansas City is in Missouri. Always has been. Always will be.
Anthony Mundine: “I don’t even think this Coronavirus is real. I think it’s a ploy to give a mass vaccine look into it.” I asked for someone close to this fine man to talk to him please, on the damage he keeps doing by putting this kind of drivel out there, but it feels like no one got through? Anthony? STOP IT.
Nicky Winmar on Josh Addo-Carr paying tribute to him in February by raising his jumper and proudly pointing to his black skin in the NRL’s All Stars match: “I had a bit of a tear in my eye. I thought it was fantastic that you can still be remembered for something you’ve done. Josh wasn’t born when I did that stand against Collingwood, it was 1993. He was born in 1995 in Blacktown, NSW.”
Nicky Winmar in 1993 and Josh Addo-Carr in 2020.Credit:Wayne Ludbey, Getty
Then-15-year-old Mohamed Toure on being the youngest A-League scorer and makes an early run at quote of the year: “I never thought I’d do it in a million years, not at 15.”
Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan on the decision to change their 105-year-old name after the 2021 season: “The name is no longer acceptable in our world.”
John McEnroe ahead of the ceremony at the Australian Open early in the year to honour Margaret Court: “There’s only one thing longer than a list of Margaret Court’s tennis achievements – it’s her list of offensive and homophobic statements. Tennis Australia is facing a dilemma – what do they do with their crazy aunt.”
Sports, results and expert commentary delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up to the Herald‘s weekday newsletter here and The Age‘s weekly newsletter here.
Most Viewed in Sport
Source: Read Full Article