Faimon Roberts: Weather, Norman make Open fans forget Tiger

Faimon Roberts

Leading up to this week's British Open -- known as "The Open Championship" to Brits and ESPN -- the big story was not who was playing in the event, but who wasn't.

Namely, Eldrick Tiger Woods. Perhaps you have heard of him? He's slightly bigger than Jesus.

But perhaps Jesus is having the last laugh about this year's Open, because what we have witnessed so far is nothing less than a resurrection.

A player whose golf game has long been in the grave has seen it brought back to life on the links at Royal Birkdale. It is perhaps appropriate that the Open, the most capricious of the major tournaments, should see Greg Norman do well. It is in this tournament that random golfers most often make their mark.

Remember the 2004 winner?

Todd Hamilton.?Who?

What about 2003?

Ben Curtis. Wh-what?

Before the tournament, organizers were justifiably afraid that even with his absence, Woods would be the biggest story. They needn't have worried.

The story of the Open has been the weather (Jesus again) and Greg Norman.

The weather has been truly British in character. It has been grayer than English food and colder than Margaret Thatcher's toilet seat. Nevertheless, the stoic Brits have stiffened the upper lip, donned mackintoshes and wellingtons and come out to the course to watch the golfers struggle.

The sentimental favorite has got to be Norman, who first won this tournament in 1986. To put that in perspective, it would be another four months before the nation learned of the Iran-Contra affair.

Norman also won in the Open in 1993, but his anguish at majors is more well known, especially his loss to Nick Faldo at the Masters in 1996. Soon after that, Norman disappeared into irrelevance during the ascendency of  a certain Cablinasian.

Since then, Norman has been largely invisible, turning up at the occasional tournament and finding time to woo and marry tennis great Chris Evert this year. 

What's next, Raymond Floyd and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario tying the knot so Ray can win the PGA? 

But there he is, the man once known as the Shark, striding up the fairways at Birkdale, no longer one of the longest, most famous, richest players on tour. Now he is just another guy who is hoping that fortune will shine on him for just one more day.

The golf gods have summoned Norman forth from the the grave of career death, and for just a minute or two, no one is noticing the absence of a certain large feline.

Beauregard Daily News