reg Norman had a reputation as a choker, says Franz Lidz in Men’s Journal, and he admits that it was largely deserved. In the 1980s and ’90s, Norman was among golf’s biggest superstars, known internationally for his long blond locks, black hat, and aggressive style. But although he made a fortune, the big prize always seemed to elude him. He finished second in eight major tournaments, including his famous choke at the 1996 Masters, in which he blew a six-stroke lead in the final round. Frustrated by these failures and a growing roster of physical injuries, he grew pugnacious and combative; his marriage of 27 years fell apart. In retrospect, Norman, 54, says he couldn’t handle the pressure. “Everyone expected me to perform,” he says. “Golf is a simple game, but I complicated it by turning people’s expectations on myself.” Recently, though, he has made a modest comeback. In 2008 he returned to the pro circuit after a three-year absence. His marriage to former tennis great Chris Evert that year, he says, has “revitalized” his life, letting him put golf in perspective. Most important, he’s learned not to be so hard on himself. “Wherever I’ve traveled, parents have commented on how my handling of defeat had changed their attitude toward their son or daughter. So while I didn’t win all those majors, I did win in a lot of other important ways.”
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