Now you might get some arguments from Democrats about Fox News’ “fair and balanced” motto, but that’s the approach Greg Norman says he will use in his new role as Fox Sports’ lead analyst. Fox will air the U.S. Open and other USGA events, beginning in 2015.
The 59-year-old Norman was the best “get” for Fox. He has the big-name, Hall of Fame pedigree, and never has been shy to voice his opinions. Plus, he’s “The Shark.”
However, while he said he admires Johnny Miller, I wouldn’t expect Norman to that outspoken.
“My objective is not to be criticizing golfers,” Norman said. “My objective is to be fair and balanced. If I see something that I feel is very pertinent to the situation, I will explain that view to the audience, and I want it to be very fan-friendly and informative. Being informative is not sugar-coating the situation and not addressing some serious issues that could arise in the game of golf, which we have seen in the past. It’s incumbent upon myself and Joe and every other member of our team who has a microphone in their hand to have the confidence and the willingness to express themselves.”
Fox Sports president Eric Shanks invoked a lofty comparison when talking about Norman.
“Greg [Norman], just like John [Madden], will really set the philosophy for what we do here,” Shanks said. “There’s probably no person I have met that hasn’t been a part of FOX Sports that seems like he should be part of FOX Sports more than Greg. We feel like there is already a connection between some of his thoughts and what the FOX Sports brand is.”
I had the distinction of asking Norman the mandatory Tiger Woods question. Norman’s answer revealed a glimpse of his broadcast approach. He contends Woods has enough left in the tank to win another major, but not the five required to break Jack Nicklaus’ record.
“The older he gets, the younger the other players are,” Norman said. “He’s getting up into his high 30s. The intimidation factor is not the same there. You have to understand, the older you get, the nerves are not the same. Brain is telling us, yes we can do it, but at the same time our body is reacting just a little bit differently than when we were acting in our heydays.
“So these young kids have no nerves. They are going to go take it at you. They don’t care who you are or what you’re doing. They want to rip the number one off your back whichever way they can. It’s going to be a lot more problematic for him as he goes forward. But that can also be a great stimulant for him . . . But time is not on his side, nor is his physical conditioning, his body, from what I’m understanding.”