Greg Norman's loss to Nick Faldo in the 1996 Masters remains one of the most famous – or infamous – moments in the history of golf. Norman has spoken very little about that devastating defeat over the years, but recently offered up something of an explanation for his poor play that fateful Sunday to the Australian TV network ABC.
''The result was in my hands basically,'' he told the network for a two-episode program called ''Driving Greg Norman'' that aired as part of the biographical series ''Australian Story.'' The second part, which aired Monday night in Australia, deals with the Masters loss and other aspects of Norman's life.
''Again, there's more to it than people realise. Um, cos I did have bad back issues that morning and I tried to walk it off but I couldn't,'' Norman is quoted in a transcript on the ABC site. ''I told my coach; today's not going to be easy.''
And, of course, it wasn't. Norman, who had led after each of the first three rounds, struggled to a final-round 78 while Faldo carded a 67 to turn his six-shot deficit into a five-shot victory. The win was Faldo's third at Augusta National and sixth overall major, while Norman suffered a third heartbreaking loss in his quest for a green jacket.
"I disappeared down to the beach after the U.S. Masters and lay on the beach and cried, because I felt like I'd completely screwed up winning a tournament that I wanted to win," Norman told ABC. "That would be about the only time that I would have brought the emotion of a golf tournament back home."
Norman doesn't elaborate on his back issues in the program. After some comments from Australian golfer and golf writer Mike Clayton and 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott, the program quotes Norman as saying that ''I really don’t go back and relive you know, good or bad, because the next step in life is your first step in life, so you just got to keep advancing forward.''