Jack Nicklaus hitting the Bahamas with Arnold Palmer? Or Gary Player?
Or Greg Norman and Nick Faldo just hanging out? What about Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson?
Not likely scenarios in their heydays. But Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Jordan Speith are doing just that, having fun with each other on social media, and all the while winning golf tournaments.
Thomas won his first major and was Player of the Year for 2017, and Spieth won his third major, the British Open. Fowler just shot a 61 to win Tiger Woods’ event.
“What I love more than anything else that I see in this generation is the way you get four or five of these kids running off to some island in the Bahamas to have a fun time,” Norman said Thursday ahead of his QBE Shootout at Tiburón Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort. “That never existed in my career. I don’t think that probably existed in Jack’s or Raymond Floyd’s career. We all disappeared once the golf tournament was over to our own wherever we went, right?
“But to see these kids interact the way they are today, especially in the United States, I think it’s fantastic for the game. And I’ve seen that happen in Europe. The European guys got together and travel together and did things together. So it bodes well for American golf going into the future.”
And the present. The U.S. won the Ryder Cup last year and the Presidents Cup a few months ago.
“I think that all comes from socializing together,” Norman said. “I don’t follow too many of everybody’s social account, but just the interaction, the way they are on social media is fantastic. I wish I had social media in my day because I think it would have been fun to interact with the other players and do what they do and say what they say and needle each other back and forth a little bit.
“But it’s all done out of great friendship and great spirit and you see it coming out on the golf course. There’s probably five or six, seven, eight kids today under 26, 27 that could be No. 1 player in the world tomorrow.”
Norman, 62, knows what it takes to get there, holding that spot for 331 weeks. And the accomplished businessman who wants to keep the game of golf’s future bright, is hoping a new venture will play a part in that.
Norman recently announced a partnership with golf cart company Club Car, GPS Industries and Verizon called the Shark Experience. It incorporates livestreaming, Bluetooth, GPS and more into a golf cart.
Norman walked into a cart barn once and saw 20 or so of the carts equipped with screens, and saw the possibilities. He likened it to a hotel room with TVs that could show just about any form of entertainment.
“I thought ‘Why can’t we do this with a screen on every golf cart? Why can’t we pull in what we have on our iPhone and give the people the ability to listen to music, put speakers in the roof of the golf cart and take their iPhone away, take their Bluetooth speakers that they pull around all over the world with them from golf course to golf course and put it all on the screen?’” he said. “That’s what I envisioned. That’s what I thought about. Then we wrote a business plan and four and a half years later here we go to market next year.”
Norman said the system will be cashless, in testing so far pace of play has not been slowed, and management companies and the National Golf Course Owners Association are on board. TNS