Shark, Ochoa team up for Olympics bid
Greg Norman will team up with Mexican golfing great, Lorena Ochoa in a bid to win approval to design and build a golf course to host the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
It was just over 10 years ago that Greg Norman jogged across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the early hours of the morning, proudly holding aloft the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games torch.
Four years earlier in the Olympic stadium in Atlanta, the world’s elite athletes stood shoulder to shoulder at the opening ceremony on grass laid down by Norman’s turf company.
Now, in six years’ time, Norman is hoping a golf course co-designed by he and Mexico’s former world No.1 Lorena Ochoa will play host to the world’s best golfers competing in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
And Norman, a two-time Open championship winner, will be among those bidding to design a course for them to play.
“I’ve spoken with Ty Votaw from the PGA Tour and got all the details as to what is required,” said Norman.
Norman also revealed he’d been in discussion with Ochoa, the popular women’s golf star who retired this year, who is keen to team-up with Norman in an effort to win the bid to design the course in Rio de Janeiro.
“I am very excited about that and so is Lorena,” Norman said.
“And while we haven’t signed a deal, we are both very supportive of the whole idea.”
Norman likened teaming up with the Ochoa as akin to the spirit that set the Olympic Games apart.
“You have to team-up with the right person in the golf course design business and Lorena’s just getting into the business, so she’s keen to learn,” said Norman.
“She’s got a tremendous name in golf and she’s also fluent in Spanish.
“And while she wanted to be involved in the bid, she felt she couldn’t be involved on her own.
“So just like in the spirit of what the Olympics is all about, Lorena and I will be ensuring, if we win the bid, we can design a golf course together that’s fitting for the Games.”
Norman was speaking in Switzerland after being named Omega’s newest sporting ambassador.
He joined the likes of Sergio Garcia, Michelle Wie, Olympic swim star, Michael Phelps, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and actors George Clooney and fellow Australian Nicole Kidman as ambassadors for the Swiss watch-making giant.
When it was mentioned to Norman that he now has something in common with Clooney, it brought a grin to the Queenslander’s face.
And the Great White Shark was equally quick to respond, laughing: “George wears his watch on his left hand. I wear mine on the right.”
Accompanying Norman to the European Masters for his first visit since 1995 was new girlfriend, Kirsten Kutner who grew-up on the north shore of Sydney in Killara.
Also on the trip to Switzerland was Norman’s son, Gregory Jnr and his Miami-born girlfriend, Hilary.
His long-time manager, Bart Collins and his wife also flew on Norman’s private jet to the Swiss Alps.