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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 231
P RIOR to March 3, 1997, Richard Green had the uninspiring record of two professional wins – both came at the New Caledonian Opens of 1994 and 1996. Playing in just his 14th start on the European Tour, the Victorian left-hander took on¬ – and beat ¬– world No.1 Greg Norman and 28-time Tour winner Ian Woosnam in a playoff to win the Dubai Desert Classic. The 26-year-old was paired with Woosnam in the last group of the final day. He arrived at the 18th green needing to hole a 15-foot birdie putt to finish tied with the little Welshman and his childhood hero, Norman. He calmly rolled in the putt for a closing 68, signed his card and headed back to the 17th tee for the first playoff hole. It was there where he met his idol for the first time. He shook hands with the Shark and ‘Woosie’. Ten minutes later they were shaking hands again, this time to congratulate Green, who had birdied the hole to send his more fancied opponents packing. “To win against these guys is unbelievable, absolutely special,” Green told The Age newspaper. “Woosie is a great player and Norman has been a huge idol. I must have watched the tape of the ’86 US Masters 400 times and I’m always praying that that shot of his which goes hard right into the crowd at the last hole goes onto the green. But it never does. “I’d never met Greg before and when we set off for the playoff I could feel my heart pumping hard against my chest. To play well with all that going on is pretty special.” Green’s victory was the first by a left-hander on the European Tour since New Zealander Bob Charles won the 1974 Swiss Open. It also doubled his prizemoney earnings from his first three years as a professional – not bad for a Commodore driving, self-confessed revhead-from Melbourne’s western suburbs. E it happened this week in... 1997 • The standard variable rate for a home loan in Australia was an average 7.55%. • The AFL hints it would like to see a second team in Sydney to rival the Swans. • World No.1 Greg Norman throws down the gauntlet to young gun Tiger Woods saying he relishes the challenge of the 21-year-old being on Tour as he prepares for the Masters in a few weeks time. • Steve Waugh and Greg Blewett bat for three days, 494 minutes and 385 runs against South Africa in the first Test in Johannesburg. It sets the Aussies up for an innings and 194-run victory. Making news this week in 1997 GREEN GAFFS A DESERT SHARK
GA Express 230
GA Express 232