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The World of Golf and Canada lost a special person with the passing of golfing great Moe Norman in 2004 at the age of
75. Moe was a regular at the Canadian Open each year and would always give
the golf pro's on the range an exhibition of his great ball striking skills.
I recall when I was at the Canadian Open a couple years ago Moe took Jonathan Byrd's
X shafted driver (stiff as a
telephone pole) and at the age of 73 striped 270 yard drives on a string to the
awe of everyone present. In the 1990's when Moe would hit shots
for the top player's with Nick Price and Fred Couples standing by watching in
awe and Moe
chiming: "Nope, never missed a fairway, never hit a bad
Moe Norman's life was difficult and controversial. Moe had a traumatic brain injury
due to an accident as a child which
was believed to have resulted in autism. Many people feel that Moe was
actually an Autistic Savant - a rare condition in which an otherwise autistic
person portrays the ability to play the piano or portray some other high level
of skill without any previous formal training in it. It's as if they were
'born' with it. Moe certainly seemed to have been born with a 'Chopin
like' ability to hit the golf ball!
In his early playing days, Moe would often hitch hike to tournaments around Canada
and win one then would hitch back home, often 'hocking'
the trophy for something he liked better. If he liked the 3rd place prize
over the top two, he'd manage to finish the tournament right on that spot as
well. It has been said that once he had a three shot lead in a tournament
and with that margin intentionally knocked his third into a bunker by the 18th
green then got it up and down to win by one!
Moe grew up autistic in an era when there was not a lot of understanding about the behavioral problems of autism
- which resulted in many who jeered or made fun of him in public. That
all contributed to Moe's shy and reclusive personality and quite possibly drove
Moe into the virtual solemnity the game of golf could provide.
In later life the Titleist golf company sponsored Moe who then often traveled and lived out of his new Cadillac -most of the 1990's wintering in West Palm Beach (rumor has it with a lot of cash in the trunk)
-where one of his favorite things was to listen to
self help tapes.
You can see the amazing skills of Moe Norman via film and tape portraying his Natural Golf Method
which is based upon the way Moe Norman
swings the golf club and is taught to millions of golfers today. Books and tapes
featuring Moe and his golf swing are available today and Canadian
television recently did a two hour biography about his life as well.
We are all saddened by his passing
yet inspired by his life story. In 2001 I was lucky enough to get a copy
of Moe's swing thoughts from his side kick and lifelong friend who
told me 'Don't let Moe know!' (At the time they were filming the story of
Moe's life for Canadian television). Moe was particular and he often gave
personal copies of his 'Thoughts' to those he trusted and liked - often telling
them it was their personal secret.
It's been said that learning to play the
game of golf will also help us to be successful in life. Moe certainly
was. And you can certainly apply any of Moe's thoughts in your life to be
successful as well. Many of these thoughts reflect what all the greats of golf from the past would probably tell
while others indicate the kind of struggles Moe had to deal with in his personal
life as well as in the game of golf.
With all due respect to Moe Norman and in Tribute to
his Life I share with you that special personal copy of Moe's 'Main Thoughts':
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