As Rory McIlroy prepares to make his return from injury at this week’s US Open at Erin Hills, former world No.1 Greg Norman has voiced his concern over the damage the game’s most powerful players are doing to their bodies.
Speaking in the latest issue of bunkered, out later this week, the two-time major winner said he sees back problems in the futures of golf’s current crop of big-hitters.
“Everything points that way, doesn’t it?” said Norman, when asked if he expects such issues in the futures of players such as Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy specifically. “The body is the body. Anatomically, we’re all the same. Sure, we can all change our physiques by building up muscle and so on - but you can’t build up your bones or your spine. The more you try to put power and flexibility around what Mother Nature gave you, the higher the chance of something happening.”
Norman was drawing a parallel with the game’s biggest-hitters and the big ‘power’ players of the past, himself included.
“We’ve all had some lingering issues because of the way we attacked the ball,” he added. “Jack [Nicklaus], Seve [Ballesteros], me and now Tiger.
“We’ve seen it already with some of the top guys today. Jason Day, for example, has already had some issues.
“They’re all aware of the stress they’re putting on their bodies but, to maintain their quality, they’re still attacking the ball as aggressively as ever. I can’t judge them for that. I used to do it, too. But stress is stress.
“Even bending over putting for hours and hours on end on the putting green isn’t good for you.
“I wish I’d known that sooner. I perhaps wouldn’t have spent so much time practising.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Norman also revealed his dream to design a golf course in Scotland and explained how he came very close to remodelling one of the country’s most famous layouts.
He also reminisces about his first European Tour win, which happened 40 years ago this week in the Martini International at Blairgowrie.
Pick up a copy of issue 156 of bunkered, out later this week, to read the interview in full.