THE PLAYERS 1994: Greg Norman
Proud of what he had created, PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman was in awe of how his final act had played out. Greg Norman’s opening 63 followed by three rounds of 67? A pulsating 24-under 264 for a tournament record and four-stroke win over Fuzzy Zoeller? Sixty-six consecutive bogey-free holes?
Beman paid proper homage to the Aussie’s masterpiece at THE PLAYERS Championship 1994.
“There are some records that will never be beaten. I think this is one of them,” said Beman, who had announced his retirement and thus was serving as commissioner for the final time at this championship.
Beman’s vision for THE PLAYERS when he introduced it in 1974 had been fulfilled years earlier with the strongest field in golf creating a compelling showcase. A $250,000 purse in 1974 was now $2.5 million and with Norman’s victory, it meant that of the 21 championships played during Beman’s tenure, a future Hall of Famer had won 12 times.
None as impressively as the then 39-year-old Norman who notched the 14th of his 20 PGA TOUR wins. Four ahead through 54 holes at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, Norman increased his lead to six when he birdied the first hole and Zoeller bogeyed. It was left to see how low he would go (record territory) and whether he’d play bogey-free for 72 holes (no, he bogeyed the par-4 13th).
Like Beman, Zoeller was in awe. “In my 20 years out here I don’t think I’ve seen a player play as well for 72 holes,” said the runner-up.