By Rick Fraser / The Toronto Sun
Moe Norman, at 65 still considered one of the greatest strikers of a golf ball the sport has ever witnessed, will soon have more financial security than he has ever enjoyed.
The manufacturers of Titleist golf balls will pay Norman a monthly salary believed to be about $5,000 (U.S), for as long as Norman lives — and with absolutely no strings attached.
“We’re doing this to recognize a man that we believe is a living legend,” Max Oxford, national sales manager for Titleist told the Star yesterday.
“All we ask of Moe is that he work with us in putting together a very professional video in which Moe will go through his swing thoughts with perhaps a couple of U.S. tour pros. We’ll put that video into a time capsule so that long after he is gone, that video will be used to show just how great a shotmaker this man was.”
Oxford would not disclose the financial terms of the arrangement.
Oxford said Titleist chief executive officer Wally Uilien was so impressed with the man’s skills that he discussed the idea with Oxford.
“Wally has watched Moe for years and after seeing him hit balls at Lee Trevino’s request on the practice range at the Canadian Open he said: ‘We’re missing out on something here,'” Oxford said.
“Wally said to see a guy like Trevino and then all the other touring pros gather around to watch Moe, something had to be done to recognize his talents.
“It’s just our way of saying thank you to Norman for the enjoyment he gives people who see his amazing skills.”
Despite his accomplishments as both an amateur and a professional over five decades, Norman, a native of Kitchener, continues to be snubbed by the Royal Canadian Golf Association every year in its Hall of Fame selections.
Norman, who lists two Canadian PGA Championships, seven national senior titles and 11 provincial crowns among his accomplishments, plays very little competitive golf.
One of his closest friends, veteran Kitchener pro Gus Maue, said he was thrilled at the recognition being given to Norman by Titleist.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Maue said. “It just goes to show that there are some really great people in this world.”
Ted Maude, Another of Norman’s touring pals in the 1960s and 70s, is still amazed at the attention Norman receives outside of Canada.
“To this day, you keep seeing articles in magazines from all over the world about Moe’s ball striking.
“It’s fabulous what Titleist is doing for him. Perhaps that might move others to give him the recognition he so justly deserves.
Rick Fraser, Sports Reporter