On the morning that Canadian golf legend Moe Norman died, Gus Maue was asked to go through his good friend’s belongings.
In the pants pockets of the 75-year-old Norman, Maue found a couple of Titleist golf balls, three or four tees and a watch. In the trunk of his car, he discovered more than 1,000 golf balls, most of them Titleist Pro V1s, rolling around loosely, 10 pairs of Footjoy golf shoes, two to three sets of irons and $20,000 in cash hidden throughout the Cadillac.
Norman hated banks, but he loved Titleist, Coke, and Cadillacs.
After watching Moe hit balls at the Canadian Open in 1995 and recognizing Moe’s talents, Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein said, “We’re missing out on something here.”
Titleist began paying Moe a “no-strings-attached” salary of $5,000 per month until his death in 2004. This and a contract with Natural Golf, a company that promoted his golf swing, largely supported Moe in his later years before his death.
Max Oxford, Titleist Sales Manager, said they did it to recognize a man they believed to be a legend. When asked why he played Titleist, Moe said, “It’s the best ball in golf for the best ball-striker in golf.”
Larry Olson, the president of Natural Golf, met Moe Norman when his company — who’s methodology was the based on a scientific Single Plane golf swing — was asked if he knew of Moe Norman in 1993.
“What’s a Moe Norman?” Larry asked.
Once Olson met Moe and discovered that his incredible golf swing validated the company teaching methodology, Natural Golf began promoting and supporting Moe financially.
Moe was known to drink a few dozen Cokes per day and would often anger tournament officials and entertain crowds by hitting balls off of the mouth of Coke bottles during tournaments. Moe said he did it because he wanted to entertain the crowds and have fun. He eventually switched to Diet Coke later in his life.
Moe enjoyed driving Cadillacs too. Coming from a poor family, a Cadillac was a symbol of success and acceptance, something Moe longed for. When he was younger, he would make his friends drive him around so he could save his money, hoarding his small change until it would be enough to trade for a hundred-dollar bill. He often pardoned himself from picking up the tab by making the excuse he didn’t want to break the hundred dollar bills that filled his front pocket. Eventually, he took the wad of cash and purchased his first Cadillac. Every six months Moe would trade in his Cadillac for a newer model.
Moe was golf’s greatest underdog. Help me tell his story, one of the most fascinating in the history of the sport, by donating to his documentary.