Thursday, October 20, 2005

More than a nickname

WITH a nickname of "Shark" and having grown up in Queensland where a number of varieties of the dangerous fish can be found, is it any wonder Greg Norman has always maintained a special affinity with it. But the Australian golf icon has just revealed the extraordinary story from his school days when he encountered one of the beasts — about two metres long — but survived to tell the tale.

Norman discloses details of what took place when he and his father and a schoolmate were on a Great Barrier Reef fishing expedition and found themselves just off Magnetic Island. According to Norman, on one particular day he was well below the surface looking for an evening meal when he spotted a large fish, so he trained his spear gun on it and pulled the trigger.

Said Norman: "The shot was a success, but the velocity of the spear sent the fish further than I anticipated, embedding it in a coral outcrop. I gave several tugs, but the spear would not budge. While I was pondering how to remove the spear from the coral, I glanced to my left and through the bubbles could see a six- or seven-foot shark approaching. I dropped everything and floated back to the surface, keeping a wary eye on the intruder. When I reached the surface I floated on my stomach and watched the shark through my mask."

Fortunately for Norman the shark appeared more interested in his fish than it was him. Noted the champ: "After a couple of quick bites, my catch was gone — mother nature at her best."


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