Shark Shootout has Norman beaming

Greg Norman’s annual Shootout has the shark beaming again after some anxious times.

Greg Norman has had some anxious moments between losing his title sponsor and finding a new one for his annual Franklin Templeton Shootout.

But the field he has managed to put together for this week’s 23rd edition of a 54-hole team competition, staged at Tiburon Golf Club at in Naples, Florida, and featuring 12 pairings playing in a multi format formula, has more than made up for his earlier woes.

Headed by this year’s PGA champion Keegan Bradley and hot new PGA Tour star Webb Simpson and made up of an exciting mix of seasoned Major winners like Stewart Cink, Justin Leonard, Mark Calcavecchia and Nick Price, established PGA Tour winners like Steve Stricker, Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell and up and copming young guns like Rickie Fowler and Camilo Villegas, it’s got the Great White Shark beaming with delight.

“Considering all the other events going on around the world, I think we’ve got an exceptional field,” a delighted Norman was reported by Golf Magic as saying on Thursday.

“I think it’s a testament to the Shark Shootout over the 22 years we’ve been in place that the guys love to come and play in this event.”

Bradley, one of the eight first-timers here in Naples who are set to play modified alternate shot golf on Friday, better-ball golf on Saturday and Texas Scramble in Sunday’s final round, spoke for most when he said: “I remember seeing it (on television) and watching Greg play in the tournament. It’s so cool to be invited. It’s going to be really fun to play in the Shootout.”

Neither member of last year’s winning team, Dustin Johnson, who is recuperating from a knee operation or Ian Poulter are in this week’s’ line-up although Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker, the winners in 2010, are back for another crack at the winners purse of $375,000 each.

Norman, making his 22nd start as against the 17 of Calcavecchia, the field’s next busiest competitor, has teamed himself with US Tour veteran Scott MacCarron, a three-time shoot-out champion.,

Elsewhere,Mark Calcavecchia will be making his 17th start in the Shootout – most for any other individual in the field except for Greg Norman, who will be making his 22nd start.

The teams
Webb Simpson/Anthony Kim, Jerry Kelly/Steve Stricker, Rickie Fowler/Camilo Villegas, Jason Dufner/Sean O’Hair, Keegan Bradley/Brendan Steele, Stewart Cink/Bo Van Pelt, Charles Howell/Justin Leonard, Rory Sabbatini/Jhonattan Vegas, Scott Stallings/Kenny Perry, Chad Campbell/Chris DiMarco, Mark Calcavecchia/Nick Price, Scott McCarron/Greg Norman