We’ve chronicled Greg Norman’s brief tenure as main golf analyst at Fox from his shaky performance at last year’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay to his dismissal earlier this month. With Paul Azinger set to replace him in the 18th tower as Joe Buck’s partner on this year’s USGA events, Golf.com reached out to Norman to get his reaction to being let go after one year on the job.
Norman tells Alan Bastable that he did not see Fox’s decision coming at all, “I can honestly say that I am shocked and surprised.”
A Fox source told Golf.com that a reason for the change from Norman to Azinger was that the Shark was unprepared for the broadcast of the U.S. Open’s magnitude. Critics noted that Norman appeared aloof in the booth and seemed to disappear at key moments.
Norman said before it was announced that Azinger would replace him that Fox would have a difficult time in recreating the chemistry he and Buck established beginning at the Shark Shootout in 2014:
“I think Joe Buck is actually now in a tough position, because we became great friends and I believe we had a great foundation,” Norman said. “The whole team really had a good chemistry, so I think it will be a challenge to recreate the formula. I am certain Fox has someone in mind already.”
That someone is Azinger. But despite losing a high-profile gig, Norman said he appreciated how his dismissal was handled by Fox executives:
“I have learned a lot in life and business — even if one does not agree with one’s decision, one must respect that decision,” Norman said.
So as Fox moves on from the Greg Norman experience, there’s no need to feel sorry for the Shark. He still has his successful golf course architecture business as well as other ventures that will keep him busy throughout the year.