Gregory John Norman AO (born 10 February 1955) is an Australian professional golfer and entrepreneur who spent 331 weeks as the world's Number 1 ranked golfer in the 1980s and 1990s. He is nicknamed The Great White Shark or sometimes simply The Shark – a reference to Norman's blond hair, size and aggressive golf style and the shark inhabiting Australian waters.
Norman was born in Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia to Merv and Toini Norman. His mother was the daughter of a Finnish carpenter, and his father an electrical engineer. As a youth, he played rugby and cricket and was a keen surfer. His mother was a fine golfer with a single-figure handicap. Norman began playing golf at 16 and within a year was playing to a scratch handicap. Norman attended Townsville Grammar School in Townsville, Queensland (enrolled 1964) then moved onto Aspley State High School on the north side of Brisbane. At the age of 20, Norman served as assistant professional under Billy McWilliam OAM at Beverley Park Golf Club in Sydney, New South Wales.
His professional career began as Charlie Earp's trainee in the Royal Queensland Golf Club pro shop, earning $A38 a week. In 1976, Norman turned pro and that year earned his first victory at the West Lakes Classic at The Grange in Adelaide, South Australia. He joined the European Tour in 1977 and in 1982 he was the tour's leading money winner. He won his first Australian Open in 1980, his first of 5 wins. The following year, he joined the U.S. PGA Tour. In 1984 Norman won his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Kemper Open. Norman first came to worldwide prominence a week later at the 1984 U.S. Open. Norman holed a dramatic putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with former Masters champion Fuzzy Zoeller. The next day's playoff was a blowout, with Zoeller beating Norman 67–75. This was the first of what would be numerous narrow defeats, unlucky breaks and unfortunate collapses throughout his career. He was able to put the defeat behind him and win the Canadian Open in July for his second win to finish off a great year.