FOR a sports fan who has spent most of his career writing about business and interviewing chief executives, interviewing Greg Norman, Australia’s greatest golfer, was always going to be a highlight. And it was.
We met at his nondescript offices in West Palm Beach, Florida. The establishment housed dozens and dozens of trophies and photos of Norman, on the walls, on tables, in the halls. He was everything I expected. Tall, fit, good-looking and wearing the uniform of the young baby boomer – the chambray shirt. He was also rich. At the time, BRW valued him at $230 million.
We spoke for about an hour and a half. He had no minders and no script. Norman was open and candid, probably the most self-confident interviewee I’ve ever sat down with. I liked him.
It was hot in Florida and I’d drunk about a litre of water before the meeting. By the time we were wrapping up, my bladder was in no mood for banter. I thanked him, shook his hand and rushed out looking for directions to the bathroom. I noticed next to the toilet a trophy shaped like a shark. ‘‘He’s won so many trophies he keeps them in the loo,’’ I thought. Another member of team Norman came in. My recollection is slightly hazy here. Did the opening of the door knock my shoulder? It doesn’t really matter. In midstream my body shifted. Momentarily, I found myself pissing all over Norman’s trophy.
Panic set in. I zipped up, grabbed the toilet paper and went to work. It’s amazing how intricate and, er, difficult it is to dry a golf trophy. I was in too much of a state to notice much – where the trophy came from or when. My final task was to leave the bathroom and building – fast. I waved farewell and ran out of the building.
I’ve met Greg Norman only once. I don’t really want to meet him again. I think I wiped everything dry, but I can’t really be sure.