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Golf: Greg Norman hospitalized with COVID-19, weeks after hosting QBE Shootout in Naples

Greg Hardwig
Naples Daily News

World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman shared pictures on Instagram on Friday afternoon showing himself in a hospital room and indicating he had been hospitalized with COVID-19.

"This sums it all up. My Christmas Day,” Norman captioned a photo with him in a mask. “On behalf of millions, (expletive) CoVid.  (Let’s) get this (stuff) behind us never to experience it again.”

Norman, 65, hosted the QBE Shootout at Tiburón Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples from Dec. 9-13, then competed with his son Greg Jr. in the PNC Championship at Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando from Dec. 17-20.  

His son also posted Friday that he had COVID-19.

Norman posted a video message on his Instagram account on Thursday, Christmas Eve, in part saying he was experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, and was self-quarantining after getting off the phone with his doctor.

"Even though I had a test on Tuesday and the results came back (Wednesday) which was negative, I am exhibiting mild symptoms of potentially COVID," he said. "I'm not too sure. I feel very flu-like, I have a mild fever, I have a cough, I have aches and pains, I have a mild headache. So I am in self-quarantine. Ugly place to be on Christmas Eve, but I just do not want to jeopardize affecting any of my family or friends or loved ones around me."

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Norman's son posted that both he and his fiancée Michelle had had COVID-19.

"Michelle and I unfortunately are wrapping up the year with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19," he wrote on Instagram, followed by listing what helped get them through it.

He said his wife had four days of fever, body aches, and migraine headaches, but he had a slight headache. He said both of them were feeling better.

"Such a strange virus," he wrote. "I barely felt a thing and Michelle got hit hard by it. Michelle is incredibly healthy and extremely fit. We both feel we went above and beyond on protocols to avoid the virus. Stay healthy everyone!"

The elder Norman had hosted the Shootout, which features 24 PGA Tour players, and was won by Harris English and Matt Kuchar in record fashion.

Norman had said during tournament week that the pro-am pairings party held early in the week had been the first at a PGA Tour event since the season resumed during the summer following a pause due to the coronavirus in March. Attendance was limited for that, it was held outside in a tent, and everyone had to be tested, and test negative, to be allowed on the property. The same went for a gala on Thursday, Dec. 10 of tournament week that Lady A's Charles Kelley performed a concert afterward. COVID-19 protocols, such as social distancing, were in effect, and that also was held outside with limited attendance. 

Norman performed his other hosting duties, such as appearing on the first tee before the first round, and also at the 18th green ceremony crowning English and Kuchar as champions on Sunday, Dec. 13.

The Shootout was held without fans, although a handful of Tiburón members attended after being screened, and some affiliated with title sponsor QBE Insurance also were in attendance, and had been tested. 

Norman was the No. 1 golfer in the world for 331 weeks, a record later broken by Tiger Woods. He has 88 international golf victories, including a pair of British Open championships.

Norman founded the QBE Shootout in the late 1980s, first playing it at Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, then making it a PGA Tour event beginning in 1989 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. It moved to Doral Resort in 2000 for one year, then moved to Tiburón, where he designed both courses, in 2001. The event has raised more than $14 million for CureSearch for Children's Cancer and other charities.

Greg Hardwig is a sports reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @NDN_Ghardwig, email him at ghardwig@naplesnews.com. Support local journalism with this special subscription offer at https://cm.naplesnews.com/specialoffer/