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Moe Norman: The Rain Man of Golf

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This is a true golf legend never truly getting his deserved recognition. Many golf pros stood in awe at his swings.

Moe Norman and his Famous Swing

Moe Norman and his Famous Swing

Moe, He Never Really Fit

Moe, He Never Really Fit

The Canadian Golfer Known As The King of Swing

Born Murray Irwin "Moe" Norman 10 July 1929, Kitchener, Canada. Life was not easy for Moe. When he was about five years of age and on the back of a toboggan with his friend, they crashed and slid under a car. He managed to walk home bruised and sore; days later, his teacher and mother noticed a change in his speech. And throughout his life, this injury may have contributed to his suspected health problems, perhaps a tinge of autism.

In his pre-teen days, Moe started caddying at a local club, playing the game with Gary Cowan and Gerry Kesselring. To make ends meet, he set pins at the local bowling alley. In 1949, Moe had his first win t a one-day event at St. Thomas Golf and Country Club, where he hit a 67, and he turned pro in 1957.

By now, it was noticeable Moe was a little different and considered eccentric and a poor dresser. He would repeat himself over and over when he talked, annoying the other golfers. Moe was a solitary man, avoiding newspaperman and the public.

Moe was unique with his turtle-neck sweaters, his sneakers, and his ratty golf bag. But when he was swinging a golf club, onlookers stood in awe with the accuracy in his consistent straight shots.

Moe never won a U.S. Open, never won a PGA Tour, and rarely had a tournament outside of Canada. Yet he won 65 Canadian PGA Championships between the years 1966-1974. He won the Canadian Senior Championship every year except one from 1979-1987. Over his career, Moe won 54 tournaments, had 33-course records, shot 59 three times, and had 17 holes-in-one.

In 1995Moe was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, and in 2006 he was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. He is also considered one of the Greatest Canadian golfers.

He did play briefly on the PGA Tour but was so bullied by the officials and some players that he was so upset he vowed he would not play the American tour again. They told him to fix his teeth, dress better, and keep quiet.


Moe's Swing

Moe's Swing

Moe's Famous Grip

Moe's Famous Grip

PGA Pros Give Credit to Moe Norman

Tiger Woods said of Moe-Only two players own their ball strikes, Ben Hogan and Moe Norman. Agreeing with Tiger was Paul Azinger and Lee Trevino. It was Vijay Singh who said of Moe, "God's gift to golf."

Moe had a few good friends such as Gus Mauve and his wife Audrey, and Wally Uihlein, the Titleist president. During a merchandise show that Uihlein shook hands with Moe and asked him what golf balls he used. Moe said only Titleist for forty years, and Uihlein was astonished he never had sponsorship and immediately offered Moe $5000. per month for life. When Moe asked what he had to do to earn it, he was told, "only use Titleist balls.

For years Moe was barely making it financially. He wasn't on the PGA Tour, making millions. He lived in motels, his car was his closet and sometimes slept in bunkers at the golf courses. Now with the sponsorship from Titleist, his living arrangements would improve.

When Moe died in 2004, his funeral was attended by a mass of pro golfers and Titleist president Uihlein, all giving eulogies of high esteem for him. He would have been great on the PGA Tour, but his shyness and idiosyncrasies held him back.

Moe is buried in Memory Gardens, Ontario, Canada.

When Gus Mauve was asked to go through his things after his death, he found in his pants a couple of Titleist golf balls, 3 -4 golf tees, a watch, and in his truck, he found $20,000. Hidden in his Cadillac, 1000 golf balls, ten pairs of golf shoes, and two sets of irons. Norman hated banks and kept his cash handy.

In the Rockway Golf Club, Kitchener, Canada, is a room dedicated to Moe Norman filled with memories and achievements.

A movie, King of Swing, released in 2002 of Moe's life and a book,

The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story by Tim O'Connor, written by a good friend of Moe's for years who knew and respected him, is both heartwarming and full of facts about the life of Moe.


Moe's Room Rockway Golf Club

Moe's Room Rockway Golf Club

Moe Norman Grave Marker

Moe Norman Grave Marker

Comments

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on December 27, 2020:

Thanks for your visit MG. my son loves golf also. He had a double eagle on a Par 5 once!. Enjoy your golf.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on December 26, 2020:

Very interesting article I play a lot of golf but I hadn't heard about this gentleman. it was wonderful to read about Moe Norman.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on December 25, 2020:

surovi99, thank you for your visit. Love your comments.

Rosina S Khan on December 24, 2020:

This is an interesting account of Moe Norman, a great golfer. Although I am not a sports fan, I enjoyed reading his biography. Maybe I will develop an interest in sports through your gorgeous articles. Merry Christmas, Fran. God bless!

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on December 24, 2020:

Very nice information. Amazing.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on December 24, 2020:

CJ, thanks for reading. My son loves to golf and I never heard of Moe but my son, of course, knew of him. Moe was a special person who overlooked bullying and kept to himself.

CJ Kelly from the PNW on December 24, 2020:

Did not know anything about Moe. Great story. Thanks. Sharing.

Merry Christmas.