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NORMAN ISSUES GOLF-FOR-ALL CLARION CALL

HCM CITY - Golf needs to be made more affordable and accessible to young people to develop the sport in Viet Nam, Greg Norman told the media at the opening of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label tournament yesterday.

The 55-year-old Australian legend, who nicknamed as the Great White Shark, said the sport is growing in Viet Nam with more and more people entering but it takes time to develop the sport.

Australia, Scotland, and the US too took several generations to develop great players.

"If young golfers are helped to develop their game and improve their skills, and are given opportunities to develop quality, we can see good golfers from Viet Nam," Norman, who was world number one for 331 weeks as the 1980s and 1990s, said.

"Playing in tournaments like the Asian Tour will raise golfers' game in bigger tournaments like the PGA Championship."

He expressed willingness to build a golf academy in Viet Nam when conditions allowed.

"Money does not produce a good golfer; what you need is confidence. If you believe you can become a good golfer, you can do it."

He quoted Confucius: "A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step."

Nguyen Ngoc Chu, general secretary of the Viet Nam Golf Association (VGA), said Greg Norman's second visit to Viet Nam was a boost for local golfers because exchanges with the world's great golfers will make them more committed to the sport.

"Many golf courses in Viet Nam are designed by famous names like Greg Norman and very beautiful, comparable to those in other countries, and we can organise international tournaments.

"In spite of this, we do not have many professional golfers because golf is in its infancy. We need time, maybe one or two generations."

Before teeing off the tournament at the 10th hole, Norman showed off his golfing skills and gave some tips to local golfers on how to choose a suitable club, how to grip the club, and how to produce a good swing. - VNS