By now, we should know that golfer Greg Norman never does things
quietly. He talked about buying his own 737 before settling for
a mere Gulfstream. An oenophile, he became a vintner,
establishing Norman Estates at two southern Australia vineyards.
He liked Ferraris, so he bought seven. It shouldn't be
surprising, then, that after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on
June 28 to repair a torn labrum in his right hip, Norman posted
a video of himself being sliced and diced on his Web site,
shark.com, the very next morning. "The original plan was to do
it live," says Mike O'Bryon, executive editor of the site. "But
Greg wanted it to be an educational experience for his fans, so
we figured a condensed version would be more compelling."
What the Great White Web site produced is a detailed 2
1/2-minute film, the kind you might see in a high school science
class--only this time the patient is not John Doe. The
production employs the doctors' view through the arthroscope,
close-up shots of probing and cutting, and wide views of the
operating room with the unconscious Norman lying on the
operating table. Surgeons Richard Hawkins and Marc Philippon
were interviewed after the 40-minute procedure, offering post-op
insights such as Philippon's "We were able to perform a complete
debridement [trimming] of the torn portion of the labrum....
Greg will immediately experience a relief from pain." O'Bryon
and staff then worked through the night to produce a tidy
package accessible through the link "Inside the Operating
Theatre with Greg Norman" on the home page. (To whet fans'
appetites, on June 27 the site had posted video of Norman's 1998
shoulder surgery.) In the first 36 hours after the hip-surgery
video appeared, shark.com received 600 E-mails about it.
The site, which already has a section on preventive sports
medicine, plans to show other sports-related surgeries, but
shark.com, not surprisingly, goes heaviest on links and
lifestyle material, such as a three-part series on putters
called "Fiddling with Flatsticks." Upcoming features include
digital photos of Norman's recent six-day, six-stop business
trip around the world; Web-cam footage showing construction of
Norman's 212-foot expedition yacht in Perth, Australia; and
coverage of Norman's scheduled run across the Sydney Harbor
Bridge with the Olympic torch during September's opening
Meanwhile, how's the patient doing? Predictably, the Shark has
progressed faster than normal. Just three weeks after going
under the knife, he was hitting balls and planning to enter the
PGA Championship, which begins on Aug. 17. Details, of course,
will appear on shark.com.
COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK In hopes of educating his fans, the Web-hip Norman (right) posted video of his surgery on-line.
Whereas rocker George Thorogood once endeavored to play gigs in
all 50 states in 50 days, ESPN.com's senior NFL writer John
Clayton plans to visit all 31 teams in 28 days during preseason
camp. "It's the Four Weeks with One Blue Blazer tour," says
Clayton, who will undertake his 16-state trek by plane and
automobile. While en route from Indianapolis to Cleveland on
July 29, Clayton may want to take a pit stop in Columbus to
watch the MLS All-Star Game (ABC, 3:30 p.m.).