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Greg Norman happy to lose rankings record

Australia's Greg Norman, the 'Great White Shark', has resigned himself to losing his world ranking record to Tiger Woods. Norman was world number one for a total of 331 weeks in his career, a mark which Woods looks like bettering in mid-August.

"I am not going to lose a wink of sleep over it - records are made to be broken" said Norman, who is in Shanghai to compete in the Asian Open, the first European Tour event to be staged in China.

"If it was not Tiger Woods it would be somebody else who did it. I enjoyed being world number one for that length of time. I am quite happy someone is going to break it (the record).

"It takes a lot of effort and sacrifice to achieve a goal like that."

The two-time Major champion turns 50 next February but said he would not be rushing to play in the cash-rich Champions Tour in the United States.

"I will be eligible to play but I will not play regularly," he said. "It will not be in double digits. I will play events like the Seniors British Open because I love the courses it is played on."

Norman believes that China is on the verge of a golf explosion and sees golf's eventual inclusion in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as lighting the fuse.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) are looking at adding golf to the roster with a decision expected by the middle of 2005.

"I think golf should be in the Olympics and should be a demonstration sport. The way golf has grown over the last five years, it is probably worthy for it to be included," said Norman, who has long been a champion of the sport being played at the Olympics.

"You have 400 million youth in this country and if you can capture even a single digit percentage of that, it is going to be huge.

"It is not going to happen overnight, I know that. But everything has to start somewhere. Chinese are great athletes in their own right. They are successful in NBA basketball (with Yao Ming to the fore) - everywhere you look, they have great capability.

"I am a big proponent of seeing the game of golf grow on a global basis, not just on the PGA Tour of America.

"You need to keep the IOC aware that the game of golf is one of the most global games out there, amongst the top five in the world. So why not include it?

"To include golf would be a dream for me as a player and as someone who is involved in the business of golf."

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