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Greg Norman's on course microphone test muted

Exactly what anyone had hoped Greg Norman would say on his way around Royal Melbourne today is uncertain.

But whatever it was, it would probably have been considerably more interesting than what they heard.

In an experiment inspired by a television boss who claimed golf was struggling for sponsorship because the players were boring, Norman agreed to wear a microphone during today's first round of the Heineken Classic.

The former world No.1 suggested that television viewers would discover that the players were fun guys with a highly developed sense of humour.

They'll have to take his word for that.

Perhaps the most interesting chat of the day came as the players walked down the fifth fairway and one of the group spotted some female fans in the gallery.

One of the three dropped what sounded like a commonly-used expletive and the commentators not-so-deftly came in over the top.

"It sounds like they're getting a bit off the track there," said the Fox Sports man.

The chatting began as the players walked off the first tee and Norman and playing partner Stuart Appleby talked about the recent birth of Appleby's first child.

But as the new father seemed about to get into the intimate detail of the matter, the Fox sound faded away.

For the rest of the hole there wasn't another word, not even when Norman's birdie putt shaved the edge of the hole.

After that, the experiment showed how little the players talk.

The end result was a lot of time spent watching Norman walk and waiting for him to say something.

He duly obliged at the third green with a comment on the length of the grass.

When his putt came up a metre short, he told himself he'd been right about the grass.

If anything, the microphone proved an embarrassment for the commentators.

One of them warned viewers early in the round not to expect to hear Norman and the other member of the threesome, Colin Montgomerie, talking to each other.

On the fourth hole, though, the pair got into an animated and harmonious discussion on the merits of Singaporean politics.

Monty expressed his appreciation of how clean the place was and Norman aired his view that the island nation was proof that dictatorships could work.

He then trotted out a piece of riveting trivia about how the highway to Singapore's Changi airport was designed so that it could also be used as a runway.

Just before they spotted the women in the crowd, Norman held forth on the latest development in golf - a hollow titanium golf ball.

Wiring golfers for sound is a nice idea, but it will be a surprise if it catches on.


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