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Greg Norman answers Autralian critics

Greg Norman has said he had spoken to fellow Australian golf professional Mark Hensby about his criticism of the two-time British Open champion, which local media described on Thursday as a "shark attack".

Hensby, a PGA Tour player, said on Wednesday ahead of the Australian Open tournament at Moonah Links that Norman, nicknamed "The Great White Shark", should be using his influence to attract sponsors to the cash-strapped local circuit.

"Why is Greg Norman not doing something to help the Australian circuit," Hensby said. "To me, he should be doing a little bit more ... to make sure the tour doesn't go downhill.

"Greg has never gone out of his way to help the Australian golfers. Everyone talks about it, but no one will ever say it.

"That's a pity because we all looked up to him so much."

Norman, however, said on Thursday he had spoken to Hensby about the comments and would do so again, but the conversation would remain private.

The 50-year-old Norman told reporters he was "absolutely" shocked when told of the outburst and said Hensby had no right to criticise him "as he does not know me or what I do".

"I don't have to go out there and play golf tournaments every week in this country from now on," he said.

"We don't have to be there doing the sport that brought us to the level that we're at now days.

"We do a lot of things behind the scenes that a lot of people never see and I think that's something Mark Hensby will never know because he doesn't know me.

"He doesn't know what I do behind the scenes. He knows me as a golfer, he knows me for what I've done in this country to some degree but he hasn't spent a lot of time around to understand what actually happens behind the scenes."

Norman is not playing any events on this year's Australasian tour, which has struggled to attract high-profile overseas players in recent years due to the lucrative and burgeoning Asian tour and has shrunk to just six sanctioned tournaments.

November 24, 2005

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