Is Ricky Barnes our generation's Greg Norman?
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Is Ricky Barnes our generation's Greg Norman?

Bethpage : NY : USA | Jun 22, 2009 at 8:41 AM PDT
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Greg Norman chokes.

Ricky Barnes has put together a Norman-esque past couple of rounds. After setting a 36-hole U.S. Open record with an 8 under-par performance, and then threatening to run away with the tournament, Barnes bogeyed six out of 13 holes. As I write this, he sits at -2 and two strokes off the lead after a slew of horrendous shots to start Monday's final round.

I mean this as a compliment, I really do. Sure, Greg Norman has been known as one of the greatest choke-artists of all time. In the 1996 Masters, he held a 6-stroke lead going into the final round. He then shot a 78, essentially handing the trophy over to Nick Faldo. In 2008, he gave a two-stroke Sunday lead to eventual champion British Open champion Padraig Harrington. Arguably Jack Nicklaus' greatest major victory -- the 1986 Masters -- came after he chased down Norman from behind. A few years ago, ESPN's Page 2 named Norman the number one greatest choke artist of all time.

BUT - that's not to say Norman isn't talented. He won the PGA Championship twice, he was the first golfer to surpass $10 million in career earnings, and he even has a cool nickname (The White Shark).

Ricky Barnes fits into this mold. He is a former U.S. Amateur Champion, and for gosh sakes, he now holds the 36-hole U.S. Open record.This is no Jean Van de Velde flash-in-the-pan choke (Google his name and you'll know what I mean). I really hope he wins, but let's face it, Barnes has already fashioned himself into the "lovable choker" niche so nicely. No, I suspect we will see Ricky Barnes grimacing and giving up Sunday major leads for years to come.

Now all he needs is a cool nickname.

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Ricky Barnes - our generation's Greg Norman?
Ricky Barnes looks awkward.
ropar is based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, and is a Stringer for Allvoices.
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