AUGUSTA, GA (WTOC) - It would be easy for Greg Norman to be lost inside his own head this week amid all the pain from the past that must greet him on every step as he returns to one of his old haunts that still haunts him.
"All of the memories, absolutely, are 100 percent there,'' Norman said of his surprise trip back to Augusta this week. "Of course I would have loved to have won the golf tournament. I didn't win the golf tournament.''
Most players haven't won the Masters. But nobody didn't win it as dramatically, as agonizingly and as repeatedly as Norman, who has been second here three times, but is first all-time in Augusta heartbreak.
Yet that won't keep this week from being a good one for him as he comes back one more time, at the age of 54, to an old friend in Augusta National. And many around it.
"Oh man, it's like the original Masters with Greg back,'' said Mike Rogers of Liberty, South Carolina. "I followed him at his first Masters here and I'll follow him again this week.''
"It so great to see him here again,'' said Lorri Moffat of Augusta. "When he requalified this year, we were really glad to be able to catch up with him.''
That passion Augusta fans have for Norman equals the love he has never hidden for this place. And that he now gets to rekindle.
So even potentially bad memories such as a practice round reunion with Jose Maria Olazabal, who took away Norman's his last chance to win at Augusta, are good when the trip up memory lane leads to Augusta's door.
"It's been great coming back,'' said Norman, who earned his invitation by finishing third in last year's British Open. "Every player, from Tom Watson to Tiger Woods to every player I've come up to on the field has said, hey it's great to see you back. It really makes you understand the impact i have had to some degree on the event.''
And that he will one more time this week.