September 30, 2006 11:20pm
HE is golf's playboy prince, a handsome Latino superstar with $28 million in winnings and a history of dating beautiful and famous women.She is daddy's little princess, the devoted daughter of Australia's golfing legend, Greg Norman.
And together, golfer Sergio Garcia and Morgan-Leigh Norman may be the original odd couple.
Just last week Garcia, 26, and Norman, 23, shocked the Australian public and the golfing world by revealing they are officially an item. In beaming photographs at the prestigious Ryder Cup and with a dramatic golf course kiss at the K Club course in Ireland's county Kildare, this couple has decided to go public.
For the four days of the Ryder Cup, Norman was seen following Garcia's every stroke as the Spaniard led his European team to victory against the Americans.
So far, Garcia and Norman have said little, though Garcia declared recently that Norman is "a wonderful girl". "We'll see where it goes, but she's definitely very nice. I can't say anything bad about her," he said.
The pair hit it off when Morgan-Leigh accompanied her father to the International tournament in Denver in August. Clearly, the younger Norman had a positive influence because a week later, Garcia, ranked nine in the world, produced his best result of the year at the US PGA Championship.
For Morgan-Leigh, a recent graduate in English at Boston College, the romance was unexpected, coming just weeks after her parents announced they were ending their 25-year marriage.
As Laura and Greg Norman's lawyers squared off for the legal fight over the Great White Shark's $278 million, Morgan-Leigh took her first steps with Garcia.
After being seen at the Denver Invitational, the couple was next spotted at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.
Greg Norman has kept quiet on his daughter's romance, declaring in September at a golf tournament press conference that "Sergio's a great guy".
"We'll just see where it goes. They're two people that really enjoy each other's company right now," he said.
Norman is protective of his family, including his son Gregory, 21, a budding golfer who is studying on the Gold Coast. But Norman is especially close to his daughter.
Morgan-Leigh grew up accompanying her dad as the former world number one played the pro circuit.
But today as Morgan-Leigh blossoms into her own woman, it's hard not to wonder how her dad really feels about her dating Garcia.
After all, Garcia is the man fellow golfer Adam Scott once described as "the biggest flirt and the biggest ladykiller on the tour".
Garcia has acknowledged that reputation and said he likes to have fun. His past romantic partners include actress Jessica Alba, model Nikki Novak and tennis great Martina Hingis.
As a regular on the world tour, Greg Norman would have heard the Garcia stories.
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