Norman was born in Queensland, Australia and taught the game of golf at the age of fifteen by his mother. Within a year or two he went from a 27 handicap to a scratch golfer and turned pro at the age of 21 in 1977, only six years after he started to play the game.
He made impressive wins on the European tour and joined the PGA tour where he won his maiden PGA tour victory. Shortly followed by an exciting finish in the 1984 US Open where he forced a play-off by sinking a 45 foot putt. Although he did not end up winning that tournament, it was typical of his grit and aggressive style of golf. With his blond hair, tall build and winning drive, no wonder he acquired the nickname, The Shark.