Greg Norman has praised outgoing American president Donald Trump’s handling of COVID-19 after detailing his frightening experience of contracting the virus.
The Australian golf legend, who lives in the US, was struck down by coronavirus and forced to spend Christmas Day in the emergency room as he experienced pain “on another level”. Norman was discharged but forced to return to hospital a day later after testing positive again, and is now isolating at home.
More than 330,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and nearly 20 million cases have been recorded. On some days this month, the country has witnessed more than 3000 deaths in a 24-hour period.
The country is still caught in the grips of the pandemic but Norman believes Trump has done a great job dealing with it — and feels the same way about Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“Irrespective of whether you like Trump or not, he did a phenomenal job at warp speed,” Norman told Channel 7.
“I think Prime Minster Scott Morrison down there did a phenomenal job … Yes there’s a few lingering COVID cases down there but it’s not to the tune or magnitude of what’s happening here (in America).”
Norman said the virus “hit me from the top of my head all the way down” and first noticed troubling signs on the golf course, where the 65-year-old was playing in the PNC Championship with his son Greg Norman Jr — who also contracted coronavirus.
“I was getting really bad back pains and I couldn’t swing the golf club and I was wondering what the heck went wrong,” Norman told Seven.
“Just before Christmas Eve I went to walk me dog, I couldn’t even open the door handle with my hands — my hands hurt that much.
“My sense of taste was disappearing. My quad muscles and my hip flexors didn’t want to work.
“I couldn’t remember people’s phone numbers, I couldn’t remember people’s names. I was always cold and shivering.”
Norman is in good health and regularly works out, but admitted the virus “kicked the crap” out of him.
“I am fit and strong and have a high tolerance for pain but this virus kicked the crap out of me like nothing I have ever experienced before,” Norman wrote on Instagram on Monday.
“Muscle and joint pain on another level. Headaches that feel like a chisel going through your head scraping little bits off each time, fever, muscles that just did not want to work.”
Norman has a message for those conspiracy theorists still doubting the validity of the pandemic, telling Seven: “Get a life, understand the facts and reality. This is real.”
Speaking before the US election in November, Norman — who is friends with Trump and has played golf with him — gave a ringing endorsement of the man who will be replaced in the White House by Joe Biden.
“You name me one individual on this planet, one individual that has experienced a pandemic like this — nobody,” Norman said. “It was 100 years ago, right?”
Norman praised Trump for giving “a rudder to millions and millions of Americans that never had a rudder before”, adding the famous businessman turned politician “gave them a voice, he gave them a belief”.
“(From) my business perspective, he’s done a phenomenal job,” Norman told The Australian. “He has pretty much stuck to all his promises he made when he was elected.
“Very few people who are elected as president follow through on their promises.
“Yes, he is bombastic; yes, he has a different style; but to see him actually commit to his word about what he wants to do is actually pretty impressive.”