Murray Irwin "Moe" Norman was a legendary golf player with a perfectly straight natural swing that continues to be a model to this day and earned him the nickname "Pipeline Moe". Many of his close friends believe Moe had autism and was a savant for his unparalleled skill in golf. Moe Norman was born on July 10, 1929, and he died of congestive heart failure on September 4, 2004. His home was in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Moe Norman is an Autism Light because of how his efforts set an example for young people with autism who aspire to play professional golf, including young Wyatt Iles, who was Autism Light #351. Moe Norman will be placed on the Autism Light Memorial Roll today.
Golfing Career: Moe Norman had 55 professional wins and shot a hole-in-one a remarkable 17 times. Moe played briefly in Major PGA tournaments in the United States in the late 1950's, but his eccentric behavior caused him some problems fitting into the rigid culture of the PGA and led him to retreat to exclusively playing in tournaments in his homeland of Canada. He set 33 golf course records and won the Canadian PGA in 1966 and 1974. He was the Canadian PGA Seniors' Championship winner from 1979-1985 and in 1987.
Hall of Fame: Moe Norman was inducted into the following hall of fames.
- Professional Golfers Association of Canada Hall of Fame (2014)
- Canadian Sports Hall of Fame (2006)
- Canadian Golf Hall of Fame (1995)
Here is a video by ESPN on the life of Moe Norman that aired on April 10, 2005.
Bruce Selcraig said, "I never heard Norman speak about autism, but I know that he understood its cruelties. In his car, which was filled with old newspaper clippings and the motivational tapes that helped rescue his life, he once had a well-worn article about autism sitting on the front seat. In the article the outdated term 'idiot savant' was discussed at length. Norman had crossed out the word idiot (USA Today, September 29, 2004)."
Moe & Me: Loren Rubenstein published the book Moe & Me in April, 2012 reflecting on his relationship with Moe Norman. Bradley S. Klein's review of the book said this about it.
Rubenstein makes clear in this sad and touching tale that Norman lived a life filled with meaning and purpose. Maybe he suffered a form of autism. Maybe he was an obsessive-compulsive. But he had a special gift, and he built it into a life. He was something of a “Rainman” of golf. It’s an existence that would make a great movie. The key, as Rubenstein emphasizes throughout, is that Norman found a certain inner peace and security just hitting those perfect shots (Bradley S. Klein, Golf Week).Moe Norman said later in his life, "It's not what the world gives you, but what you can give it. I'm lucky. I can give the world talent. I can explain it and show it to people. That's what I love doing. I just love it (Moe Norman on Moe Norman.org)."
Lee Trevino Praise: Lee Trevino said of Moe, "I don't know of any player, ever, who could strike a golf ball like Moe Norman, as far as hitting it solid, knowing where it is going and knowing what he wants to do with the ball Moe Norman is a genius when it comes to playing the game of golf (Moe Norman.org)."
Legacy of Swing: Moe Norman had such skill at his natural golf swing that ten years after his death, there is still a Moe Norman Single Swing Authority program being promoted by Graves Golf and the website moenorman.org also teaches the late golfer's technique.
Wikipedia: You can learn more about Moe Norman on the Moe Norman Wikipedia Page.
You can also read more about Moe Norman at these websites.
- My Close Personal Friend Moe Norman (My Usual Game: David Owen)
- Best of Dirt: Moe Norman (Secret in the Dirt Blog)
- Murray "Moe" Norman "The King of Swing" (Paul Luvera Blog)
Perhaps Moe Norman might have become one of the greatest golfers in history if he had the appropriate supports for his disability, but what he did accomplish was amazing in itself. His life is an example to others that people with autism can excel at sports, including golf. Like many individuals with autism, Moe was a happy person. Moe Norman's own words may describe how he would want to be remembered by the golfing public and the autism community. "Hope and fear, hope and fear, that's how people play golf. Not me. No, not me. I see happiness. I see happiness (Bradley S. Klein, Golf Week)."
Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.