WHEN Greg Norman jetted into Hongkong last Tuesday night there was no one at Kai Tak to meet him and no courtesy car to take him in luxury to his hotel. For a man accustomed to red-carpet treatment wherever he travels, he handled the situation in a most un-superstar-like manner. There were no tantrums and no abusive telephone calls to his management company demanding immediate action to rectify the oversight. Picking up his golf clubs and travel bags, Norman strolled through the waiting area at Kai Tak and joined his fellow travellers in the taxi queue. It was the type of scene that would not have been out of place in a Crocodile Dundee movie. Only this time it was Norman in the role normally associated with Paul Hogan. ''It was fun talking to the people in the cab rank. I got a real kick out of it,'' said Norman, who has taken over from the ubiquitous Hogan as the main man in selling Australia around the world as an ideal holiday location. Such is his international appeal that, at the start of 1990, Norman was approached by the Australian Tourist Commission to ''star'' in a series of print adverts and a full-scale video campaign aimed at attracting holidaymakers, primarily from Asia, to theland of his birth. The seemingly indestructible Crocodile Dundee had met his match in golf's Great White Shark. However, as a top-level golfer, many believe Norman is one of the game's great under-achievers. For despite his immense natural talent he has to date managed to snare only one major title - the 1986 British Open. Whether or not you consider his lack of major successes self-inflicted or believe fate has cruelly conspired to deny him at least another couple of titles through miraculous, championship-winning shots from opponents, that solitary triumph at Turnberry isscant reward for the Australian. Whatever his playing achievements, though, there is no question that Norman is the consummate superstar. Standing six feet one inch, the blond Queenslander has the looks and physique of a Bondi Beach lifeguard. To say he stands out in a crowd is the understatement of understatements. Estimated to be earning more than US$10 million a year, Norman is one of the most skilfully promoted golfers on the international scene. And as the Greg Norman roadshow rolled through Hongkong and China this week, it was clear why he is regarded as a dream by sponsors, promoters and the media. In the space of 72 hours, he launched his new Greg Norman Reebok Collection in Hongkong, visited a site in Xiamen where he is designing his first golf course in China and played in a US$27,000 Johnnie Walker Skins game in Shanghai. The Asian stopover was expertly packaged to promote Greg Norman and stimulate the continued growth and popularity of golf in a region that has been identified by his management company as a potentially huge money-spinner well into the next century. Despite the many and varied worldwide demands on his time, Norman, 38, is only too well aware that the three days he invested in Asia this week will reap handsome dividends. Norman, shy in his childhood, has become as slick and polished in his performances off the golf course as he has been on it. Unlike most of golf's elite, Norman is ever ready, willing and available to talk to journalists in a refreshingly open manner not favoured by many of his contemporaries. Notwithstanding the fact that he stands to boost his already bulging bank balance considerably by focusing his design and clothing attentions on Asia, Norman is enthusiastically bullish about the prospects for the promotion and development of the game in the region. Whether facing a crowded press conference, conducting a television interview or addressing dignitaries at a prize-giving reception, he took advantage of every opportunity to make the right noises. ''It's given me a great sense of pride and satisfaction to come here to China for the first time to help promote and develop golf,'' he said, describing his trip as being aimed at ''enhancing the playability of the sport in China''. Not that Norman expects his pioneering visit to produce Chinese champions overnight. ''It is a process that will take between 10 and 12 years. I am fortunate to have an opportunity to start a trend and be involved in one of the first stepping stones for the game in China,'' he said. Norman hopes the 36-hole Taiwanese-backed Kai Kou Golf Club project in Xiamen will offer local youngsters the chance to learn the game. ''Kai Kou can act as a catalyst for great players coming out of China. The development of golf all over the world must be done through juniors and there must be more chances for them to play,'' he said. ''China already has many outstanding athletes. We've seen that on international stages such as the Olympics. As far as golf is concerned, players will become successful when they compete more for their country as well as individually. ''It will then take time for the younger generation to take to those guys and use them as their idols and hold them up as people who they want to emulate.'' Norman, who now spends most of his time in the United States, is a self-confessed admirer of Asia and its people dating back to his appearances in the Hongkong Open at the outset of his professional career. ''I love the cultures and I'm infatuated by the people in the Far East. I like their approach to many things and I'm sure there's a lot the West can learn from them,'' said Norman who, in addition to China, is also designing courses in Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and the Pacific island of Saipan. Such is his fascination with golf course architecture that Norman envisages more of his time being devoted to that aspect of his trade in the coming years with clear designs on mainland China where his design company are actively looking for more developments. As far as his own game goes, Norman is playing consistently better than he has for several years. ''Every athlete has down periods and I went through two years when I didn't perform to the level I should have been at. When you have such a phase it makes you wake up to what you have missed . . . and I've woken up. I'm very excited about my prospects for the three remaining majors this year,'' he said. In the course of his round in Shanghai, Norman snared four birdies on his way to a three-under-par 69. It may not have been quite like the heat of battle at Augusta National or St Andrews, but it was, nonetheless, a display that epitomised the way he conducted himself throughout the trip.