LONDON — It was solely this spring that Greg Norman, who twice lifted the claret jug because the winner of the British Open, sought a particular waiver to play on this week’s match in St. Andrews, Scotland.
The reply was unequivocal: No.
And never solely is there no place on the course for Norman, whose function within the new LIV Golf sequence has made him an outcast in sure golf circles, however it seems that Norman is not even invited to dinner.
The R&A, which organizes the Open, over the weekend grew to become the most recent nook of golf to say it had despatched Norman into exile, quickly banishing him even from the normal dinnertime gathering of earlier Open champions. . The transfer has made this week’s match, the final of the 12 months’s 4 golf majors, the latest flashpoint as gamers and executives overtly conflict over LIV Golf, the Saudi-funded rebel league that has turned a sport that Norman as soon as dominated resolutely between factions.
In a well mannered however agency assertion, the R&A made it clear that that they had chosen a aspect. He had contacted Norman, he stated, “to tell him that we determined to not invite him to attend at the moment.”
“The a hundred and fiftieth Open is an especially essential milestone for golf and we need to make sure that the main focus stays on celebrating the championship and its heritage,” the R&A stated. “Sadly, we do not assume that may be the case if Greg have been to attend. We hope that when circumstances enable, Greg will have the ability to attend once more sooner or later.”
LIV Golf, whose principal monetary backer is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, didn’t reply to a request for remark. However Norman, govt director of LIV, stated Australian Golf Abstract that he was “disillusioned” and thought the choice was “petty”.
“I’d have thought the R&A would have stood above all of it given its place in world golf,” stated Norman, whose solely main match victories got here on the 1986 Opens at Turnberry and 1993 at Royal St. George’s.
The general public entanglement between the 67-year-old Norman and the R&A started in April when he expressed confidence within the Australian media that he might obtain an exemption from the open guidelines, which permit earlier champions to enter that classification provided that they’ve 60 years or much less. and play within the a hundred and fiftieth iteration of the match, scheduled to kick off on Thursday on the Outdated Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Information quickly arrived that the R&A wouldn’t supply Norman such an exemption. (The governing physique has flexibility: It agreed to confess Mark Calcavecchia, the 62-year-old professional who gained at Royal Troon in 1989, as a result of the Open that was anticipated to be his farewell in 2020 was canceled as a result of coronavirus pandemic and he was recovering from surgical procedure final summer season).
However Norman’s consideration and scrutiny has solely elevated within the intervening months, as he has drawn such nice champions as Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed to the LIV sequence, severing his ties with the PGA Tour and turning golf right into a cauldron of bitterness His Might remarks by which he dismissed Saudi Arabia’s killing and dismemberment of a Washington Publish reporter saying, “Look, we have all made errors.”, provoked new criticism.
Requested Monday concerning the R&A’s resolution to exclude Norman, Jack Nicklaus, who has gained the Open thrice, demurred.
However whilst Nicklaus, who will turn out to be an honorary citizen of St. Andrews on Tuesday, hailed Norman as “an icon within the sport of golf,” he steered away from supporting Norman’s new tour.
“We have been buddies for a very long time and it doesn’t matter what occurs, he’ll nonetheless be a buddy,” Nicklaus stated. “Sadly, he and I simply do not agree on what is going on on. I am going to principally depart it at that.”
Norman is not the primary main champion to overlook out on a gathering of previous winners this 12 months as a result of a Saudi-related furor. Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion, was absent from the occasion at Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership in April after condemning Saudi Arabia’s “horrible human rights file” however stated LIV was “a once-in-a-lifetime alternative to reshape how operates the PGA Tour.”
Mickelson is predicted to play at St. Andrews this week.