Australian Greg Norman, headliner of the dissident LIV Golf circuit, was not invited to the celebrations of the 150th British Open at St Andrews, the organizers wishing to mark their opposition to the creation of these richly satisfied tournaments.
Norman, 67, a former world number 1, won the British Open in 1986 and 1993. He is now the executive director of LIV Golf, a new Saudi-funded series set to distribute this year, across eight tournaments, nearly 24 million euros in prize money.
The Royal & Ancient (R&A) of St Andrews, the host club of The Open, confirmed on Saturday that Norman could not take part in the Champions’ Challenge on Monday, played over four holes, nor in the Dinner of Champions.
“The 150th Open is an extremely important milestone for golf and will ensure that everyone remains focused on the anniversary of our Championship and its heritage,” the R&A executives said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we don’t believe that will be the case if Greg attends. We believe that, when circumstances permit, Greg will be able to be with us again, in the future.”
Norman immediately reacted, for Australian Golf Digest magazine, by speaking of his disappointment at what he called a “mean” decision and saying that he rather expected “the R&A to remain above the fray. , given its position in world golf”.
“It’s petty, after all I’ve done, for over four decades, to promote and develop golf around the world,” added Norman.
LIV Golf has already defined several big names in golf today, including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia, but not Jordan Spieth who has planned to stick with the North American PGA Tour.
Winner of three Majors, Spieth, 28, has made it clear on his Twitter account that he has no intention of joining the ranks of LIV Golf, whose tournaments are contested between 48 players and over just three rounds , instead of 120 players and four rounds on the American and European circuits.