NORTH BERWICK, Scotland — Greg Norman once spoke about playing at the British Open next week. He now he can’t even attend the dinner at St. Andrews for past champions.
Norman, who won the Open at Turnberry in 1986 and at Royal St. George’s in 1993, would have been eligible for the four-hole “Celebration of Champions” exhibition that takes place only at St. Andrews, along with the Champions’ Dinner.
The R&A said Saturday that it contacted Norman to tell him “we have decided not to invite him to attend at this time.”
“The 150th Open is an extremely important milestone for golf and we want to ensure that the focus remains on celebrating the championship and its heritage,” the R&A said. “Unfortunately, we don’t think that would be the case if Greg were to attend.”
Norman has been seen as a disruptor in golf as CEO of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series, which is paying up to $150 million to sign former major champions such as Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau and hosting golf events. 54 holes with a shotgun. start that pays $25 million in prize money.
The PGA Tour has suspended players who have signed up for the rogue league, and the European Tour is fining its players 100,000 pounds ($120,000) for each LIV event they play.
Norman described the decision as “mean” to Australian Golf Digest.
“I’m disappointed. I would have thought the R&A would have stood above it all given its position in world golf,” he said. world level, on and off the golf course, for more than four decades.”
Norman already rubbed the R&A the wrong way with an interview earlier this year with Australia-based News Corp. in which he said he was filling out his Open 150 entry form and “I think I can still get in.” .
It prompted the R&A to issue a statement saying: “We have no plans for additional exemptions.”
Norman is 67 years old and previous Open champions are exempt only until they are 60. His last year of eligibility was in 2015 at St. Andrews. He chose not to play, saying he hadn’t practiced enough and that he didn’t feel right taking a place on the field from a younger player.
The R&A did not deny waivers for eligible players, following the USGA’s decision for the US Open due to the open nature of their careers. There are 23 players in St. Andrews who played in the last LIV Golf event.
It was not clear if Norman intended to be at St. Andrews. The R&A said he was responding to inquiries by releasing a statement that ended: “We hope that when circumstances allow, Greg will be able to attend again in the future.”