Honestly, what did Greg Norman expect? The man was about to go from the life of the party in 1986 and ’93 to the strife of the party in 2022.
Who wants to deal with that distraction? Certainly not the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which is taking a pass on Norman because it prefers its drama to take place between golfers on the 72nd hole on the Old Course at St Andrews rather than the Champions’ Dinner at the 150th Open.
The R&A has not invited Greg Norman to its celebrations
Saying the organization prefers the focus to be on golf, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club confirmed on Saturday that LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman isn’t among the invitees for Monday’s Celebration of Champions event or for the annual Champions’ Dinner at the club.
As the winner of The Open in 1986 and ’93, Norman ordinarily would be a prominent guest at both events. Given his role in developing and promoting LIV Golf, the rival to the PGA and European tours, allowing his presence was out of the question.
Aside from concerns about the media circus that would ensue, the R&A membership undoubtedly did not want Norman, 67, in proximity to the world’s leading golfers, some of whom openly despise Norman.
“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 statement said. “Unfortunately, we do not believe that would be the case if Greg were to attend. We hope that when circumstances allow Greg will be able to attend again in future.”
Tournament officials also denied Norman’s request to compete in The Open despite his exemptions having expired. His last appearance in the tournament was in 2009, so one need not be too imaginative to speculate about Norman’s motive.
Predictably, Greg Norman is unhappy over ‘petty’ move
Greg Norman told Australian Golf Digest the R&A’s decision freezing him out from events surrounding The Open is disappointing.
” I would have thought the R&A would have stayed above it all given their position in world golf,” Norman said. “(It’s) petty, as all I have done is promote and grow the game of golf globally, on and off the golf course, for more than four decades.”
Obviously, the problem is how he is choosing to affect the sport now. As the CEO of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series, Norman has been recruiting players from the PGA Tour. Some of the biggest names to defect have been Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, and Phil Mickelson.
Ironically, the major tournaments have not taken a stand against LIV Golf members participating. That means 23 golfers on the LIV roster can tee it up at The Open.