Famed golfer Greg Norman, CEO and commissioner of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series that has poached players from the U.S. PGA Tour, has been uninvited to some top events at this week’s British Open.
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrew’s has asked Norman — who twice won the Open — not to attend the Celebration of Champions event on Monday or next week’s Champions’ Dinner at St. Andrews. As a past winner, Norman would also have been eligible to play in a four-hole exhibition before the tournament gets underway.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
“I’m disappointed,” Norman told Australian Golf Digest on Saturday. “I would have thought the R&A would have stayed above it all given their position in world golf. [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.”
In recent weeks, a slew of members on the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour have announced they will bail from the top league in the world to join the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series. The exodus prompted the PGA to take serious action.
“We have followed the Tournament Regulations from start to finish in responding to those players who have decided to turn their backs on the PGA Tour by willfully violating a regulation,” a PGA release last month read. “The players are being notified that they are suspended or otherwise no longer eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournament play, including the Presidents Cup. This also applies to all tours sanctioned by the PGA Tour: the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA Tour Champions, PGA Tour Canada, and PGA Tour Latinoamerica.”
“The players listed below did not receive the necessary conflicting events and media rights releases — or did not apply for releases at all — and their participation in the Saudi Golf League/LIV Golf event is a violation of our Tournament Regulations.”
The players being banned are Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Talor Gooch, Andy Ogletree, Branden Grace, Matt Jones, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Kevin Na, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, Hudson Swafford, Peter Uihlein, Lee Westwood, and Turk Petit.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as a White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.