Norman says firm no to St Andrews celebrations
Greg Norman’s fractured relationship with the R&A will continue with the double Open Champion declaring he will not be attending celebrations centred around this year’s 150th Open Championship.
Norman has not been sighted at an Open since the then 54-year-old missed the cut in 2009 Open at Turnberry, and where in 1986 he strode triumphantly to the first of two Claret Jugs.
Greg Norman wins his first major at the 1986 British Open (Credit: R&A)
Golf’s Great White Shark has refused all requests to return to golf’s oldest major, and with it the opportunity for Australia’s golfing great to be afforded a proper Open Championship send-off.
And now with the 150th Open Championship celebrations taking place in July, Norman said he will not be travelling to the Home of Golf.
At this week’s Saudi Invitational, Norman was very clear about his intentions.
“I’ve not heard from Martin (Slumbers, R&A CEO) and if I do, my answer will remain the same as always.”
One of those long-term issues was being caught in the middle of a dispute between Rolex and Omega, two of golf’s big sponsors, on his Senior British Open debut in 2006 at Turnberry when, as an Omega ambassador, he was denied entry in the pro-am.
There was an incident in 2012 at Gleneagles when Norman was hosting a corporate outing on the same Monday morning as long-time good friend Jose Maria Olazabal was to announce his wildcards for the 2012 Ryder Cup.
With steady rain halting Norman’s outing, he found his way into the hotel ballroom, trying to sit inconspicuously at the back of the room as Olazabal revealed his picks, only to be approached and asked to leave.
At the time Norman said: “It has left a pretty sour taste in my mouth, a bad feeling after what I have done in the game. I’ve nothing against the R&A and the European Tour but, quite frankly, the way they go about their business is not the way I do it.”
And Norman has sounded off at those singling him out for his involvement in a proposed Saudi-based Premier Golf League.
Norman said: “People have judged me for all the wrong reasons in my entire life.”
“I am a very open guy. I say it exactly how I see it, and I say exactly what I believe and don’t think anything I’ve said has been fabricated, so I ask don’t judge me on your opinions about me and on my opinions of other things.”
“Saying that I am shocked by the reaction from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, and what I also find annoying is that I’ve not had a conversation with anyone at either tour.”
“I am extremely proud of the [10-event International Series] announcement today. I am also proud of the Asian Tour. They believe in my vision as to where they wish to go, and I believe in their ability as to who they are to get there.”