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WEST PALM BEACH, Florida — First, Greg Norman was told he was not invited to play the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews.
Then he received the letter saying he was not welcome to play in a four-hole exhibition at the Old Course and not to show up at the Champions’ Dinner.
The two-time Open champion and CEO of the LIV Golf Series chalked it up as another “petty” decision in the ongoing golf wars.
“There have been a lot of dumb decisions made, quite honestly, and this one seemed as if it was very petty,” Norman told the Palm Beach Post Monday. He was talking from LIV’s headquarters in West Palm Beach.
Norman’s request to play in this week’s tournament was not unusual.
Yes, he is 67, but he said he recently broke his age in a round at the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound. But the Hall of Famer with 20 PGA Tour titles and more than 90 worldwide wins has become an outcast since joining the breakaway tour being financially backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
“Governing bodies should stay above the fray,” said Norman, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens. “They should be Switzerland. For them to stoop to this level … as a past Open champion and all I’ve done for the game of golf on a global basis, I fit the model of what the R&A is all about, right? The Royal and Ancient growing the game of golf on the grassroots level. They only have to look at what I’ve been doing in Vietnam growing the game of golf. That’s why it’s so petty.”
The Open was first played at the Old Course at St. Andrews in 1873 and this will be the 30th time at the venue. Norman won the 1986 Open at Turnberry in Scotland and the 1993 Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich.
“I still can play,” Norman said. “I know I can still play.
“Looking at the weather conditions, it’s very hot and very dry so the ball is rolling, running out pretty good. That’s right up my alley. Who knows.”
Norman’s last competitive round of golf was the 2012 Senior Open Championship. His last major was the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry. He shot a 77-75 and missed the cut.
Tom D’Angelo is a journalist at the Palm Beach Post. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.