LIV Golf chief Greg Norman has not been invited to past champion events ahead of next week’s 150th Open at St Andrews.
The 67-year-old Australian golf great won The Open in 1986 and 1993 but is now the chief executive of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, which has challenged established US and European tours by attracting players to compete in its $24-million, 48-man, 54-hole events.
The Royal & Ancient (R&A), which runs The Open, confirmed on Saturday that Norman would have no role in either the four-hole champions’ challenge on Monday or the pre-tournament champions’ dinner.
“In response to enquiries regarding the R&A Celebration of Champions field and the Champions’ Dinner, we can confirm that we contacted Greg Norman to advise him that we decided not to invite him to attend on this occasion,” the R&A said in a statement.
“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.
“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.”
Norman told Australian Golf Digest he was disappointed with what he labelled a “petty” decision.
“I would have thought the R&A would have stayed above it all given their position in world golf,” he 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.”
LIV has attracted several former Major winners, including Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, but fellow American golfer Jordan Spieth said earlier on Saturday he planned to remain loyal to the US-based PGA Tour.
In a post on his Twitter account, the 28-year-old three-time Major champion, said: “Let me be clear, any reports that I am contemplating competing anywhere other than the PGA Tour are categorically untrue.”
Spieth, who is competing this week at the Scottish Open in North Berwick, added: “I am NOT in discussions with LIV. I have been quoted on the record for months that I fully support the PGA Tour and have never considered any alternatives.”
The R&A said last month that LIV players who qualified would be allowed to compete at St Andrews.
© Agence France-Presse