Greg Norman speaks out after comeback bid brutally rejected

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Greg Norman, pictured here with his wife after winning the British Open.
Greg Norman's bid to play the British Open has been rejected. Image: Getty

Greg Norman has revealed that his shock bid to come out of retirement and play at this year's British Open has been denied.

The 67-year-old left the golf world in shock last month when he announced his plans to play at The Open for the 150th anniversary of the famous event.

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However the Aussie legend revealed on Thursday that his request for a special exemption from Open officials has been knocked back.

Past champions need to be under the age of 60 to get an invitation to play, meaning Norman needed an exemption.

“We have replied to [Norman]. There is no change to our position,” a spokesperson told Golf Digest.

Norman expressed his regret, saying: "I’m disappointed with their decision, particularly given it is the 150th Open.

"I have been a staunch proponent of the R&A since 1977 and a proud Champion Golfer of the Year – twice."

A spokesperson for Norman told the UK Telegraph last month that he isn't planning to go through qualifying in order to earn a spot, meaning the comeback plans are officially dead and buried.

Rumours swirled last month that Norman never had any real intentions of playing, but simply wanted to put British Open officials in an awkward spot.

Norman is leading the controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series, a Saudi-funded rebel league trying to poach players from the PGA Tour with a reported $3 billion war chest.

Norman previously called British Open officials “vindictive” after they cancelled the exemption traditionally given to the winner of the Asian Tour’s order of merit.

Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson, pictured here at the PIF Saudi International.
Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson at the PIF Saudi International. (Photo by Luke Walker/WME IMG/WME IMG via Getty Images)

The LIV had earlier announced it was investing $300 million in the Asian Tour, with Norman and the Saudis previously believing the British Open was neutral.

Writing in the Telegraph, James Corrigan quoted an 'insider' who said Norman "is being mischievous and attempting to make the R&A feel uncomfortable, because they have obviously sided with the PGA and European Tours in this fight when they first indicated they would remain impartial.”

Comments Norman made in previous years about returning to play at St Andrews also appear to show he never had any intentions of playing.

"Am I really going to go there and play? No," he wrote in the book 'Aussies At The Open: Australia's tales and triumphs from 150 years of The Open Championship'.

"I just don't want to get on the first tee and be that ceremonial golfer. I just don't want to do that. It's just not in my DNA.

"So I just quietly say no to everybody."

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Norman has been accused of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia.

"We are here to play golf, serve fans, grow the game, and give additional opportunities to players," he said in denying those claims.

Norman famously won the British Open in 1986 and 1993 and tied-for third in 2008 having held the third-round lead at the age of 53.

He hasn't played professionally in 10 years but said he wanted to come out of retirement for one final event at St Andrews.

“I think I can still get in,” he said. “It’s the 150th. I’m a past Open Champion. I love St Andrews.

"If there's a moment in time that I would consider going back and teeing off one last time. Maybe this is it."

The last time Norman played for world ranking points was in 2012 at the Australian PGA Championship.

The last time he played a major was the 2009 British Open at Turnberry.

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