Greg Norman ridicules 'petty' move amid golf schism

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·Sports Reporter
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Greg Norman says it was 'petty' that he was not invited to this year's British Open, due to his association with the LIV Golf series. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Greg Norman says it was 'petty' that he was not invited to this year's British Open, due to his association with the LIV Golf series. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Greg Norman has lashed out after he was noticeably not invited to the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the British Open, a move he labelled 'petty'.

The two-time British Open winner was not extended an invitation to the upcoming Celebration of Champions tournament, not the following Champions' Dinner.

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The R&A, in organising the celebration, believed Norman's status as the face of the breakaway LIV Invitational Series would detract from the event - an assertion which left Norman less than impressed.

Norman will not be present at St Andrews later this week, where the British Open is due to get underway on Thursday.

The 67-year-old told the Australian Golf Digest that he was incredibly disappointed in the R&A's decision on the matter.

"I'm disappointed. I would have thought the R&A would have stayed above it all given their position in world golf," Norman 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."

Norman had been hoping to take part in the special four-hole 'Celebration of Champions' challenge on the Old Course on Monday, featuring some of the game's greatest ex-champions including Tiger Woods, but the R&A made it clear in a statement why he wouldn't be welcome.

"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 statement read.

"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."

Greg Norman not invited to British Open 150th celebration

Norman had earlier this year asked the R&A for permission to play in the British Open itself, despite him now having no eligibility as he's well outside the age limit of 60.

At the time, the R&A refused the request, saying: "We have no plans for any additional exemptions."

Norman won the Open in 1986 and 1993 but is now the chief executive of LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed circuit which has caused a rift in the men's professional game after enticing players to compete in their $US24 million, 48-man, 54-hole events.

Norman has so far overseen two of eight LIV Golf events planned for the year.

The series has lured players with unprecedentedly huge paydays, with Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka among those so far to have joined up for reportedly massive signing on fees.

Greg Norman's spearheading of the LIV Golf series has resulted in a number of top PGA players joining the newly founded series. (Photo by Jamie Squire/LIV Golf via Getty Images)
Greg Norman's spearheading of the LIV Golf series has resulted in a number of top PGA players joining the newly founded series. (Photo by Jamie Squire/LIV Golf via Getty Images)

LIV Golf has so far staged two of its planned eight events in 2022, with 2017 Open champion Jordan Spieth describing rumours that he was considering joining the breakaway circuit as "categorically untrue".

The bitter split caused within golf by LIV Golf was underlined last week when Billy Horschel called some players who have joined the Saudi-backed breakaway series hypocrites and liars.

The American was joined by world No.2 Rory McIlroy in calling on LIV Golf players to stay away from the established tours.

Their comments came as DeChambeau said the deal he signed through 2026 with LIV was worth more than the reported $US125 million ($A185 million), much of it paid up front.

Horschel made an impassioned defence of the PGA Tour and European Tour ahead of the co-sanctioned Scottish Open, which will feature a number of LIV players after their suspensions were stayed on appeal.

With AAP

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