Greg Norman has taken a dig at the R&A for not allowing him an exemption into the 150th Open later this summer at St Andrews, reports Golfmonthly.com.
The two-time Champion Golfer of the Year posted an Instagram image of him teeing off the first on the Old Course at St Andrews with the caption: “Prepping for no reason. But still one of my all time fav golf courses to play @thehomeofgolf.”
The 67-year-old was denied a spot in the Championship due to being over the age of 60, which is the cut off for past Claret Jug winners.
“The entry terms and conditions for The Open stipulate that a champion must be aged 60 or under or have won the championship in the previous 10 years to be exempted from qualifying,” the R&A said.
“That remains the case for The 150th Open and we have no plans for any additional exemptions.”
Norman recently described his request to play in the 150th Open in an interview with Sky Sports, where he said it was “a full 100 per cent sincere ask.”
“It wasn’t anything else other than a sincere ask, right,” he said. “I’m a two-time Champion Golfer of the Year. It is St Andrews, one of my favourite golf courses. I’ve always sung praises about the R&A my entire – being the champion golfer of the year, right I’ve supported them as far as I could possibly support them as a representative of being the holder of the Claret Jug.
“So, I actually thought, my son and I talked about this before I even came on board with LIV and I’ve spoken to, you know, former heads of R&As to understand ‘okay, what is the process?’ And I knew that they had changed the date. But I also know other players over the age of 60 have been given an exemption, right?
“So, hello duh it’s a simple writing a letter to Martin Slumbers asking: ‘Hey, as a two-time Open Champion Golfer of the Year. I love St. Andrews. I love to be there for that.’ It was a full 100 per cent sincere ask.”
Norman had previously told Australian Golf Digest that: “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.”
This year, 61-year-old Mark Calcavecchia, who won the 1989 Open Championship, will bid farewell as the American received an exemption after what should have been his final Open was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That meant it carried over to 2021; however, Calcavecchia was sidelined with an injury.
Tom Watson was also allowed a special exemption to play a final Open at St Andrews in 2015 despite his extra five year exemption, following his runner-up finish in 2009 as a past champion, had expired one year prior.
Norman, the boss of the new LIV Golf Invitational Series, has come under fire recently for his comments on Saudi Arabia and ‘sportswashing’. The Aussie’s two Open Championship victories came in 1986 at Turnberry and 1993 at Royal St George’s.