Greg Norman Responds After Being Officially Denied 150th Open Exemption

The R&A revealed that it had not changed its position on denying exemptions to former champions over the age of 60

Norman smiles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

At the end of April, two-time Claret Jug winner, Greg Norman, had revealed his intentions to feature at St Andrews in July. Now though, The R&A has stated not once, but twice, that it's not changing its stance on "any additional exemptions."

Previously, the 67-year-old believed that he could "still get in" to the tournament despite the exemption age cut-off for past champions being set at 60. On the 24th April, The R&A shut down that chance, with a statement saying: “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 exempt from qualifying. That remains the case for The 150th Open and we have no plans for any additional exemptions.”

Facts about Greg Norman

Not pleased with the outcome, Norman penned another letter to request a special exemption as a two-time Champion Golfer of the Year. However, the Aussie was hit with more bad news as an R&A spokesman confirmed to Australian Golf Digest it had received Norman’s letter but would not be changing its stance.

Norman kisses the Claret Jug

Norman secured the Claret Jug in 1986 and 1993

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Following the news, Norman told the magazine on Thursday morning 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.”

As a result of The R&A's stance, it now means that the only way that Norman could possibly participate in The Open is through qualifying. However, The Shark revealed that he has no intentions of doing so.

In 2005, Jack Nicklaus chose St Andrews for his farewell finale. However, the age limit for past champions was 65 at the time. There was also Tom Watson, who waved goodbye at the 2015 edition of the event, but his ability to play was a bit more complicated.

After Watson finished second in 2009, The R&A announced a new criteria for The Open, with any former winner finishing in the top 10 earning an exemption for another five years. That took Watson to 2014, but The R&A extended it by another year, hence, he was able to play the 2015 Open at St Andrews. 

For 2022, 61-year-old, Mark Calcavecchia, who secured the 1989 Open Championship, will bid farewell as the American received an exemption this year 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 side-lined with an injury.

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x