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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), 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.”

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 (opens in new tab)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 (opens in new tab). 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 (opens in new tab) 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 studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.