‘I Supported That Decision’ – Rory McIlroy On Greg Norman Exclusion

In his pre-Open press conference Rory McIlroy said he thought it was right for Greg Norman to be excluded from the 150th Open celebrations.

Rory Mcilroy
Rory McIlroy in his pre-Open press conference
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Speaking in a press conference this morning, Rory McIlroy was asked about Greg Norman being disinvited by The R&A from the week’s 150th celebrations. The Northern Irishman, who has spoken extensively on LIV Golf, was quick to defend the decision.

“It's The 150th Open Championship, and that's what we need to focus on. I think the focus would have been taken away a little bit if he'd have been here,” he said. “I supported that decision, and I think right now, because of everything that's happening in the golf world, I think it was the right decision to be made.”

Video: What is Liv golf?

Rory went on to say that he felt there was a way back into The Open fold for Norman.

“But if things change in the future, or whatever happens, who knows, but I could see a day where he's certainly welcome back,” he said.

Two-time champion Norman was not invited to participate in The R&A Celebration of Champions event or the Champions’ Dinner. In a statement, The R&A said that they did not want the focus taken away from the heritage of the 150th Open Championship.

Speaking after that decision Norman expressed his disappointment at the decision. “I would have thought the R&A would have stayed above it all given their position in world golf. (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.”

McIlroy was pushed further on the LIV situation; asked if, as a board member of the PGA Tour, he would vote to permanently suspend the players who have left for LIV, he was careful with his response.

“As a vote, I don't think that should be in the public domain about how I would vote in that. So I'll keep that one quiet also,” he said.

And when it comes to a possible LIV golfer winning this week, he was more light-hearted in his response to a question on whether it would be better for golf if a non-LIV player to triumph.

“Selfishly, for me, yes, I think it would be better for the game,” he said with a grin. “I want that person to be me.”

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?