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At the age of 67, Greg Norman has revealed that he plans on making a competitive return to golf at The Open Championship in July, some 10 years after his last appearance at an event that offered world ranking points.
A two-time winner of the Claret Jug, it would be a rather shock appearance if Norman were to appear at St Andrews (opens in new tab), with the Australian some seven-years older than the exemption age cut-off for past champions, which is set at 60.
Speaking to New Corp, the 67-year-old stated: “I’m filling out my entry form now; I think I’m going." He then went on to add: “I think I can still get in. It’s the 150th (opens in new tab). I’m a past Open Champion. I love St Andrews. If there's a moment in time that I would consider going back and teeing off one last time. Maybe this is it."
Currently though, it is uncertain as to whether Norman will make an appearance at The Old Course, with the Australian unlikely to receive an exemption by The R&A to play. If he didn't receive an exemption, he would have to take part in an Open qualifier.
There's also the slight shadow of Norman's involvement in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series (opens in new tab), an eight event series that has been a huge talking point in golf throughout 2022.
Back in March, LIV Golf Investments and its CEO, Norman, announced that there would be eight events with a gigantic $255 million purse. As of writing, we know a handful of players (opens in new tab) have requested to compete in the events that will run at the same time as PGA and DP World Tour tournaments.
The Series has caused huge controversy, with players like Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods (opens in new tab) and Jon Rahm amongst those who have voiced their support for the PGA Tour and not Norman's LIV Golf Invitational. Along with the players, both the PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan, and DP World Tour chief, Keith Pelley have both had their say on the matter.
Monahan has stated on numerous occasions that those who do jump to the rival Series will receive bans and that those who want to play in the Series should: "Walk out the door now." (opens in new tab)
According to a report in The Telegraph (opens in new tab), the DP World Tour has also issued a plea to its players to stay loyal to the status quo, warning that those jumping ship to the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series will jeopardise the future of the circuit (opens in new tab) and, in particular, its “heritage events”.
For Norman, his last Major tournament appearance actually came at the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry, a venue which is currently off The Open rota (opens in new tab) due to Donald Trump being associated with the course.
As Norman is seven-years older than the past champion exemption cut-off age of 60, he would have to qualify for the tournament. However, if he were to tee it up at St Andrews, he would join the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, who both waved goodbye at the iconic links.
Nicklaus famously chose the 2005 Open at St Andrews for his finale, but the age limit for past champions was 65 at the time. Watson, on the other hand, 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.
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.
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