Just a day after Greg Norman announced his intentions to play at St Andrews in July, a spokesman from The R&A has now told Australian Golf Digest, via a statement, that: “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.”
As a result of The R&A's stance, it now means that the only way Norman can possibly participate in The Open is through qualifying, something that is unlikely considering he hasn't played a round of golf that offers ranking points since 2012.
A two-time winner of the tournament, Norman had stated on Friday that: “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. 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."
For Norman though, he falls seven years outside the exemption age cut-off for past champions, which is set at 60. Following the announcement from The R&A, it is unlikely that we will see 'The Shark' at the Old Course in July. However, there is a strong chance that we will see him in the UK a month prior to The Open, when the newly announced Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series heads to Centurion Club on the 9th - 11th June.
Norman, who is the CEO of LIV Golf Investments, has announced that it will be an eight event Series with a gigantic $255 million purse. As of writing, only a handful of players 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 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."
According to a report in The Telegraph, 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 and, in particular, its “heritage events”.
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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
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