Greg Norman’s audacious bid to play in this summer’s 150th Open Championship appears to have hit an almighty snag.
Norman, a two-time winner of the Claret Jug, intimated over the weekend that he intended to join the special anniversary celebrations at St Andrews in July.
The 67-year-old Australian hasn’t played in the game’s oldest major since 2009. However, speaking to News Corp, the man behind the game’s controversial new Saudi-funded start-up tour – the LIV Golf Invitational Series – expressed an interest in pegging it up this summer.
“I think I can still get in,” said Norman, whose past champion exemption expired seven years ago when he aged out. “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.”
A spokesperson for Norman reportedly told the Golf Channel that the former world No.1 would not be attempting to qualify for the championship but would, instead, be submitting a request for a special exemption.
There is a precedent for such things.
Tom Watson, for example, was granted an exemption to play at St Andrews in 2015 at the age of 65.
However, it appears as though Norman’s ask will receive short shrift from organisers, the R&A.
Without referring to the Aussie by name, a spokesperson for the organisation said: “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 ten years to be exempt from qualifying.
“That remains the case for The 150th Open, and we have no plans for any additional exemptions.”
Norman has played in 27 editions of The Open, winning twice – first in 1986 and again in 1993. In 2008, he came close to rewriting the game’s history books when, at the age of 53, he held a two-shot lead after three rounds at Royal Birkdale, ultimately finishing in a tie for third.