The R&A has confirmed that it chose not to invite Greg Norman to compete in the Celebration of Champions or attend the Champions’ Dinner ahead of the 150th Open at St Andrews.
Norman won the Open in 1986 and 1993 but is now the CEO of LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed circuit which has caused a rift in the men’s professional game after enticing players to compete in their £20million, 48-man, 54-hole events.
And while other former champions will take part in a four-hole challenge on the Old Course on Monday, Norman’s potential presence has clearly been viewed as an unwelcome distraction.
In a statement, the R&A said: “In response to enquiries regarding the R&A Celebration of Champions field and the Champions’ Dinner, we can confirm that we contacted Greg Norman to advise him that we decided not to invite him to attend on this occasion.
“The 150th Open is an extremely important milestone for golf and we want to ensure that the focus remains on celebrating the Championship and its heritage.
“Unfortunately, we do not believe that would be the case if Greg were to attend. We hope that when circumstances allow Greg will be able to attend again in future.”
LIV Golf has so far staged two of its planned eight events in 2022, with 2017 Open champion Jordan Spieth describing rumours that he was considering joining the breakaway circuit as “categorically untrue” on Friday evening.