Greg Norman welcome to check ticket ‘resale market’ after Open snub

Greg Norman of Australia The Commissioner of the LIV Golf Tour in amongst the patrons during a practice round prior to the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia

Norman attended Augusta – but not as an invitee – Getty Images/David Cannon

Greg Norman has been told he is welcome to check the “resale market” if he wants to attend the 152nd Open Championship at Royal Troon this summer.

Two-time champion Norman, the chief executive of the Saudi-backed rebel LIV Tour, created a stir at the Masters earlier this month when he turned up as a paying punter on the Wednesday and the Thursday, choosing to follow Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler’s group.

Although negotiations are ongoing regarding a merger between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund – which bankrolls LIV – and tensions have clearly thawed over the last year, it was pointed of Norman to enter the grounds as a member of the public, with no access to the inner sanctums of the clubhouse where the game’s powerbrokers annually assemble.

The Australian had previously described it as “petty” of Augusta National Golf Club not to send him so much as a grounds pass despite his long standing relationship with the tournament, which includes three runners-up finishes.

As a two-time Open champion – at Turnberry in 1986 and at Royal St George’s in 1983 – Norman might have even more of an expectation of being invited to the oldest golf tournament in the world. However, he does not appear to have received an invitation.

Greg Norman of Australia kisses the Claret Jug after winning the British Open at Royal St Georges in Sandwich, Kent, England on July 18, 1993Greg Norman of Australia kisses the Claret Jug after winning the British Open at Royal St Georges in Sandwich, Kent, England on July 18, 1993

Norman won two Opens during an illustrious playing career – Getty Images/David Cannon

At an Open media day yesterday, Mike Woodcock, director of corporate communications for the R&A, said he was not aware of one going out to the Australian. Nor was he aware of Norman having bought a ticket. “I don’t think there’s a G. Norman [on the list],” Woodcock said. “I think they would have let me know if there was. So I’m not aware that he’s bought a ticket so far.

“Obviously there are tickets still available on the resale platform or hospitality. He’s very welcome to look there.”

In one respect, at least, that actually represents progress. Two years ago, at the height of golf’s fractious civil war with the Saudi rebel series, the R&A actively banned Norman from participating in the tournament’s 150th celebrations and its Champions Dinner at St Andrews, saying it wanted “to ensure that the focus remains on celebrating the Championship and its heritage”.

Norman reacted with characteristic disdain. “I would have thought the R&A would have stayed above it all given their position in world golf,” he told Golf Digest at the time. “It’s petty, as all I have done is prompt and grow the game of golf globally, on and off the golf course, for more than four decades.”

LIV has been asked whether Norman has actually sought an invitation this year. It is yet to respond. Norman will be in Singapore later this week for the next LIV event.

The R&A is expecting 250,000 spectators at this summer’s Open, the biggest ever attendance in Scotland outside of St Andrews and an increase of 77,000 on the last time the Open was staged at Troon in 2016 when Henrik Stenson, now of LIV, emerged victorious on the Ayrshire links.

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