Why I snubbed The Shark: Augusta chairman on LIV Golf's Greg Norman

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley has explained the decision to not invite LIV Golf boss Greg Norman to the 2023 Masters.

Ben Smith's picture
Thu, 6 Apr 2023
Why I snubbed The Shark: Augusta chairman on LIV Golf's Greg Norman

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley refused to rule out inviting LIV Golf boss Greg Norman back to The Masters as he outlined his reasons for snubbing the shark. 

Norman was reportedly 'fuming' with the green jackets over not being sent an invitation to the 87th Masters. 

"I loved this place," Norman said. "The problem is it never loved me back."

This was not the first time Norman, 68, had lashed out at the governing body of a major. 

Two-time major champion Norman was also not invited to proceedings at last year's landmark Open at St. Andrews. 

R&A boss Martin Slumbers stated he didn't want the LIV Golf sideshow to detract from the major.

Slumbers also pointed to the fact Norman hasn't always attended Open Championships. 

That appears to be the case at Augusta National. Ridley addressed the media on 5 April.

Last year, Ridley spoke of Phil Mickelson's absence during his self-imposed exile from the game. 

Ridley claimed Mickelson wasn't disinvited. It was the first Masters Lefty had missed in 28 years. 

This year Mickelson has been keeping a low-profile and reportedly sat quietly during Scottie Scheffler's dinner. 

Mickelson also reportedly refused the opportunity to take part in a pre-tournament press conference. 

As for Norman, Ridley explained Norman had only attended two out of the last 10 Masters tournaments. 

He explained:

"We did not extend an invitation to Mr. Norman.
"The primary issue and the driver there is that I want the focus this week to be on the Masters competition, on the great players that are participating, the greatest players in the world, which, by our decision in December, we ensured that we were going to honour and be consistent with our invitation criteria.
"I would also add that, in the last ten years, Greg Norman has only been here twice, and I believe one of those was as a commentator for Sirius Radio.
"It really was to keep the focus on the competition."

So would Norman ever be welcomed back?

Ridley continued: 

"I mean, it's hard to answer that question because, you know, I don't know where the world is going to be next year or two years from now.
"But as I stated, I would say -- I would never say never. But I told you why he had not been invited this year.
"I think that, as I said in my comments, I'm hopeful; I noticed -- I've noticed a tone -- the tone has been really good here this week.
"I've noticed the players are interacting. Last night at the Champions Dinner, I would not have known that anything was going on in the world of professional golf other than the norm.
"So I think, and I'm hopeful, that this week might get people thinking in a little bit different direction and things will change.
"So I would never say never, no."

Elsewhere, Ridley confirmed Augusta National was leaning towards the proposals to rollback the golf ball. 

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