Greg Norman has had a letter inviting him to the 2003 US Masters at Augusta – but he won’t be offered a tee time.
Chairman Hootie Johnson – currently in the middle of a row involving women’s rights and the lack of a female member of the Masters host club - offered the double Open champion a special invitation to compete last year after 21 successive Masters.
But this time all the Shark got was an invitation to be a guest of the club during the tournament ...but no cigar.
Norman says he’s unlikely to take up the chance to meet his Tour pals for old time’s sake but still believes he’s playing well enough to qualify on merit but he’ll have to jump over 70 players in the world ranking or make the US PGA Tour moneylist top 10 by the end of March, to achieve it.
"There's no point in me going up there," says Norman. "Hootie wrote explaining the decision and I think it is the right decision and I stand by it. I support him 100 per cent and respect him for that."
I won’t miss it," commented Norman – runner-up at Augusta to Larry Mize’s spectacular second extra hole chip-in in 1987 and victim of Faldo’s last day surge nine years later, "especially with this Martha Burk business going on. I'm kind of glad I'm not going. It looks like there’ll be picketing and demonstrations."
He hopes to make a start on climbing the world rankings in this week’s Heineken Classic event at Royal Melbourne where his rivals include World No.2 Ernie Els – three wins and a second in his last four events – Nick Faldo, Thomas Bjorn and Paul Lawrie.