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The R&A's Greg Norman call: Petty or prudent

Readers of The First Call offer their opinions on the R&A's decision to not invite the LIV Golf CEO and two-time British Open winner to its Celebration of Champions event

Greg Norman — 2011 PGA
Greg Norman.

Question of the week [July 11-July 17]: The R&A decided not to invite two-time British Open champion Greg Norman, CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf, to its Celebration of Champions. The R&A believes Norman might have been a distraction to the proceedings. Do you agree with the decision? 

The R&A and the PGA Tour have every right as organizations to associate with or distance themselves from any person or group. The LIV Golf and LIV players should not be surprised by any negative response from the competing organizations or players.

Mark Chatfield
Houston, Texas

Greg Norman is the CEO of Liv Golf and the R&A should allow his presence at the event. His refusal may have more than one reason ... he could entice more players to join his growing numbers. It is about time there was something to break the stranglehold the PGA Tour and The Masters have on the players. Their actions influence the R&A and the entire thing is an ongoing mess. Grow up. These men are pros and deserve more respect and freedom in their decisions. 

Gregory Ruffa
Scotch Plains, New Jersey

When I heard about the R&A decision, I was happy because I've always thought Greg Norman was an egotistical and greedy money whore.  I remember back in the 1990s seeing him waltz down the fairway at Doral stating that Doral was where the PGA Tour really began [its season], dismissing all of the West Coast Swing tournaments that worked their butts off to put on great tournaments for the fans. I remember him getting helicoptered to tournaments when he was staying six minutes away. Now, with LIV, he is threatening the entire PGA Tour despite the fact that he has botched the whole LIV product up to this point. That all said, he belongs at The Open as a past champ. I don't feel they should ban him. He did earn that right.  

Mike Foley
Mission Viejo, California 

I do not agree. Greg Norman is a two-time champion and should be included. I don't like where the LIV money is coming from, but then each player has to make his own decision about that. The free enterprise system will work. 

Mike Sugrue
Gun Barrel City, Texas

I watch majors end to end, including the ladies. I don’t care much about the other TV offerings because I have other priorities, including actually playing golf. While I don’t think LIV will last more than five years, I am disgusted by the golf establishment on this one. 

Rob Baker
Park City, Utah

I want to begin by saying I have no issues with players choosing to leave the PGA Tour and going to LIV Golf. It’s their choice and if the money is worth giving up world rankings, Ryder Cups and so on, then that is their decision. That being said, Greg Norman earned his right to be invited to The Open and absolutely should be there. If he would have become a distraction or made unprofessional conversations he could have simply been asked to leave. The assumption this would have happened and that being the basis to not invite a two-time champion was not the right thing to do. His personal business decisions should not have any influence until it warrants such a decision.  

P.S.: I am not a huge Norman fan either.

Donny Holman
Prosper, Texas

Yes, Greg Norman should have been denied any involvement in the 150th celebration. He would only be looking for a platform to push LIV, which is a joke and an embarrassment to golf.

Robert Greenway
Charleston, South Carolina

Yes, good on Greg Norman for not being invited and I wish they’d done the same with that rat Gary Player. If they had, it might have prompted the Augusta mavens running the Masters to dump him from the honorary first tee function. I can’t stand anything he’s involved in.

Peter Croppo
Bayfield, Ontario

I agree with the decision of the R&A to ban LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman.

Mike Sanders
Cochranville, Pennsylvania

Qualified answer, no. But if R&A chief Martin Slumbers spoke directly with Greg Norman and then they both agreed that this could not be just about The Open, then yes. However, what would happen if they had agreed to "keep it about the 150th Open," then Slumbers had the same press conference slamming LIV. Wouldn’t that have been fun?

Doug Hall
Edina, Minnesota

It was petty. He won the Open and deserved to be there. I have loved golf all my life and all three organizations should have worked something out.

The PGA Tour suddenly has all this extra money to boost prize money, so I don’t believe they are being very genuine about everything. They are afraid of losing some power.

Paul Fogarty 
White Plains, New York

Greg Norman should have been invited. This is a golf tournament, at its 150th year of play — the Open is celebrating its champions, as well as champion golfers from other walks of life. Paul Trow (London) has it right relative to LIV events leading up to this wonderful tournament in the historic golfing village of St. Andrews. 

Greg should have been invited based on his golfing merits and not based on the fact that the R&A disagrees with his view of how tournament player entries should be structured and the Saudi sponsorship of Greg's views.

Tom Powers
Bradenton, Florida

I believe Greg Norman's presence at the 150th Open celebration would have created a considerable distraction. That he was not invited was the proper thing to do for this year's Open.  

Roy Johnson
New Lenox, Illinois

It's by invitation, but there's a precedent for inviting Norman. The dinner is for past winners and Norman certainly is that. Norman hasn't been charged with a crime, convicted of a crime or said anything to publicly denounce, embarrass or otherwise chastise the R&A. By not inviting Norman, who won an Open Championship because he qualified to play and then shot the lowest score, the R&A has placed themselves above the game.

In its own words on many an occasion "nobody is above the game." They have become the judge, jury and executioner for a crime not committed. Whether you agree with Norman's position as CEO of the Saudi-badked tour or not, so far he is the only person who has maintained a professional attitude and approach. 

Michael Schurman
Durham, Ontario

A champion like Greg Norman is, and will be an excellent player, who respects all the rules of golf, and today is an excellent entrepreneur. So under that mode, you cannot be prevented from attending as a guest and even more so if you want to participate. The business that Greg Norman is developing, I think it will allow more and better income for golfers from all over the world. I think defending an American and British oligopoly is not the best thing to see new golfers playing in other leagues and not known because American TV chains monopolize only the participation of U.S. players and some times from Latin American.

Manuel Beltroy
Lima, Peru 

Yes. It was a wise choice to keep Greg Norman away.

Don Moore
Warren, Pennsylvania

I totally agree with the R&A decision. Greg Norman would be a colossal distraction to the 150th Open celebration. We are gathering in St. Andrews to celebrate the grand history of what is the Open. We do not need the circus that is Greg Norman and his own pathological sense of self importance. Happy the R&A took this much-needed action.

Reid Farrill
Toronto, Ontario

Absolutely. Nobody is bigger than the game. LIV Golf is Greg Norman's ego play and has no merit. LIV is a sham.

Larry Guli
Waxhaw, North Carolina

Snub of Greg Norman ... perfect, nothing petty here. It’s about the Open not LIV or Norman.

Wayne Smith
Austin, Texas

R&A got it right. Greg Norman cannot have it both ways. Norman has made himself a maverick all on his own.

Dave Peel 
Littleton, Colorado

R&A decided not to invite Greg Norman to the 150th Open because he’s a distraction? When one of the most respected organizations in professional golf folds to pressure from  another golf tour, it appears they are making the decision on a personal note because of the person in charge of this start-up tour. Evidently the imperial wizard of the PGA Tour got to the heads of the R&A. What a shame for the history of the game. Augusta National seems the only organization that stays away from outside influence and makes decisions on its own.

Tim Overmyer
Atlanta, Georgia

The R&A created more of a distraction by not inviting Greg Norman to the champions dinner than it would have been if they just ignored him. The 150th Open Championship is the main headline. Tiger Woods playing is the second biggest headline. It was completely unnecessary to deny Norman and sadly elevated his name. The press will still ask players about him regardless. 

Pat Rice
Atlanta, GA 

The biggest choker in golfing history absolutely should not have been invited to the Old Course festivities for 150 years of the Open. Greg Norman has, for the last 40 years, tried to put down the PGA Tour.

Alan Dunninger
Lake Worth, Florida

I am all for LIV Golf and am very disappointed in the reactions of the PGA Tour. [Commissioner Jay] Monahan appears to be a pompous fool with his threats and his actions. The very people he is denouncing are the backbone of what made the PGA great.

Edward Culligan
Port Saint Lucie, Florida

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