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‘Petty, cheap, childish shot’ – Greg Norman slams R&A over Open Celebration of Champions snub

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Earlier this year, the R&A decided not to permit special exemption to Greg Norman, that would have allowed him to take part at the 150th Open at St. Andrews.

Whilst the LIV CEO maintained he was “disappointed with their decision, particularly given it is the 150th Open,” and that he had “been a staunch proponent of the R&A since 1977 and a proud Champion Golfer of the Year–twice,” the committee were insistent they were not altering any exemption rules.

Then, a few days before the historic major, the R&A informed Norman he was not welcome at the Celebration of Champions, insisting the event was to focus on, “celebrating the Championship and its heritage. Unfortunately, we do not believe that would be the case if Greg were to attend.”

Now, in October, that episode is still rankling with the two-time winner of the Claret Jug.

Norman appeared on Piers Morgan Uncensored recently to discuss much about the split in golf, and how the status quo have treated him since LIV started getting momentum and huge media coverage, and he still regards the actions of the R&A as a “petty, cheap, childish shot.”

Norman believes he has the good of golf at heart, and his record proves it:

“I’ll be honest with you, at times, my heat shield gets a little bit weak because I am a human being. I’ve done a lot for the game of golf. I was number one player in the world for six years. I’ve done things in the game of golf, I promoted the game of golf, I’ve grown the game of golf globally.”

He continued, “I took a mission on myself as an individual player to fly all around the world. I was the first guy to do an exhibition match in mainland China. I was one of the first guys to go into the Middle East and, through my golf and business at the same time, I continue to do that. So, when they do these… What happened in the R&A was a petty, cheap, childish shot, to be honest with you. If you can’t rise above it all then shame on you.”

That was one of the many topics openly discussed, and as the title of the programme suggests, there were no holds barred.

About the PGA Tour’s attitude to LIV, Norman insisted there was much duplicity surrounding the opposition:

Norman expanded, “For you not to sit down and have a discussion and to understand what the LIV business model is and to see how it sits within the ecosystem, shame on you. In business, remember we’re a commercial entity, in business, you understand what your opponent’s got, you understand what your competitor’s got, unpack it all to see if you can actually work together within the system to make both entities better for each other, not try and destroy us. We haven’t tried to destroy the PGA Tour.”

Norman insists that he has lost friends over his involvement with the Saudi backed tour – “If they want to judge me on lack of information, they’re the ones with the small mind,” and asks one of LIV’s most fervent opponents, Rory McIlroy not to “begrudge other players.”

The full interview can be viewed on PMU’s YouTube channel,.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Jbone

    Oct 4, 2022 at 1:35 pm

    It was a cheap shot as Norman is a past champion.
    The R&A and European Tour has been known to cause self inflicted wounds. They should be smarter than to pick sides.

  2. Bob

    Oct 4, 2022 at 1:17 am

    Yea, that will make the R&A come around. Well done, Greg. You just gave the R&A one less thing to think about.

  3. Joe

    Oct 3, 2022 at 6:40 pm

    Greg Norman is the last person that should calling anyone else petty, cheap and childish. Pot meet kettle.

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19th Hole

‘What’s going on?’ – Justin Thomas left frustrated with two officials over ruling at Hero

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During Thursday’s first round of the Hero World Challenge, Justin Thomas called for a rules official and subsequently, a second opinion, on the par-5 9th at Albany Golf Club.

The players were playing lift-clean-and-place, and Thomas’ ball came to rest about 5o yards short of the green in an area where it was difficult to identify if the ball was sitting in the fairway or the rough. The ball had gathered some mud, so if the rules official had decided that his ball was in fact in the rough, he would have to hit a pretty difficult shot given the condition on his golf ball.

“Basically, what’s going on?” Thomas asked the official.

The official told Thomas that the change of color in the grass was indicative of the change of fairway to rough, and therefore he would have to hit his ball as it lied. Thomas argued that the grass was cut to the same length in both spots, therefore the color didn’t matter.

“But you see, what I’m saying, this is also beat down from the carts, but look at how much longer this is than this,” he said before walking over to the thicker grass. “Like see, this is the same height [where his ball was and the apparent fairway.] I totally see it’s down grain and it’s a totally different color, but … the change of the length of grass is just what kind of confused me.”

After relief was denied by the official, “JT” called for a second opinion. While waiting for another official to show up, Thomas was heard saying to his caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay, ““It’s the same exact length, this is not rough.”

When the second rules official came over, he said: “I can see the cutline right here,” and pointed to the different shades of grass that the other official mentioned.

Thomas accepted the decision.

Interestingly, announcer Paul Azinger shared his opinion that the second rules official almost never will disagree with the first rules official’s ruling.

“That second opinion almost never works,” Azinger said to Dan Hicks during the broadcast.

“Really?” Hicks asked.

“Never,” Azinger said. “Very rarely will an official go against another official.”

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19th Hole

Data shows how much more difficult greens become as the day progresses

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For many a golf bettor, betting on the first round leader of any tournament revolves around the early starters.

Even a cursory look at this week’s Australian Open shows the morning wave averaging 1.73 shots better than the afternoon players, resulting in 18 early starters finishing in the top-10 by the end of the day, including current leader David Micheluzzi.

However, over on the South African Open, the roles are reversed, with current leader Thirston Lawrence taking up one of 15 places on the front page of leaderboard for the late starters, who shot around half-a-shot less than the morning groups.

Naturally, there are many factors – wind, temperature, dew, grass-types and, potentially, overall quality of the groupings, but these are variables that can change from day to day.

Step in Lou Stagner, data lead of Arccos Golf and all-round numbers guru.

Stagner does not deal in emotion or factors that cannot be measured. It’s facts, figures and that’s your lot!

He will tell you that from the fairway, 80-yards from the pin, professionals simply don’t get as close as many believe:

On Wednesday, the man who once built a Lego model of Augusta #12, tweeted a table showing the variance in putts made by PGA Tour members under morning and afternoon conditions.

Taking stats over 17 years, the table shows an advantage to the early starters, not by much, but enough to consider.

There are plenty of places to take the stats, with a few respondents asking for a table on grass types through the day – Bent v Bermuda v POA – and that will probably turn up on Stanger’s twitter feed soon.

Of course, on a Sunday, later starters have the pressure of trying to win a tournament, which is why we tend to see flashy rounds from those a few off the pace on Payday, but it is enough to consider when trying to get that illusive three-figure first (or second) round leader.

Either way, two-time major champion, and regular tweeter Justin Thomas, decided this was his chance to get in an early excuse when he’s off late in the day.

Make of what you will. Perhaps the stats will one day include how many of these are for par saves against birdie putts, or is that too much?

Either way, Stagner continues to bombard us with stats that delight and entertain, and that can be no bad thing. Unless you are a buddy of Lou’s…

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19th Hole

Cam Smith fumes at ‘pretty s****y’ opening round at Australian Open

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After an incredible week at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, Cameron Smith is off to a rough start at the Australian Open. The Champion Golfer of the Year struggled to hit fairways all day long and finished his round at +1 which is eight shots back of first-round leader David Micheluzzi (-7).

Smith, who received a massive ovation from the crowd, was extremely displeased, calling his play “pretty shitty” as he went from his post-round press conference to the practice range. The 29-year-old also said it was “as bad as I’ve played in a long time”.

“I don’t think it was a mixed bag, I think it was all rubbish to be honest,”

“Maybe some delayed tiredness, maybe. I did feel a little bit foggy out there at times, but it’s not really an excuse, it’s my job to do all that stuff.”

Despite the uninspiring round, the world number three still feels as if he can get back into the event and contend.

“It’s not like I don’t know how to play golf, it was just a bit of a bad day.”

“I’ve just got a few things to clean up, I think. Like I said last week [at the Australian PGA Championship], I felt as though the golf got better every day.”

The Aussie is incredible at recovery shots and finding his way out of trouble. But if he wants to be the first player to win the Australian PGA and Australian Open in the same season since 2011, he needs to start putting the ball in the fairway.

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