Greg Norman’s return, world reacts to golf legend’s explosive announcement, Saudi Golf League, video
Fans are in shock after Greg Norman announced he was returning to professional golf.
The Aussie legend revealed his intentions in an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraphsending shockwaves around the world as social media collapsed.
You can read Norman’s full interview on The Daily Telegraph
The 67-year-old hasn’t played professionally in 12 years, but the two-time British Open champion says News Corp Australia he’s serious about making a comeback in time for the July tournament in one final farewell appearance.
He says he is particularly drawn to the event, which is celebrating its 150th Open at the iconic St Andrews course.
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Australian golf commentator Luke Elvy was blown away when the news was revealed by News Corp Australia Saturday morning.
“This will up the news cycle,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Most will use it to pocket Greg given the LIV Golf adventure, but he earned his place on the course after winning two Claret Jugs. Who wouldn’t want to play the 150th Open in the birthplace of golf.
However, his dream of making a comeback in less than three months remains murky due to British Open regulations.
The former world No. 1 has put the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which oversees the event, in a delicate position.
Norman no longer qualifies for immediate entry into the event as a former champion, as guaranteed entry is cut off for former champions at age 60.
He will have to earn his way through qualifying or hope for a wildcard entry.
The event has already bent the rules for former champions, with Tom Watson added to the field at the age of 65.
A wild card would be an extraordinary development following Norman’s mission to establish a rebel golf league.
The Australian golfing legend is spearheading the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series that threatens to upend the sport.
The tour announced last year that the PIF – Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund – had committed over A$260 million for Norman to play with.
However, reports from February claimed that the Super Golf League – and the company LIV Golf Investments that runs it – has a war chest of nearly $2.9 billion to steal from the world’s best players and establish its own tour as a legitimate golf body.
That’s why the immediate reaction from the golf world was skeptical about his chances of playing the Open.
Australian golf journalist Ben Everill speculated that Norman could take a step forward by going public with his plans. He responded to a tweet, writing, “Greg may be looking to have a public forum to debate.”
Golf Digest reporter Evin Priest wrote on Twitter: “Greg Norman has revealed to Julian Linden that he wants to dust off the Cobras and play the St Andrews Open. It would be an amazing story, but there is a MASSIVE obstacle.”
Sport Illustrated golf journalist Bob Harig wrote on Twitter: “Love to see how someone thinks they’ll get to the course.”
PGA Tour reporter James Corrigan wrote: “Uh, unless Greg qualifies, then no. Former champions are invited up to 60 years old. Greg is 67 years old.
Canadian golf journalist Rick Young wrote on Twitter that he thought the Open might have a hard time saying no to Norman.
Norman’s rebel league has been a disaster so far, with the best players in the world snubbing his rich offers.
Rory McIlroy said the new tour was “dead in the water”.
The first event in the series begins in London from June 9.
Norman’s rebel eight-tournament series boasts a prize pool of around $350 million – and that’s what matters, Norman says.
The world’s best golfers have snubbed Norman, but the former world No. 1 is confident they will change their minds when they see the prize money handed out.
“Very honestly, it doesn’t matter who is playing, we’re going to put on the event,” Norman told the British Telegraph.
“There is a first prize ($5.8 million). I hope a child who is 350th in the world will win. It will change his life, the life of his family.
“And then a couple of our events will happen and the top players will see somebody win ($8.06 million), ($10.76 million) and say ‘enough, I know I can beat those guy week after week with my hands tied behind my back”.
He says discussions with other top golfers are ongoing.
Norman conceded the tour could start with a “modest” number of players, but would increase when others see the concept.
“None of us should put up with this blatant act of intimidation by the PGA Tour,” Norman wrote, according to golfchannel.com.
“We encourage you to ask the PGA Tour to provide you with these threats in writing and the written opinions of its outside attorneys that these bans are legal and enforceable.
“It wouldn’t surprise us if the Tour didn’t want to do it.”
He said the SGL hopes to co-exist with the PGA Tour.
Greg Norman’s full explanation of why he returned can be found on The Daily Telegraph