ST. ANDREWS, Scotland. On Wednesday, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers defended the organization’s decision to recall Greg Norman from the 150th anniversary festivities.th Opened in St. Andrews.
Opinion was mixed on R&A’s actions that kept Norman, a two-time Open champion who now heads the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit. It was unclear if Norman planned to go to St. Andrews at all, as he was not present here at the Opens in either 2010 or 2015.
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were among those who applauded the R&A decision, with Woods saying that “Greg did some things that I don’t think are in the best interests of our game.” Others, including Australian Adam Scott, called it “shallow”. But Slumbers, at his annual press conference ahead of The Open, said he thought Norman’s presence this week would be “distracting.”
Total playing time, groupings from the 150th Open Championship
“We are determined to make this event go down in history as about 150th Open it, Slumbers said. “Based on the noise I received from several sources, we decided that this would be potentially unlikely. We decided we didn’t want to be distracted. We wanted the conversation to be just about this week, playing golf and balls in the air tomorrow, and champion golf on Sunday.”