Golf: Golf-Royal & Ancient shuns LIV frontmen as Open anniversary party gets started


ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) – The guardians of The Open will settle for LIV Invitational Series rebels teeing it up on the championship this week however the message from the Royal & Ancient (R&A) is obvious to all — don’t mess with our a hundred and fiftieth anniversary celebrations.

It appeared on Monday that golfers received the memo as questions in regards to the big-money Saudi-backed enterprise that has break up the game have been batted apart.

Out on the Old Course the Celebration of Champions, a four-hole mini-tournament that includes previous winners from Tiger Woods to Gary Player, kicked off the week-long party however didn’t embrace LIV’s large identify recruit – six-time main winner and 2013 Open champion Phil Mickelson.

The R&A issued a extra direct warning on Saturday that it was not ready to tolerate party poopers when it successfully blackballed LIV Series frontman Greg Norman, saying it could not prolong an invitation to the 67-year-old twice champion believing his presence could be a distraction.

“We need not discuss LIV,” defending champion Collin Morikawa instructed reporters earlier than heading out onto the Old Course. “You’re not going to study something from me.”

The escalating feud between the PGA and DP Tours and the LIV Series has dominated the golf dialog this 12 months however was largely forgotten as the primary of a parade of golfers made their method via the interview room.

Jack Nicklaus, who mentioned he turned down a proposal price greater than $100 million to be the face the LIV challenge, refused to take the bait when requested in regards to the Norman snub, saying solely that ‘The Shark’ will at all times be a {golfing} icon and a good friend.

“I actually do not know something about what they (R&A) did,” mentioned 82-year-old Nicklaus. “Let me simply sum this up with a few phrases.

“First of all, Greg Norman is an icon within the recreation of golf. He’s a terrific participant. We’ve been associates for a very long time, and no matter what occurs, he’ll stay a good friend.

“Unfortunately, he and I simply do not see eye-to-eye in what is going on on. I’ll mainly go away it at that.”

While Norman didn’t even get an invitation to the Champions Dinner, Nicklaus will likely be feted and honoured, with the 18-times main winner becoming a member of Benjamin Franklin and Bobby Jones as honorary residents of St Andrews.

For Nicklaus, who as soon as appeared on a Bank of Scotland 5 pound be aware, changing into honorary citizen was sufficient to lastly convey him again to St Andrews for the primary time since he final performed the Old Course in 2005.

“I declined to come back again the final couple of occasions to St Andrews as a result of I made my farewell in 2005, and I did not need to come again and dilute that,” mentioned Nicklaus.

“There’s a number of causes to be again, a hundred and fiftieth anniversary and a number of different causes however because of this I’m again due to that.

“I would not be again for another purpose.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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