Augusta chairman Fred Ridley breaks his silence on LIV chief Greg Norman’s Masters snub as he reveals organizers needed to ‘hold deal with the gamers’ – amid row with Saudi breakaway tour
Augusta Nationwide chairman Fred Ridley has revealed that Greg Norman was not invited to The Masters in a bid to ‘hold deal with the gamers’ amid the game’s ongoing ugly battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.
Norman has change into the enemy of golf’s traditionalists in current months after he grew to become the face of the Saudi-backed breakaway tour final yr.
And regardless of the gamers who defected having the ability to play at Augusta for The Masters this yr, LIV’s head honcho didn’t get an invitation, one thing which has created headlines around the globe.
Talking for the primary time on the choice, Ridley stated at a press convention on Wednesday: ‘We didn’t lengthen an invite to Mr Norman.
‘The first situation and the motive force there may be that I need the main target this week to be on The Masters competitors, on the nice gamers which are collaborating… the best gamers on this planet.
Fred Ridley defined Augusta’s choice to maintain Greg Norman away from The Masters in 2023
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman is not going to be at The Masters this yr after getting snubbed
‘By our choice in December we ensured we’re going to honor and be in line with our invitation standards.
‘I’d additionally add that within the final 10 years Greg Norman has solely been right here twice, and a type of was as a commentator for Sirius radio. Nevertheless it actually was to maintain the deal with the competitors.’
Norman first revealed his Masters snub final week, forward of the primary version of the well-known match since his breakaway circuit crashed onto the scene final June.
The controversial Australian has by no means received the most important however completed second 3 times, together with a brutal play-off loss to Larry Mize in 1987 and the notorious collapse in 1996 when he conceded a six-shot result in Nick Faldo.
However his two main wins – the 1986 and 1993 Open Championships – had recurrently secured him a ticket to the occasion earlier than, till now.
‘Funnily sufficient, I have not been invited,’ Norman advised Telegraph Sport. ‘As a serious winner I all the time was earlier than, however they solely despatched me a grounds cross final yr and nothing, zilch, this time round. I am disenchanted as a result of it is so petty however in fact I am going to nonetheless be watching.’
Norman insisted the considered Dustin Johnson dueling with McIlroy down the stretch on Masters Sunday can be a spectacular showdown that will be enormous for the sport and claimed that the golfing world has LIV to thank for it.
Ridley (proper) speaks to Tiger Woods at Augusta forward of the beginning of this week’s match
Norman stated Dustin Johnson (L) dueling with Rory McIlroy on Sunday can be good for golf
And, if Johnson, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka or another of LIV’s gamers do clinch the win, the drinks might be on Norman.
‘You may say I got here inside touching distance on just a few events and I suppose it stands out as the massive absence on my CV,’ Norman stated.
‘That is a part of why it could imply a lot to see certainly one of our LIV household within the Butler Cabin. I’d be the happiest man on this planet, the primary to ring and congratulate and pay for what can be an unbelievable celebration.
‘Nevertheless it’s not about me it is concerning the gamers and I am telling you they don’t seem to be going there as people, however as a group, backing one another, supporting and rooting for one another. I believe that offers these nice gamers a good larger likelihood subsequent Sunday.’