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There’s no Greg Norman at this week’s Masters Tournament – and speaking to the media this morning, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley explained why.

Norman, three times a runner-up in the opening men’s major of the year, revealed last weekend that he hadn’t been invited to the 87th edition of the tournament, a decision the LIV Golf CEO and commissioner described as “petty”.

“As a major winner I always was before, but they only sent me a grounds pass last year and nothing, zilch, this time around,” said the Australian. “I’m disappointed because it’s so petty but of course I’ll still be watching.”

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Holding court on the eve of the tournament, Ridley detailed how the club arrived at the decision to keep Norman out.

“The primary issue and the driver there is that I want the focus this week to be on the Masters competition, on the great players that are participating, the greatest players in the world,” said Ridley. “By our decision in December [to allow LIV golfers to play], we ensured that we were going to honour and be consistent with our invitation criteria.

“I would also add that, in the last ten years, Greg Norman has only been here twice, and I believe one of those was as a commentator for Sirius Radio.

“It really was to keep the focus on the competition.”

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Asked for a response to Norman’s suggestion that he will never be invited back to The Masters, Ridley added: “It’s hard to answer that question because I don’t know where the world is going to be next year or two years from now.

“The tone has been really good here this week. I’ve noticed the players are interacting. Last night at the Champions Dinner, I would not have known that anything was going on in the world of professional golf other than the norm. So I think, and I’m hopeful, that this week might get people thinking in a little bit different direction and things will change.

“So I would say never say never.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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