‘The boss is here’: Greg Norman roars back at Augusta

Darren Walton |

Greg Norman, here at the 2009 Masters, is back at the 2024 event after being snubbed last year.
Greg Norman, here at the 2009 Masters, is back at the 2024 event after being snubbed last year.

A year after being persona non grata at Augusta National, Australian golf legend Greg Norman is back at the Masters, declaring “the boss is here” to cheer on his LIV stars.

Norman was stalking the fairways and wishing countryman Min Woo Lee good luck during Wednesday’s traditional eve-of-tournament revelry. 

Twice a Masters runner-up and arguably the greatest player to never win a famous green jacket, Norman was not welcome at Augusta National last year because of his role as CEO of LIV Golf.

But the 69-year-old was adamant that he was pretty popular this year.

“Walking around here today, there’s not one person who said to me, ‘Why did you do LIV?'” Norman, wearing a LIV Golf branded shirt and signature Akubra hat, said in a brief interview with the Washington Post on the course. 

“There’s been hundreds of people, even security guys, stopping me, saying, ‘Hey, what you’re doing is fantastic.’ 

“To me, that tells you that what we have and the platform fits within the ecosystem, and it’s good for the game of golf.”

Eighteen LIV golfers are in this year’s 89-man field, including seven former Masters champions.

But only Adrian Meronk and Englishman Tyrrell Hatton qualified through the Official World Rankings, which LIV players don’t receive on the Saudi-backed tour.

Despite not meeting normal entry criteria, Chile’s Joaquin Niemann was invited by Augusta National because of his victory at last year’s Australian Open in Sydney.

“I think there’s probably a couple (of LIV players) that have been overlooked that should be in,” said Norman, who is reportedly attending the Masters as a ticketed patron.

“What is that number? I’m not going to give it a definitive number, but they’re definitely quality players that have done incredible performances over the last six to nine months that are worthy of it.

“I’m here because we have 13 players that won 10 Masters between them, so I’m here just to support them, do the best I can to show them, ‘Hey, you know, the boss is here rooting for you’.”

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley last year said “never say never” when asked if the former world No.1 would ever be welcome back to the season’s first major championship.

Norman's back
LIV boss Norman reckoned the patrons at Augusta were pretty pleased to see him again. (AP PHOTO)

“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,” Ridley said.

“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.

“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 10 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.”

Also not invited to the landmark 150th British Open at St Andrews in 2022 despite being a two-time winner of the Claret Jug, Norman described last year’s snubbing 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.”

AAP