Greg Norman stokes up PGA rivalry with plans to storm Masters green
Greg Norman is getting “goosebumps” over the idea that all 18 LIV golfers playing at The Masters will storm the 18th green to celebrate if one of the breakaway tour’s players wins on Sunday. It was confirmed back in December that Augusta National Golf Club all players who met the criteria to qualify for the 2023 Masters would be eligible to play – including those playing in the LIV Golf Series.
There’s been a fracture in the sport ever since LIV Golf’s creation last year with some of golf’s greatest stars such as Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson being banned from the PGA Tour. It’s meant that golf has been robbed of seeing the very best compete against one another on a weekly basis, but that’s set to change at Augusta this week.
Seeing them battle in the same group will have to wait until the weekend at the very least though following the release of the tee times on Tuesday. Cameron Smith is the only LIV golfer to be grouped with another top-20 player – Sungjae Im – while none of them are in the featured groups.
That may not matter come Sunday when the green jacket is on the line with the expectation that at least one LIV golfer will be in the mix. Smith, Koepka, Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Joaquin Niemann and Patrick Reed are all capable of winning if all comes together for them this week at Augusta.
And there’s set to be wild scenes at the 18th green if one of them does end up pulling on the famous green jacket with Norman admitting talks have taken place among LIV golfers to join together for whichever one of them does potentially win. “There’s talk in our teams all around here, there are 18 or us LIV guys at Augusta and if one of the guys, no matter who it is, they are all going to be there on the 18th green, they are all going to be there, and that just gives me goosebumps to think about,” he said.
“When you walk up 18, your caddy hugs you then you see your wife or your mum and dad. Now to have those 17 other guys there, that’s the spirit we want,’ he said. “That’s what these guys talk about. They are saying no matter who wins, no matter who is in that position, we are going to be there.
“And that just gives me goosebumps to think about.” Norman himself won’t be there to cheer on the 18 LIV golfers playing this week after not being invited.
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His two Open Championship wins back in 1986 and 1993 had always secured him a ticket to The Masters, until now. Norman’s ‘us vs them’ rhetoric when speaking clearly still rubs those competing on the PGA Tour the wrong way and Rory McIlroy believes the LIV boss’ recent comments don’t help the breakaway tour’s cause.
“I think that only puts more pressure on them – that they are not just playing for themselves but they are playing for this cause,” he said. “Look, this tournament is bigger than all of that.
“Look, it’s a narrative and a storyline, but the Masters sits above all that noise, and that’s the way it should be this week.”
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