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Greg Norman | The Open Championship | St Andrews | Exemption denied | former champions

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Greg Norman‘s bid to play in this year’s Open Championship at St Andrews appears to be dead and buried, with the R&A reportedly rejecting his bid for a special exemption.

The 67-year-old wanted to play the 150th edition of the Open, an event he won in both 1986 and 1993, when it returns to the home of golf for the first time in seven years.

However, former champions are only exempt up until their 60th birthday, they’ve won the tournament in the last 10 years.

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Norman wrote to the R&A seeking a special exemption, only to be denied.

“We have replied to him. There is no change to our position,” an R&A spokesperson told Australian Golf Digest, having previously noted Norman did not meet the criteria for automatic entry.

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Norman hasn’t played a major since 2009, the year after he held the 54-hole lead at the Open at Royal Birkdale, only to finish third behind Padraig Harrington after a final round 77.

“I’m disappointed with their decision, particularly given it is the 150th Open,” Norman told Australian Golf Digest. “I have been a staunch proponent of the R&A since 1977 and a proud Champion Golfer of the Year – twice.”

Norman’s bid to play in the Open was likely not helped by his role as The face of the controversial Saudi-backed rebel tourwhich has placed him at odds with golf’s governing bodies.

Norman could still enter qualifying for St Andrews, but the former world No.1 has previously said he has no intention of doing so.

St Andrews has seen a number of notable farewells in recent decades, with Arnold Palmer (1995), Jack Nicklaus (2005) and Tom Watson (2015) all saying goodbye at the iconic course, the trio pausing for a ceremonial goodbye on the centuries- old Swilcan Bridge on the 18th fairway.

This year’s Open is expected to be the highest attended in the history of the championship, with 290,000 fans on hand at St Andrews. The R&A said more than 1.3 million applications were received for tickets.

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