A collection of golf greats gathered at St. Andrews for the annual champions dinner ahead of the 150th playing of the British Open on Tuesday night.
While there were plenty of big names in attendance — including defending champion Collin Morikawa, three-time winner Tiger Woods and Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus, to name a few — there were some pretty notable exceptions.
Greg Norman not invited to British Open
First, Hall of Famer Greg Norman was not in attendance on Tuesday night — but that shouldn’t be surprising to anybody.
Norman, who won the British Open in 1986 and in 1993, was not invited to the tournament this year by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. The decision came down amid Norman’s involvement with the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
“The 150th Open is an extremely important milestone for golf and we want to ensure that the focus remains on celebrating the Championship and its heritage,” the R&A said in a statement, in part. “Unfortunately, we do not believe that would be the case if Greg were to attend. We hope that when circumstances allow Greg will be able to attend again in the future.”
As he’s the CEO of the controversial Saudi Arabian-backed golf league, Norman being uninvited makes sense. Still, Norman called that decision “petty.”
Phil Mickelson out, Louis Oosthuizen in
While Norman didn’t attend, there was an LIV Golf member who did get to participate in the Champions Dinner.
Louis Oosthuizen is in the field this week at St. Andrews, and joined his fellow British Open winners for the annual dinner. Oosthuizen, who won the British Open in 2010, was one of several notable names to jump over to the LIV Golf series.
The R&A has allowed LIV Golfers to still compete this week, though it’s unclear if it or the other major championships will allow them to do so moving forward. Clearly, at least for now, the R&A’s biggest issue with the league is with Norman.
While Oosthuizen was there, Phil Mickelson opted to skip it.
Mickelson, who won the event in 2013, pulled out of both the four-hole challenge and the champions dinner this week. He is still planning on playing in the tournament, which marks just his second non-LIV Golf event since he made the jump away from the PGA Tour. Mickelson has drawn perhaps the most criticism from his involvement in the new league, and that was about all he was asked about at the US Open last month.
It’s unclear why Mickelson backed out of the dinner, but the decision was reportedly his.
There was one former winner who stood out amongst the crowd, as he usually does. 1995 champion John Daly showed up in a bright red suit that was both impossible to miss and something only he could rock.