July 23, 2024

On Wednesday at the Masters, there was a sighting of Greg Norman.

That would not have been news when Norman stalked his golfing prey like the predator from which he got his nickname, the Great White Shark, during his competitive prime. But it certainly is in 2024. The reason for this is that Norman has been at the center of a contentious revolution that has completely changed professional golf and left influential players unsure of how to align themselves with or against LIV Golf, the Saudi-financed league that Norman currently assists in running.

When Augusta National refused to send Norman an invitation to the tournament in the lead-up to last year’s Masters, club chairman Fred Ridley stated, “I want the focus this week to be on the Masters competition, on the great players that are participating,” making clear Augusta National’s LIV hesitancy.

It appears that the club did not change its Norman stance before this year’s Masters, but Norman managed to get past the guards nonetheless. The Washington Post reports that Norman purchased his own tickets and went to the Wednesday practice round along with two other LIV executives.

Norman stated, “I’m here because we have 13 players that won 10 Masters between them,” in an interview with the Post. I’m here to help them, and I’ll do everything in my power to let them know that their boss is behind them.

Although GOLF.com was unable to find Norman on Wednesday afternoon, a few customers near the clubhouse claimed to have seen him walking the course while wearing “a white cowboy hat.”

As it happened, it was a straw hat, the same kind that Norman has worn all his professional life. The main thing to remember, though, was that Norman looked great against Augusta’s emerald fairways. He was wearing black pants, a white long sleeve shirt with the LIV logo on the chest, and a hat bearing his Shark stamp. Norman may not have followed any particular players, but Getty Images released a picture of him shaking hands with Australian 25-year-old Min Woo Lee, who is competing in his first Masters this week (despite having a broken finger, no less).

Norman participated in 23 Masters tournaments, placing runner-up three times, and becoming most well-known in 1996 after tragically losing a Sunday lead to Nick Faldo. Norman hadn’t been to a Masters until this past week, when he assisted in calling the competition for SiriusXM radio in 2021.

The tension between the LIV and PGA Tours has significantly decreased since the 2023 Masters. Both tours are currently attempting to reach an agreement that will address some of their issues and, hopefully, open up opportunities for the best players in the world to compete against one another more frequently than just four times a year. The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, LIV’s financial backers, has been negotiating on its behalf. Norman was evasive when questioned by the Post regarding the state of the peace negotiations.

To be honest with you, LIV is totally independent of that, he stated. “I’m glad that I’m not even privy to any of the conversations because we’re focused on delivering the world that we were promised.”

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