Golf News

Greg Norman in spat with Rolex

Greg Norman says he's never been so insulted in his life after being told to stay away to hear Jose Maria Olazabal announce his two European Team 'wildcard' picks.

Norman was on hand at Gleneagles on Monday to host a Johnnie Walker-sponsored clinic prior to making his way to Switzerland and this week's European Masters.

However with heavy rain keeping everyone inside, Norman found himself in the hotel about the same time Olazabel, his friend and colleague of 30-years, was confirming Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts as his two Medinah picks.

Norman is currently an ambassador for Omega whereas Swiss wrist watch rival, Rolex is one of five main sponsors, including Johnnie Walker, of the European Ryder Cup Team.

It's for this reason the champion Australian, who also spent more than 300 weeks at World No. 1, was told in no uncertain terms his presence was not welcome at the announcement.

And it's the second time in recent weeks Norman says he's been snubbed by Rolex after he was informed he was not welcome to participate in the British Senior Open Pro-Am, and on the Turnberry course where he had stormed to a five shot success in the 1986 Open.

"It's a long story but Rolex just wouldn't allow me to be present in the room," said Norman after posting a first round 74 on day one of the European Masters.

"What was annoying is that Jose Maria and I have been mates for 30 years, and besides he later came up to me to apologise for what happened.

"He just wanted me to know that it wasn't him who didn't want me in the press conference.

"Of course, I was in Scotland for Johnnie Walker and they're one of the Ryder Cup and Tour sponsors, so it's a deep and ugly story."

Norman was reluctant to go any further with the story but did, with some coaxing, reveal how he was told he was not welcome to tee-up on July 25th ahead of the Turnberry event known officially as 'The Senior Open presented by Rolex'.

"It would be too much energy to go into it but Rolex actually had me removed from the Pro-Am, so that's when it all started," he said.

"I'm disgusted by it all and it's never ever happened before in my entire life."

Ironically, when the European Team does arrive in Chicago and Medinah they will find the official watch of the PGA of America is Omega.


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