Norman Earns Invite to 02 Masters


The Augusta National Golf Club extended an invitation to Greg Norman to compete in the 2002 Masters on Tuesday.
Norman was not eligible to play in the season's first major championship of 2002 because he slipped to 113th in the World Golf Rankings and did not factor into the top 40 on the PGA Tour money list, new qualification rules adopted by the committee in 1999. It was the first time in 10 years that Norman needed a special invitation, which is normally reserved for international players.
'Greg has provided our patrons with much excitement by his inspired and superior play during his 21 years at Augusta National,' said club chairman Hootie Johnson said.
Norman has been a runner-up three times at the Masters and none was more famous than his collapse in 1996. He held a seemingly commanding six-shot advantage over Nick Faldo but carded a 78 in the final round to finish second.
The Australian sailed his approach into the gallery in 1986, finishing tied for second behind Jack Nicklaus. A year later, Larry Mize chipped in from 140 feet to best the Shark on the second hole of a playoff.
The 46-year-old also was tied for the lead with five holes to play in 1999 but came in third behind eventual champion Jos Maria Olazabal.
Norman struggled in his 2001 PGA Tour campaign, taking a fourth at the Bay Hill Invitational but never finishing higher than 27th the rest of the way. He missed the cut at the Masters with a second-round 82 and did not qualify for the U.S. Open. He withdrew from the British Open, the only major tournament that Norman captured in his career, but made the cut at the PGA Championship.
The Shark played in only 11 events in 2001, losing his PGA Tour membership. Norman, who has spent an increasing amount of time on business ventures outside of golf, is limited to only 12 events on tour next year, one of which will be the Masters.
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