Norman's WD extends Open spot to fellow Aussie

Australians Greg Norman, Jason Day

Greg Norman, a two-time British Open champion, has withdrawn from the 150th anniversary Open Championship at St. Andrews, two years after nearly winning it at age 53.

His departure makes way for fellow Australian Jason Day, who becomes the fifth alternate to get into the British Open. Day, ranked No. 72 in the world, became the youngest Australian to win a PGA Tour event when he claimed the HP Byron Nelson Championship in May at age 22.

Norman hasn’t played competitively since undergoing shoulder surgery in September.

“I’m disappointed that I will not be able to participate in this year’s Open Championship, but unfortunately it is taking me longer than expected to regain my competitive form,’’ said Norman, who lifted the Claret Jug at Turnberry in 1986 and at Royal St. George’s in 1993. He tied for third at Royal Birkdale in 2008.

Also, Norman, along with Seve Ballesteros, won’t play the four-hole Champions Challenge on Wednesday. The charity event now features 26 past winners playing in seven teams. Jack Nicklaus, Nick Price and 89-year-old Australian Kel Nagle also are not competing.

Day conceded last week that he didn’t bring his passport with him.

“I had no idea I was first alternate,” he said. “I’ve got to get one of my friends back home to break in my house somehow to get my passport.”

Day shot 12-under 272 to tie for 15th in the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. Runner-up Paul Goydos, who shot 59 on Thursday, earned an exception to the Open.

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