[PHOTO: Getty Images]

Greg Norman was spotted walking the fairways of Augusta National on Wednesday, his first time at the Masters in three years.

Australian Golf Digest saw the commissioner of LIV Golf – who finished second at the Masters in 1986, 1987 and 1996 and was arguably the greatest player to never win a green jacket – walking outside the ropes on the first hole, during Wednesday’s practice rounds.

Norman turned heads as golf fans recognised the Australian former world No.1. Norman, 69, was wearing his trademark white straw hat and a white long-sleeve LIV Golf shirt, and even greeted fellow Australian Min Woo Lee.

Norman was flanked by LIV officials and a security guard as he made his way up the first hole. It was not clear whether Norman was a guest of Augusta National, or a corporate sponsor or whether he was attending as a patron.

The Washington Post reported Norman was a ticketed patron. “Walking around here today, there’s not one person who said to me, ‘Why did you do LIV?'” he told Washington Post in a brief interview. “There’s been hundreds of people, even security guys, stopping me, saying, ‘Hey, what you’re doing is fantastic.’ To me that tells you that we have and the platform fits within the ecosystem and it’s good for the game of golf.”

In 2023, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley confirmed Norman was not formally invited to the Masters while in 2022 Norman was denied an invitation to the past champion celebrations at St Andrews despite winning the UK major twice.

Washington Post also reported that Norman “didn’t bother waiting for an invitation and came to the course with a pair of LIV executives through the main gate”.

Norman watched LIV players such as Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm and Patrick Reed play practice rounds.

There are 13 LIV Golfers in the field this week, including Australia’s Cam Smith, the 2022 Open champion at St Andrews.

“I’m here because we have 13 players but won 10 Masters between them,” Norman said. “So I’m just here to support them, do the best I can to show them, ‘Hey, the boss is here rooting for you.'”

Greg Norman among the patrons during the Wednesday practice round at the Masters. [Photo: David Cannon]

When asked about the ongoing negotiations between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf’s financial backers, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, “LIV is completely autonomous with you. I’m not even privy to any of the conversations, which I’m happy about because we’re focused on delivering what we’re promised the world we would deliver.”

Last year, Ridley was asked whether Norman was invited to attend the 87th Masters. He confirmed Norman was not formally invited, and said the decision was made to ensure that attention focused on the tournament and players rather than the divide between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour.

“We did not extend an invitation to Mr Norman,” Ridley said during a news conference in 2023. “The primary issue and the driver there is that I want the focus this week to be on the Masters competition.”

In 2022, Norman was not invited to the Open Championship’s four-hole celebration for past champions on the Monday night at St Andrews. At the time, Norman called the decision “petty”, despite the governing body explaining it was to ensure the focus would be on the 150th edition of its championship.

It is believed the last time Norman was at the Masters was in 2021, when he was on SiriusXM radio during the final round at Augusta National Golf Club. That was more than a year before LIV Golf launched in June 2022 and controversially disrupted the ecosystem of professional golf. Norman also visited Augusta National in order to film an ESPN “30 for 30” episode that was released in April 2022.