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Norman will skip 2001 World Matchplay

Greg Norman has confirmed he will skip next year's matchplay championship in Melbourne.

Norman is already scheduled to make his usual two trips to Australia next summer and doesn't want to add a third.

"I won't be making the trip," he said on the eve of the Doral Open.

"To come home (to Florida) for Christmas, then turn around and go all the way back two days later, I don't think I am going to yo-yo across the Pacific that much."

Of course, Norman is no certainty to qualify for the event, restricted to the world's 64 top-ranked players.

Norman currently is ranked 54th and sliding. Nevertheless, if Norman is eligible, his absence will be a big setback for the World Championships event, which starts on January 3 at Metropolitan.

Many leading Europeans, including Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal and Lee Westwood, have already announced their intention of skipping the event.

Norman's complaint is similar to one echoed by the Europeans: if they go to Australia for the first week of January, they will then have to fill in a couple more weeks before the Heineken Classic, an event co-sanctioned by the European Tour.

"If I go down for the start of the year I'm going to be in Australia for five or six weeks," Norman said.

"I'm a believer in never being away from the family for more than two weeks, three maximum, so it is a very awkward period of time."


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