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Elkington commits to Norman event

Greg Norman has persuaded close friend and compatriot Steve Elkington to make a rare tournament appearance in his Australian homeland next month.

The Houston-based former USPGA champion has agreed to play in the Greg Norman International, which is co-sanctioned by the European Tour, at The Lakes course, Sydney, from February 8-11.

Elkington has made few appearances in his native land since falling out with the organisers of the Australian Open in 1995.

"Just after his USPGA win, the Australian Open publicity didn't include him and he was particularly unimpressed by that," Australasian Tour spokesman
Julian Buckmaster said.

"His very close relationship with Norman has had a lot to do with his commitment to appear. It's a huge result for the tournament to attract someone like Elkington. We weren't that confident of getting him. There was a bit of an impasse."

Steve Elkington in action. Allsport.

Elkington's last appearance in Australia was at the Greg Norman event in 1998.

"It's been a long time since Australians have been able to see Steve on home ground, and where better to do that than at Sydney's next biggest sporting event after the Olympics," said tournament director Monique Thompson.

Buckmaster said that title holder Michael Campbell, top Spaniard Sergio Garcia, double Australian Open champion Aaron Baddeley and Sweden's Pierre Fulke, runner-up in the Accenture World Matchplay Championship, were all confirmed starters.

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