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Greg Norman not invited to Masters

Former world number one Greg Norman has not been invited to the 2003 Masters, the opening major of the year, a report on his website said on Wednesday.

It said Norman received a letter from Augusta National Golf Club chairman Hootie Johnson saying the special exemption he received to compete in 2002 would not be extended this year.

Norman was runner-up at Augusta in 1986, 1987 and 1996 -- where he lost a six-stroke lead to Nick Faldo on the final day -- has finished in the top-10 nine times and had played in 22 successive Masters tournaments.

"Hootie wrote explaining the decision and I think it is the right decision and I stand by it. I support him 100 per cent and respect him for that," Norman said in the report sourced to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

"I miss the place, no question. I'll miss being there because I've played there for so long. I have a lot of good memories of it."

Johnson had invited Norman to be a guest of the club during the tournament but the Australian, known as the Great White Shark, said: "There's no point in me going up there."

Norman said he still hoped to enter the tournament by either improving his world ranking from 121 to the top 50 or being in the top 10 on the U.S. PGA money list by the end of March.

He is preparing for this week's Heineken Classic at Royal Melbourne in Australia and has four U.S. PGA tour events to play before the March deadline.

The Masters runs from April 10 to 13. World number one Tiger Woods is the defending champion.

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