Saudi-backed LIV Golf's feud with the PGA Tour swiped the spotlight as practice began Monday for the 87th Masters with infamous Augusta National failure Greg Norman igniting the competitive fires.
Norman, LIV Golf's chief executive officer, said he had "goosebumps" thinking one of 18 LIV players who qualified for the Masters would win the green jacket and be greeted by 17 colleagues at Sunday's final hole.
"If one of our guys wins, no matter who it is, they are all going to be there on the 18th green and that just gives me goosebumps to think about," Norman told NewsCorp. in a weekend interview.
"To have those 17 other guys there, that's the spirit we want. That's what these guys talk about. They're saying no matter who wins, no matter who is in that position, we're going to be there."
Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka, who won Sunday's LIV Golf title in Orlando, agreed the rebels would show a united front on the same 18th green where Tiger Woods hugged his parents and later his children after epic Masters triumphs.
"If one of the LIV players does win, it'll be definitely a huge statement for LIV," Koepka said. "If one of the guys does, I would be shocked if all of us aren't there."
What has Norman tingly is the idea that those who dropped the PGA for upstart LIV's $25 million purses and 54-hole events might have the last laugh in their first showdown at historic Augusta National.
LIV's Masters contingent includes green jacket winners Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson and Charl Schwartzel plus reigning British Open champion Cam Smith of Australia and major winners Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Louis Oosthuizen.
PGA players include top-ranked defending champion Scottie Scheffler, world number two Rory McIlroy, third-ranked Jon Rahm, 15-time major winner Woods and a host of high-ranked talent.
Norman's history of seeing dreams turn to disappointment is the stuff of Augusta National legends.
Norman lost to Jack Nicklaus in 1986 with a 72nd-hole bogey, to Larry Mize's astonishing chip-in in 1987 and squandered a six-stroke Sunday lead in 1996 to lose by five to England's Nick Faldo.
When LIV began last June it lured some of the PGA's big names despite concerns over Saudi human rights issues. Mickelson, a six-time major winner and three-time Masters champion, called Saudi organizers "scary" even as he spearheaded LIV's launch.
The PGA, which has created more big-money and limited-field events to fight off the challenge, banned LIV players from its events and their court fight is set to begin early next year.
Because golf's four majors allow LIV players who qualify to compete, this is the first battle for bragging rights of the year.
Woods, fighting back after severe leg injuries in a 2021 car crash, and McIlroy, who can complete a career Grand Slam with a Masters victory, have championed the PGA cause, citing its roots with such icons as Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
Golf history is revered at Augusta National and emotions are expected to stay politely on simmer.
But it's clear the heat is on.
"I think it's going to be more fun knowing that they hate us, then go to the majors and beat them," said ex-PGA LIV player Joaquin Niemann of Chile.
Norman is stoking the blaze.
"They are actually now the true Super Bowl," Norman said.
"If I'm the Masters right now, I would want, on Sunday, DJ or Brooks or Cam, any of the guys against Rory and Jon Rahm. Can you imagine what the TV ratings would be like? It's what people want."
Trying to turn the Masters into an us-versus-them sideshow could backfire.
Koepka, for one, will be happy to see golf's elite stars together again, even if the fracture isn't healed.
"You always want to play against the best. That's going to make Augusta even more special," he said.