Cam Smith said he might show up to The Players Championship as a fan having been banned from defending his title due his move to LIV Golf. Smith's two biggest tournament wins of his career came at The Players Championship and The Open in 2022.
The Australian, formerly ranked World No.1, will be able to defend the major but won't take part in The Players Championship as a PGA Tour event at Ponte Vedra Beach. This is because the 31 LIV golfers who played at TPC Sawgrass last year have been currently banned from PGA Tour events.
This is a shame for Smith as the tournament is hosted only a few minutes drive from the major-winner's home in Florida. Smith lost his privileges at TPC Sawgrass when he joined LIV Golf.
However, Smith will be around the corner when the event starts. And the Australian hasn't ruled out a visit as a crowd member to watch his fellow rivals compete.
"I am a little it unsure. That is where I live now. I don't know, I will definitely be watching it on TV. I think it is a great event," he said.
"I grew up my whole childhood watching the event. I would love to get out there. I don't know how it would be received, me getting out there and watching, walking around in the crowd. Might be pretty funny, I would love to do that."
2022 Players championship winner Cam Smith *might* show up in the crowd this week… 👀 pic.twitter.com/GMSOsxDs0B
— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) March 6, 2023
Smith later joked that he didn't think he would take part in the heckling. Fans couldn't get enough of the chance of a former winning showing up, despite a historic ban.
Many fans also pointed to the unfortunate event that Smith couldn't defend his title, amid the ongoing war between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.
Cam Smith says he might go to The Players and watch some of the action. You’ve got to love this guy, he literally gives no shits. He should try and get into the players meeting! 🤣
— Flushing It (@flushingitgolf) March 6, 2023
Was thinking this morning about about Cam Smith and how it has to have been a long time since a defending champion who wasn't injured missed a major or Players but oh yeah it happened 10 months ago. What a weird time for golf.
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) March 6, 2023
Cam Smith potentially showing up to TPC Sawgrass would be levels of zero shits given that has never been seen before
— Sam Wagman (@swagman95) March 6, 2023
The PGAT’s decision to cast aside LIV golfers was a mistake imho. It’s hurt their product more than the other way around.
The PLAYERS can no longer boast “strongest field in golf”or “unofficial 5th major”, especially when it’s defending champ, a current major champ, is not there. pic.twitter.com/u0GwBNsOws
— Luke Elvy (@Luke_Elvy) March 6, 2023
Tiger Woods to miss The Players Championship
Another major absentee from one of the year's biggest tournaments is 15-time major winner Tiger Woods. The 47-year-old hadn't played since The Open last year. His return also marked the first time Woods had played 72 holes since The Masters in April.
The return garnered plenty of attention heading into the four majors in 2023. Woods remained coy on his schedule, other than confirming his plan was to play the majors and maybe one or two other events.
And the American didn't enter the main draw at Ponte Vedra Beach. Woods will most likely play The Masters as his next event, which will be a tactical ploy to rest his injured body to handle the rigours of major tournaments.
Up to 43 of the World Top 50 golfers have entered The Players Championship.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.