Stunning Cam Smith theory emerges in LIV Golf move: 'Bigger play here'

·5-min read
Pictured here, Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman pose for photos together after joining LIV Golf.
Cameron Smith's LIV Golf defection could have a positive flow-on effect for the game in Australia. Pic: Getty

Cameron Smith went from hero to villain in the golfing world this week after being confirmed as the latest high-profile star to defect to LIV Golf.

In a deal worth a reported AUD$145 million, Smith spoke about the less intense schedule and ability to return home more frequently as factors that saw him ultimately ditch the PGA Tour.

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The astronomical signing on fee and massive tournament purses for LIV Golf events undoubtedly helped too.

This weekend's LIV Golf invitational in Boston - in which Smith will make his debut in the rebel series - offers a whopping $US25 million ($A36m) in prizemoney, with $US4 million ($A5.8m) going to the individual winner of the tournament.

While much of the criticism around Smith and fellow Aussie Marc Leishman’s defection has focused on the money, former Aussie PGA Tour pro Paul Gow insists it is about much more than that.

“I think (in terms of the criticism) it’s the play on for him. I think it will be water off a duck’s back,” Gow said on the Big Sports Breakfast on Thursday.

“But I think there’s a bigger play here for Marc Leishman and Cam Smith.”

“Let’s go back to the fact the PGA Tour changed to a wrap-around season which destroyed the Australian tour... we could only have one or two tournaments a year.

“Cam Smith and Marc Leishman, and I don’t know this for a fact — I’m just reading between the lines knowing these young men for a long time, they are very generous people.

“A lot of that money, yeah they’ll take care of their families, but I think they’re going to come back here and they are going to help Australian golf by setting up junior funds, setting up more golf tournaments for pathways, they’re going to do all this sort of stuff to help that out. That’s the type of people the are. It will go to a good cause.”

Gow was referring to the packed PGA Tour schedule which, since 2007, has conflicted with the Australian summer of golf and the difficulties in luring big-name players - including the top Aussies - Down Under.

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has already confirmed that Australia will host an event on the rebel tour in 2023, with a number of others also reportedly in the pipelines.

Pictured right, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman welcomes Cameron Smith after the Aussie became the latest high-profile star to defect to the rebel series.
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman welcomes Cameron Smith after the Aussie became the latest high-profile star to defect to the rebel series. Pic: Getty

Gow said Norman's vision of a revitalised Australian tour and the exposure of having 48 of the world's best players competing Down Under, could be enormous for golf in Australia.

“I’m only worried about the Australian tour, I don’t give a damn about any other tour in the world because they don’t care about us,” Gow said.

“It’s about the growth of our game, it’s about inviting new people into the game that aren’t the best players in the world — men, women and kids — and we haven’t done that well enough over the years because we haven’t had enough money. This is the injection we need.”

Cam Smith has no regrets about LIV Golf move

Smith, who began talking to LIV Golf prior to his triumph at the British Open, has heard the criticism about his decision but has no regrets, even though he will be suspended from the PGA Tour when he tees off at The International in Boston on Friday.

"This is a new kind of chapter in my life. I think this is the future of golf. I love how it is out here," Smith said.

"It's a little bit more laid back on the range, the music playing. I love that stuff. I play with music at home and yeah, I just can't wait to be a part of this."

However, Smith says it is unfair that those players who have joined LIV Golf are not receiving world ranking points and hopes that changes before his exemption into golf's four majors expires.

The World No.2 earned exemption into golf's four majors for at least the next five years with his one-shot win at St Andrews last month.

Organisers of the majors have not changed their qualifying rules but the 29-year-old Queenslander could still one day find himself on the outside looking in as, for now, he can no longer earn world ranking points.

"It's really a shame that we are not getting world ranking points out here," Smith said ahead of his LIV Golf debut this week outside Boston.

"To have 48 of the best guys around the world playing, and not to get world ranking points, is perhaps a little bit unfair.

"It's still super competitive out here. I just really think it's a little bit unfair."

LIV Golf's application to the Official World Golf Ranking board - which consists of representatives from the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, USGA, R&A, PGA of America and Augusta National - is still under review.

with AAP

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