Greg Norman's LIV Golf bombshell fuels Cameron Smith intrigue

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Pictured right is LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman and on the left is Australia's Open champion Cameron Smith.
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman says they are no longer signing players amid links to Australia's Open champion Cameron Smith. Pic: Getty

The mystery surrounding Cameron Smith's potential defection to LIV Golf has taken a fresh twist, after Greg Norman revealed the Saudi-backed competition is no longer signing players.

Smith's epic triumph at the British Open this week was almost immediately overshadowed by questions that he was set to sign with Norman's controversial breakaway series.

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"I just won the British Open and you’re asking about that? I think that’s, pretty, not that good," Smith responded to one reporter.

When pressed further on his plans going forward, Smith added: “I don’t know, mate. My team around me worries about all that stuff. I’m here to win golf tournaments.”

While Smith made no suggestion he was joining LIV Golf, the fact he didn't flat out deny the speculation did raise some eyebrows.

Some reports suggest Smith will only make his position known about the LIV series after the PGA Tour's season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs, which begin next month.

LIV Golf have been accused of using the series as a form of 'sportswashing' for Saudi Arabia - who have thrown a reported $3 billion into the venture.

While Australia's latest major winner has not yet made his position known, Norman has revealed that the player list for LIV Golf is now closed.

Norman's admission follows hot on the heels of the controversial signing of Swedish star Henrik Stenson, who was promptly stripped of his Ryder Cup captaincy for Europe, having defected to the rebel series.

While Norman provided no further information about Smith or his other compatriots, the Aussie legend revealed that LIV were not signing any more players.

"The rumours are true - we've closed up shop, as far as our players are concerned," he told Australian Golf Digest.

"We're in the process of kicking the league off next year and we're a full year ahead of schedule."

Adding credence to reports Smith could join LIV Golf after the FedEx Cup, Norman stressed that more signings wold be announced in the coming weeks.

"There will be more player announcements before then, but we're set on the maximum amount of players," he added.

"It's interesting, we're still getting calls from agents of top-40 players in the world wanting to join LIV but it's too late now.

"What it tells me though, is what we're doing is very appealing to the world's best players."

Reports have emerged that Cam Smith could be one of the newest high-profile stars to defect to Greg Norman's LIV Golf series. Pic: Getty
Reports have emerged that Cam Smith could be one of the newest high-profile stars to defect to Greg Norman's LIV Golf series. Pic: Getty

Greg Norman wants ranking points for LIV series

Norman said gaining the support of golf's four majors and the Official World Golf Ranking was their next priority.

He felt they were well-positioned to secure ranking points which would further boost the legitimacy of their tournaments.

"The next, most important step outside of the players is getting OWGR points for our tournaments," Norman said.

"We have worked hard to understand and meet the requirements to apply for OWGR points and have submitted our application.

"I am highly confident with our strength of field and our individual format, that it puts us in a very good place to secure official OWGR points.

"When we officially have OWGR points for all our individual events, everything else looks after itself, which includes the majors."

The face of LIV, Norman has been at logger-heads with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and traded barbs with US golf commentator Brandel Chamblee.

But the two-time Open winner said he was still open to talking to Monahan.

"I would gladly sit down and have a coffee with Jay or Keith Pelley to explain our concept," Norman said.

"Their reactions are based on LIV being a threat, a breakaway tour.

"On the contrary, we built our business model from the ground up to work within the game. Frankly, we ask ourselves, 'What are they scared of?'

"Competition is what makes business, sport and the world a better place."

with AAP

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