Donald Trump's bombshell move as rumours swirl around Cameron Smith

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Cameron Smith, pictured here after winning The Open at St Andrews.
Donald Trump has urged golfers like Cameron Smith to take the money on offer from LIB Golf. Image: Getty

Former US President Donald Trump has urged golfers to "take the money" and sign with the controversial Saudi-backed LIV series as rumours swirl around Australia's British Open champion Cameron Smith.

Smith's name has popped up in numerous reports about more players defecting to LIV Golf, which is headed up by Aussie great Greg Norman.

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The reports suggest Smith could be poised to turn his back on the PGA Tour and sign with Norman and LIV Golf, with an all-Aussie team potentially in the works.

Trump, who is hosting LIV events at two of his golf courses this year, said in a post on his Truth Social network that players should not hesitate to abandon the PGA Tour, which he branded "disloyal".

"All of those golfers that remain 'loyal' to the very disloyal PGA, in all of its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a big 'thank you' from PGA officials who are making Millions of Dollars a year," Trump wrote.

"If you don't take the money now, you will get nothing after the merger takes place, and only say how smart the original signees were."

Trump signed off with a message of congratulations to Smith after the Aussie star stormed to victory at St Andrews on Sunday.

The Queenslander is among the latest list of names who are reportedly poised to sign with LIV Golf, which has already recruited a slew of top names with jaw-dropping contracts.

Cameron Smith, pictured here holding the Claret Jug after winning The 150th Open.
Cameron Smith holds the Claret Jug after winning The 150th Open. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

The likes of Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau are reported to have signed contracts in the hundreds of millions of dollars with LIV Golf.

LIV Golf is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, with human rights groups criticising the venture and saying it exists solely to boost Saudi Arabia's international reputation - a phenomenon labelled 'sportswashing'.

Smith bristled when asked in his press conference after The Open about the reports he will join LIV.

"I just won the British Open, and you're asking about that. I think that's pretty not that good," Smith said.

"I don't know, mate. My team around me worries about all that stuff. I'm here to win golf tournaments."

Many pointed out that Smith never denied the reports.

“The brand new British Open champion Cam Smith was just asked if there was any truth to the rumours that he may jump to the breakaway LIV tour. He rejected the question but that was hardly a denial," tweeted New York Times reporter Christopher Clarey.

Sports journalist Frankie Christou said Smith’s answer “sounded like a huge non denial to me”, while golf pundit Geoff Shackelford said Smith’s response gave a “big non-denial vibe”.

LIV are also reported to be on the brink of signing Henrik Stenson. The Swedish star is expected to be stripped of Europe's Ryder Cup captaincy if he if he signs with LIV.

Donald Trump silent amid criticism about Saudi Arabia

Meanwhile, Trump didn't respond to criticism of his involvement with LIV events by relatives of those killed and injured during the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers involved in the atrocity were Saudi nationals.

In an open letter to Trump released on Sunday, the 9/11 Justice group urged Trump to cut ties to LIV Golf.

Trump National Golf Club at Bedminster, New Jersey is set to host a LIV event on July 29-31, while his Trump National course at Doral in Florida will stage the October 27-30 tournament.

Donald Trump, pictured here playing a round of golf at the Trump National Golf Course in 2020.
Donald Trump plays a round of golf at the Trump National Golf Course in 2020. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

"We simply cannot understand how you could agree to accept money from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's golf league to host their tournament at your golf course, and to do so in the shadows of Ground Zero in New Jersey, which lost over 700 residents during the attacks," the group wrote in its letter.

"It is difficult for us to fully express the extreme pain, frustration and anger this upcoming tournament at Bedminster causes our community...it is incomprehensible to us that a former President of the United States would cast our loved ones aside for personal financial gain."

with agencies

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