Greg Norman lashes out as rumours swirl around Cameron Smith

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Pictured left to right, Aussie golfers Cam Smith and Greg Norman.
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 has taken a fresh swipe at the PGA Tour and critics of his Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, in the wake of fellow Aussie Cameron Smith's British Open triumph.

Smith found himself at the centre of controversy after becoming just the fifth Australian to lift the Claret Jug, with questions immediately turning to his links to the LIV series.

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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.

Norman was one of Smith's idols growing up and there are reports that the golfing legend wants to form an all-Aussie team in the LIV series, including the Open winner and Adam Scott.

Smith bristled at questions about his links to Norman's controversial breakaway competition, in the aftermath to his victory at St Andrews.

"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.

Not long after the victory, reports suggest the Australian is among many players who are about to jump ship to LIV Golf.

Norman - who is close to many of the Australian players - only fuelled the speculation after tweeting his congratulations to Smith after winning the major.

Now the 67-year-old has taken a fresh swipe at the PGA Tour after being accused of tearing the sport apart by many in the golfing fraternity.

“(PGA Tour commissioner) Jay Monahan, if he had the decency to take our meetings right from the get-go none of this stuff would be in place today,” Norman told The Palm Beach Post in a Q&A.

“The game of golf would be in a much better place. The Tour would be in a much better place. European golf would be in a much better place.”

Greg Norman defends controversial breakaway

Norman has staunchly defended the Saudi-backed rebel series and says healthy competition is good for the game of golf.

“They (PGA Tour) rested on their laurels thinking they’re the only game in town, they’re the monopolist, they can control the game and this is the way it’s going to be,” Norman added.

“From a player’s perspective I’ve always said the Tour works for us, we don’t work for the Tour. And I was in the minority with that voice.”

British Open winner Cam Smith (right) has been linked with joining Greg Norman's controversial LIV Golf series. Pic: Getty
British Open winner Cam Smith (right) has been linked with joining Greg Norman's controversial LIV Golf series. Pic: Getty

Norman has been accused of turning a blind eye to Saudi Arabia's questionable human rights record in the name of money, but the Aussie great says such criticism is wildly hypocritical.

“Shame on (those) who create this firestorm of controversy when you look within their own system when they (have) 23 odd sponsors who do $40-plus billion dollars of business with Saudi Arabia,” Norman said.

“C’mon, seriously? If you’re going to go down this path just be ready to accept you’re going to get some stuff coming back your way. And it’s not hard to find it.

Norman argues that it was only a matter of time before someone challenged the PGA Tour and what he describes as their monopoly on the game of golf.

“Let’s just take Saudi money away from it, it was going to happen irrespective because you’re going up against a monopolist,” he said.

“If it was a hedge fund out of New York, would it be any different? Maybe, because it was U.S. money. I can’t answer that question because it’s not the case. But I will say, the business model, because it’s disrupting a monopolist, it would have happened.”

with agencies

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