Greg Norman's telling act after Cameron Smith defection to LIV Golf

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Greg Norman (pictured right) during an LIV Golf Tournament and (pictured left) Cameron Smith smiling.
Greg Norman (pictured right) has praised the signing of World No.2 Cameron Smith (pictured left) for LIV Golf. (Getty Images)

LIV president Greg Norman has taken a dig at the PGA Tour after signing The Open champ and World No.2 Cameron Smith.

Smith has become the first Top 10 player from the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf and is set to become the breakaway rebel group's poster boy.

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The Aussie said he couldn't ignore the massive money on offer - reportedly a $A145m sign on fee - from the Saudi-backed organisation, while the prospect of playing a shortened schedule and the chance to spend more time in Australia and play more golf down under were also lures.

"The biggest thing for me joining is (LIV's) schedule is really appealing," Smith told Golf Digest.

"I'll be able to spend more time at home in Australia and maybe have an event down there, as well. I haven't been able to do that, and to get that part of my life back was really appealing."

Joining Smith is World No.19 Chile's Joaquin Niemann, the youngest player in the World Top 20, and Aussie Marc Leishman.

Niemann jumping ship could raise eyebrows in the PGA Tour circle, considering the 23-year-old was invited to the Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy player-led emergency meeting in Delaware two weeks ago.

And after the coup, Norman took a swipe at his rivals and claimed the signing of Smith was an example LIV Golf was now "truly global".

Both Smith and six-time PGA Tour winner Leishman are still eligible for the Australian PGA at Royal Queensland in November followed by the Australian Open at the Victoria GC and PGA of Australia chair Rodger Davis made it clear they were welcome.

"These two major Australian events headline the upcoming summer of golf, one of the biggest for years, and there's no doubt our fans are looking forward to our growing line-up of homegrown stars like Cam Smith and Marc Leishman," Davis said in a statement on Wednesday.

Cameron Smith's majors hope in LIV Golf move

Players jumping to LIV Golf currently risk being cut out of the four majors - the measure of golfing greatness - when their world rankings points drop off.

LIV is seeking to have Official World Golf Ranking sanction its small field, no-cut tournaments, but its chances of success remain unclear.

However, Smith appears to have secured his qualification in the immediate future unless rules change for qualification.

Managing Director of LIV Golf Majed Al Sorour (pictured left) and Greg Norman (pictured right) acknowledge the crowd during a LIV Golf Invitational.
Managing Director of LIV Golf Majed Al Sorour (pictured left) and Greg Norman (pictured right) acknowledge the crowd during a LIV Golf Invitational. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

He already had a three-year exemption for all four majors from his Players Championship triumph in March and pushed that out to five years when victorious in the Open in July.

Indeed lifting the claret jug at St Andrews guaranteed Smith entry to all future British Opens until the age of 60.

Smith has joined a LIV stable that includes fellow major winners Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Kopeka, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Charl Schwarzel, with many of them past their best years.

with AAP

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