LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has been accused of robbing Cameron Smith of cementing his spot as an all-time Aussie great after he signed for the controversial breakaway group. Smith stunned the golf world when he announced his move to the Saudi-backed group for a reported $140 million at the end of 2022.
The move came only weeks after Smith won The Open and was currently the World No.1 golfer. However, polarising analyst Brandel Chamblee has taken aim at Norman for convincing Smith to move over.
Since Smith's move, players on the LIV Golf Tour have been banned from PGA Tour events. This means Smith is unable to defend the title he won at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
Many of the players have weighed-in on the LIV Golf situation and admitted it is a shame the reigning champion won't be at the 'fifth major' to defend his title. Although most of the players have also agreed that Smith made his decision knowing it could see him banned from PGA Tour events.
And Chamblee has used the controversy to take a dig at Norman for the LIV Golf drama. "It's ironic to me that it might possibly be an Aussie that will keep another Aussie in Cameron Smith possibly from ascending to a spot where he's considered the greatest player of all time (from Australia)," Chamblee told the Golf Channel.
"Supplanting Peter Thomson, he had that kind of talent. Norman didn't get there but (Smith) could have easily supplanted Greg Norman as the second-best player of all time from Australia. That's at least in my view where Cameron Smith was headed.
"That's what he's turned his back on and a lot of it has to do with Greg Norman, and Cam Smith got a lot of bad advice from his agents and other people in the game around him trying to suck him into LIV."
Brandel Chamblee praises Cam Smith's game
The Open recently announced LIV golfers will be able to compete at the major if they are able to qualify with their rankings. While plenty won't be able to qualify because of their rankings taking a hit since joining the breakaway group, Smith will be eligible.
Smith's St Andrews victory gave the 29-year-old exemption to the Masters, US PGA, US Open and British Open until at least 2028. And Chamblee said it's a shame fans won't be able to see the Australian on the PGA Tour on a more regular basis - other than the majors - due to his ban. He reserved special praise for Smith's short-game wizardry.
"He had the potential to be an absolute great player," he said. "If you look at the qualities that he had, the age that he was, he was a great scrambler - and is likely (still) - a great scrambler, great putter, a great shot maker.
"Players like Tom Watson come to mind. At the age of 25 until (Watson) was 35, he had 35 wins, won eight major championships, really hit his stride at 27, which is what Cam Smith was last year.
"Twenty-seven, 28, 29, five wins, five wins, five wins in each of those years. Seven wins when he was 30 years of age, these prime years. And when you think of Seve Ballesteros, from the time he was 22 until he was 31 he won five majors.
"He set the world on fire and was fairly much the same type of player that we saw in Cameron Smith last year at St Andrews. These are exciting players - scramblers, they're unpredictable, they break your heart and then they do monumentally unbelievable things."
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