Leishman hopeful LIV, PGA can co-exist

A breakthrough in Australia would earn Marc Leishman one back over good mate Cameron Smith and potentially a return to next year's Masters.

But the LIV Golf convert will not kick stones if the rankings boost he needs at the Australian PGA Championship from Thursday, or the Australian Open to follow, does not eventuate.

With no world ranking points earned since making the move to the rebel tour in August, Leishman has fallen to No.71, outside the top-50 end of year Masters and PGA Championship cut-off.

But he knew it would be this way.

"I've had opportunities; I've played all the majors for the last 12 years," he said on Wednesday at Royal Queensland in Brisbane.

"I hope I can play for another eight or 10 years. But ... that was one of the things that weighed up when I made the decision to head over to LIV. That, you know, I might not be able to play them anymore."

Leishman has "no idea" if the controversial breakaway league, still at loggerheads with the PGA Tour and its high-profile members, can soon co-exist.

But he insists they should and says there has been no frostiness with compatriots since his return home.

"Once people see the product ... not everyone's going to embrace that but the PGA Tour and LIV are both great products," he said.

"They're just very different."

Leishman and Smith have played the new tour as part of an all-Australian team with Wade Ormsby and Matt Jones, the pair also handed the keys to commercialise the franchise by LIV boss Greg Norman.

But that friendship will be pushed to the side from Thursday, particularly after Smith came from two shots behind Leishman to win the PGA title at Gold Coast's Royal Pines in 2018.

"He had a bit luck (that day) but you need a lot of luck to win tournaments so I don't hold it against him," Leishman said.

"It'd be nice to get one back."

World No.3 Smith will tee off on Thursday morning in a marquee group with Masters champion Adam Scott and Links Championship winner Ryan Fox from the 10th tee.

Leishman will play with exciting West Australian Min Woo Lee and Poland's Irish Open champion Adrian Meronk in the afternoon session.

Defending champion Jed Morgan, President's Cup pick Cam Davis and rising Danish talent Rasmus Hojgaard will follow Smith's group in a loaded morning session.

Former US Open winner Geoff Ogilvy has been grouped with Victoria's world No.55 Lucas Herbert and West Australian Jason Scrivener.

About 40,000 spectators lined fairways when the tournament returned to Royal Queensland in January, even without its overseas-based talent due to COVID-19 restrictions.

More are expected to welcome back some of Australian golf's biggest names after a three-year absence, with $2 million in prize money up for grabs at the DP World Tour-sanctioned event.