Morgan out to top idol Cam Smith's jackpot

·3-min read

Cameron Smith won the biggest winner's cheque in golf this year when he lifted The Players title - but now a mullet-haired, moustachioed blond protege is aiming to eclipse him.

Smith took home $US3.6 million ($A5.0 million) when winning the biggest title of his career at Sawgrass in March, but fellow Queenslander Jed Morgan now has his eyes on the $US4 million ($A5.6 million) cheque on offer to the winner of the first LIV Invitational event in England.

The chirpy Morgan, who looks so much like Smith that he once got mistaken for his idol, doesn't sound fazed by the prospect of winning the inaugural edition of the Saudi-backed series, which tees off at Centurion Club, north of London, on Thursday.

Asked by AAP if he could imagine being in the hunt for victory and life-changing winnings at the end of the three-day tournament on Saturday, 22-year-old Morgan smiled.

"Yeah, absolutely I can," he said. "I can imagine winning the tournament ... and the money just comes along with it.

"You know what you're playing for, it's in your headlights. It should be awesome, I can't wait."

Morgan, from the little rural town of Hatton Vale, burst into the limelight when he won January's Australian PGA Championship by a record 11-stroke margin, picking up a $180,000 winner's cheque after just three months as professional.

This week if he finishes last of the 48-man field in the no-cut LIV event he will still pick up nearly as much - $US120,000 ($A167,000).

But being the PGA winner so early in his pro career at the Royal Queensland Club in Brisbane has instilled a belief that he can win any tournament he enters.

Morgan won a Cameron Smith Scholarship in 2018, earning the chance to spend a week at the Florida home of the world No.4.

"Cam just invites you to his house for few days, takes you to a tournament and funds you. It's cool. I owe him so much," said Morgan.

"He's created a lot of opportunities for others that he didn't have when he was growing up.

"We're good friends and he's done a lot for myself and a few other players in Queensland with his scholarships."

When Morgan played at Smith's course in Florida for the first time, one of the club members talked to him believing he was Cam.

The opportunities provided by the Greg Norman-backed LIV series have prompted tough decisions for hardened, big-money earners on both the PGA and European Tours.

But for Morgan, a member of neither Tour, taking up this week's invitation gives him no qualms.

"I don't see it as a risk, no way. I've never seen it that way. The main attraction for me six months since turning pro is it provides a platform where you can go and play competitive golf against some of the best players," he said.

And the prizemoney, of course, is eye-watering.

"For LIV to put up the type of cash they're doing is amazing, it's never been done before but it's also the 100 per cent reason why people play golf - they want the good living, they want the lifestyle and they want to give that lifestyle to other people as well.

"The new format (with a team element, shotgun starts and a 54-hole, no cut, three-day event) is appealing. It's all cool."

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