‘You have to let us play’: Smith’s plea to majors over LIV defectors – Sydney Morning Herald

We’re sorry, this feature is currently unavailable. We’re working to restore it. Please try again later.
Cameron Smith has pleaded with the warring PGA Tour and LIV Golf to leave behind the pettiness while delivering a passionate plea to the majors, urging them to “rise above politics and let us play”.
On the eve of his first tournament at home for more than three years, Australia’s latest major champion and prized signing for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league has expressed candid views on the fate of LIV players for next year’s majors.
The R&A has all but confirmed Smith will be able to defend his The Open crown in 2023, but spots for LIV players in The Masters, USPGA Championship and US Open remain up in the air.
The PGA Tour has indefinitely banned any golfer to have teed up in a LIV event, while the DP World Tour is awaiting a court ruling over whether defectors can regularly compete on their circuit.
Smith, who has a five-year exemption for all four majors after his win at St Andrews, said he expects green jacket winners Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson to play at Augusta in April.
“I think the majors really have to stand above all the politics,” Smith told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Cameron Smith has urged the majors to let LIV defectors play in 2023.Credit:Getty
“If they really want the best product and the best players playing against each other in the world, they have to let us play. There’s no reason other than playing another tour that should suggest we shouldn’t play.
“We’re definitely good enough players. We should have those spots.”
World No.3 Smith will watch his ranking slide in coming months given LIV’s 54-hole no-cut events are yet to be granted official world rankings points.
Dustin Johnson has already plunged to No.35 in the world despite mounting a case to be one of the game’s hottest players after dominating LIV’s inaugural year.
The current restrictions mean the only time all the world’s best players will compete against each other will be the majors, potentially starting with the Masters.
Having listened to world No.1 Rory McIlroy claim the “us versus them has gone too far” given the widening split between Norman’s LIV Golf and the United States’ PGA Tour, Smith offered a similar sentiment.
Despite living only minutes down the road from Florida’s TPC Sawgrass, the venue for his Players Championship win earlier this year, Smith had a parking spot stripped when he signed for LIV in a reported $140 million deal.
“I think on both sides of the board there could have been a few things, definitely at the start, where they could have said different stuff,” Smith said.
“There were things where … there was just some petty stuff going on. It wasn’t just one side. I’m hopeful that all that is going to really die down. It would be nice because it’s not golf.
“I feel like golf has always been a sport to overcome all these different problems throughout the world, and it feels like it’s taken a step back.”
Smith will return to Australia this week with the Claret Jug, golf’s most historic prize, before trying to win the Australian PGA for a third time. He hasn’t played a tournament in Australia since the pandemic.
The 29-year-old will be presented the key to Brisbane and try to break a Guinness world record for the largest golf coaching clinic before switching his attention to the Australian PGA-Open double.
Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Cameron Davis, Lucas Herbert, Min Woo Lee and two-time Australian Open winner Matt Jones will headline a star-studded local men’s contingent returning for the summer of golf.
“As a golfer, I’ve developed a lot over the last three years,” Smith said. “It will be interesting to go back and play those courses as a different golfer. I’m really excited for that. The crowd, I hope they are just happy to see me. That’s all I really want.
“It’s been an epic year. It’s been unbelievable actually. It’s going to be a really hard one to top and it will be topped off going back down to Oz for the first time in three years.
“My mum and my sister and a couple of cousins have come over and said hello [in the United States]. But for the most part I haven’t seen my family for three years. It will be good to go back. It will be the highlight of the year.”
LIV Golf is expected this week to announce Adelaide as the host city for their first Australian event in 2023.
Australia’s latest PGA Tour star, Harrison Endycott, has finally received confirmation he will return home for the summer of golf.
Endycott, who already has a top-10 PGA Tour finish in Bermuda during his rookie season, will join Cameron Smith, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Cameron Davis for the Australian PGA and Australian Open.
But tournament organisers made the 26-year-old sweat on whether he would be granted an invitation for the events, which will be the most significant played on these shores since the pandemic.
Harrison Endycott hits from the bunker during his PGA Tour debut.Credit:Getty Images
High-profile broadcaster Ray Hadley even took a swipe at Australian golf officials in the past couple of months for not green-lighting Endycott’s return home earlier, but official confirmation is expected to be imminent.
Endycott is one of just eight Australians on the PGA Tour, joining Scott, Davis, Jason Day, Lucas Herbert, Aaron Baddeley, Greg Chalmers and Cameron Percy.
Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman and Matt Jones are not listed as PGA Tour members after their defections to Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed LIV Golf rebel league.
The venture is funded by the kingdom’s public investment fund and has spent $1 billion on signing players from the world’s two biggest tours, the PGA Tour and DP World Tour (formerly European Tour).
Endycott has publicly shared his battles after the death of his mother Dianne from cancer when he was just a teenager, and spoke about what it meant to finally earn a PGA Tour card after graduating from the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour.
“For me to go and earn a Tour card, I dedicated my life to that,” he said in September. “I guess [Korn Ferry] is like second-grade rugby league, second-grade AFL … everyone is so hungry to get to this point. I think you definitely feel that atmosphere on a week-to-week basis.
“To be able to experience the sacrifices they have done for me and for dad to be there to experience that, it was just unbelievable. There’s really no words to describe that. I would have loved to have had one other person with me. But to have my dad there was something I couldn’t buy, and I felt very privileged.”
Endycott finished tied-12th in his first PGA Tour event in the Fortinet Championship, and then nailed a top-10 finish in just his fourth attempt at Bermuda. He will be seeking valuable rankings points in Australia as he tries to climb inside the world’s top 200 next year.
Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.
Copyright © 2022

source

You may also like...