Cameron Smith has declared that Greg Norman’s LIV golf series is the future of the sport and that the PGA Tour needs to be ‘stirred up’ as he hits out at criticism of his stunning switch to the rebel tour.
Speaking for the first time since defecting to the rebel series, the world No. 2 Queenslander has defended his $140million move to the widely condemned, Saudi-backed venture.
Smith said it was ‘unfair’ that players jumping ship are being locked out of major championships as he spoke out at the LIV Invitational event in Boston, Massachusetts.
Smith (pictured during a practice round prior to the LIV Golf Invitational in Boston) has claimed the new rebel series is the future of the sport
Smith arriving during a practice round to the LIV Golf Invitational in Bolton Massachusetts
‘This is a new kind of chapter in my life,’ Smith said. ‘I think this is the future of golf. I love how it is out here.
‘I think it [the sport] needs to change, particularly as our golf fans become younger. I think we need to do something to make it exciting for them … it’s been the same for a very, very long time and it needs to be stirred up a little bit.’
Despite receiving heavy criticism from fans, the Aussie admits being paid $140million was ‘a factor’ in the business decision he made to defect – but not the only reason.
Smith was also very excited to be able to spend more time in Australia because of the scheduling of the tour.
‘I haven’t been back in Australia for three years,’ Smith said.
‘To spend more time at home, not missing out on friends’ and families’ weddings, a couple of my friends have had kids over the last four or five years that I still haven’t met, so that’s going to be a part of my life I can’t wait to get back.’
Smith says the PGA Tour needs to be ‘stirred up’
Smith and fellow Australian Marc Leishman were critical of the fact LIV golfers could not accrue world ranking points.
‘As far as the majors and all that go, I think it could potentially hurt them having some guys potentially miss out because they’re not offering world ranking points here,’ Leishman said.
‘As a golf fan, that’s hard for the top tournaments, but hopefully that sorts itself out.’
Smith, who has a free pass to the majors because of his win at the British Open, also claimed the rules were ‘unfair’ for players.
‘I hope that these world ranking points will sort themselves out before my exemption is up,’ he said.
Smith revealed that other players – and even the PGA commissioner Jay Monahan – had reached out to him to try to prevent him from leaving – but nothing would change his mind.
The Aussie says a key factor in making his final decision was the promise of a LIV tournament down under.
‘We’re working on it… I think it would be awesome for Australian golf,’ he said.
‘To bring this new exciting format to Australia I think will be embraced.’
Cameron Smith poses with trophy after winning the British Open
The sport’s worst-kept secret was confirmed on Tuesday night, with Smith announced as a new signing for the Saud-backed tournament – their biggest acquisition to date.
Smith admitted that a phone call from Aussie golf legend Greg Norman shortly after his British Open triumph played a huge role in convincing him to turn his back on the PGA Tour.
‘He’s the idol – he’s someone that I’d always listen to,’ Smith said, having played in Norman’s junior golf foundation until he was 18.
Smith joins a host of other top names to defect, including Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, as well as European Ryder Cup veterans Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia.