It's been the worst-kept secret of the summer as the new Open champion Cam Smith left the riches of the PGA Tour for the ludicrous wealth of the LIV Golf Series. The Aussie, who captured the Claret Jug at St Andrews in July, revealed that he has been in talks with the breakaway circuit for some time which explains his awkward responses in recent times to whether he would be signing up.
He also had been in talks with Rory McIlroy and the PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan but they were unable to change his mind.
“For me, this was the right decision,” he said. “I think this is the future of golf. I think it’s been the same for a very, very long time, and it needs to be stirred up a little bit. Particularly as our golf fans become younger, I think we need to do something to make it exciting for them. I think it's the right move for sure," explained Smith.
"I’m really excited to be here. I think not having those top guys is a little bit of a shame, but hopefully I can see them four times a year and be able to compete against them and show them I've still got it. I think this is the future of golf. I love how it is out here. It’s a little more laidback on the range, the music playing. I love that stuff. I just can’t wait to be a part of this.”
Smith, who hasn't resigned his membership of the PGA Tour, added that he hoped to live in Australia for a few months of the year – he left for the States in 2015 – and there will likely be events in his home country in the coming years.
He also hopes that, while the LIV players are banned from this month's Presidents Cup, he might still be able to play. The International team will be without the likes of Joaquin Niemann, Abraham Ancer, Louis Oosthuizen and Carlos Ortiz for the matches at Quail Hollow.
“I have spoken to Trevor (Immelman), and Marc (Leishman) has as well – we are still willing to compete in that. I hope we can. Trevor has become a really good friend of mine over the last couple years, him being on the broadcast team out there. But I hope we can get to Charlotte and represent Trevor and the Internationals.”
Gary Player, a Saudi Golf ambassador (for now), believes that Smith has made a poor choice in terms of his career.
“I wouldn’t take a billion dollars for my nine majors on both tours,” Player told the BBC. "I worked hard. I had desire. I traveled the world. It was an education, I met wonderful people. How can you ever be a champion playing a tour with 54 holes and no cut? They don’t have the confidence they can be winners.”