Cameron Smith says US Masters snub would be heartbreaking

Cameron Smith is content with his choice to join LIV Golf but says one potential consequence remains a “heartbreaking” possibility.The Open Championship winner says that he’d be devastated if Augusta National was to make a ruling that would prevent LIV Golf members from teeing it up at next year’s Masters. As things stand, Smith and his Saudi-remunerated colleagues are banned from PGA Tour events, but not from the four majors which are run by separate governing bodies.Watch LIVE coverage from The USPGA Tour with Fox Sports on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >The four majors are expected to review their eligibility criteria for 2023, and it’s unclear where LIV Golf players will stand. As the winner of last year’s Open Championship, Smith has at least five years’ worth of exemptions at the three American majors, and can play at the Open until he’s 60. Even without the major triumph, Smith had already gained a Masters invite by winning the Players Championship, and finishing T-3 at Augusta this year. It will now take a bombshell ruling from the club to stop Smith from returning to its hallowed fairways, where the Australian has had four top-10 finishes in six starts.Nonetheless, Smith is aware that it still remains a possibility.“I hope (I can play),” Smith said on ABC Radio. “Obviously, I can’t speak for them (Augusta). I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get back there. “It’s a place I love, and I’ve got a pretty good record around there, too. So it would be pretty heartbreaking if I couldn’t get back there.”READ MORE ‘JUST TERRIBLE…’: Golf superstar’s brutal answer says it all in LIV debate‘I AM YOU IN EVERY WAY’: Norman’s tribute after father dies aged 95‘GOOD LORD’: Disbelief over ‘jaw-dropping’ LIV windfall as star gets $28m bonus after six eventsLIV closing in on World Ranking Points | 00:44Should he be free to play, Smith is expected to be a major threat at Augusta in April after two close calls in the past three years.In 2020, Smith tied for second behind fellow LIV Golf member Dustin Johnson, while this year he briefly gained the tournament lead in the final round before a late fade-out. He has remained in good form since winning his first major and joining LIV Golf having won in Chicago, while he narrowly lost to Johnson in Boston. Next, he plays the final regular season event in Jeddah this weekend before the Team Championship is held in Florida at the end of the month. The next LIV Golf event won’t be until the new year, while Smith will tee it up in Australia for the first time since 2019 when he competes at the Australian PGA Championship and Australian Open this summer. It will be a rare opportunity for Smith to have an extended stay in Australia — something that wasn’t feasible as a PGA Tour player due to its wraparound schedule.Norman on his new ‘legacy’ in golf | 01:57As such, Smith is content with his controversial decision to join LIV Golf for a reported sign-on figure of $A140 million.“After Miami, I’ll probably spend another week in the U.S. and then I’ll come down and play,” Smith said. “I’ll basically stay through there until probably the start of February.”Speaking about missing big PGA Tour tournaments, such as the Memorial Tournament or Genesis Invitational, Smith said it was worth it to take big events outside of America. “Those events (Memorial and the Genesis) are great and I will miss (them) for sure, but having the opportunity to bring golf to a world stage I think is something that is going to be well-received,” he said. “Hopefully we can make these countries, which have kind of missed out on top-tier professional golf, really get around it.”

Source link