In his first public comments since his controversial move to LIV Golf, Cameron Smith outlined the main reasons why he is leaving behind the PGA Tour – and why it involved more than just a reported nine-figure payday.
Speaking to reporters at The International outside Boston, site of the fourth LIV event, Smith signed with the rival league because he believes LIV is the “future of golf” and acknowledged that the limited schedule will allow him to spend more time each year back home in Australia.
“I’m really excited to be here,” he said in his introductory news conference alongside Marc Leishman, a day after Smith’s long-rumored decision became official. “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.”
Cam Smith ready for ‘new chapter’ with LIV Golf
The addition of Smith is arguably LIV’s most important signing yet, as he joins the upstart tour as the defending champion of two of the five biggest stroke-play events of the year, The Open and The Players. Smith said that he has not resigned his Tour membership, even though he will be suspended by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan when Smith tees it up Friday in the first round of the 54-hole event. The same will be true for the rest of the defectors (Leishman, Joaquin Niemann, Harold Varner III, Cameron Tringale, Anirban Lahiri) who make their LIV debuts this week.
Smith said that he had been in communication with LIV over the past few months, before he captured his first major title at St. Andrews. A handful of Tour players, including Rory McIlroy, reached out to him to talk through his decision, and he also had a sitdown with Monahan. Still, Smith decided to move on.
“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.”
Also factoring in Smith’s decision was the ability to live in Australia for a few months each year. His family has remained back home even after Smith moved to the U.S. in 2015 to pursue his Tour dreams. LIV is expected to announce an event in Australia, and the condensed league schedule (the season should wrap up in the fall) will allow him more time at home. Meahwhile, he revealed his plans for the future.