AUGUSTA: Cameron Smith admits Saudi-backed LIV Golf offers weaker fields than the PGA Tour and the Australian says he sometimes longs to play PGA events he’s now banned from entering.
The reigning British Open champion, however, insisted Monday at the Masters that he’s happy with his choice to jump from the PGA last September for LIV’s record $25 million purses and 54-hole events.
“Yeah, for sure there have been a couple of tournaments that I really have enjoyed in the past that I feel like I’ve missed out on,” Smith said.
“But, at the same time, I’ve made my bed and I’m happy, very happy where I am. I’m happy to sleep in the bed I’m in basically.”
World number six Smith, who is among 18 LIV players in this week’s field at Augusta National, says it’s more the challenge of certain courses than certain rivals in his thoughts.
“I do miss certain tournaments, certain golf courses,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this week playing against the guys for sure. But I don’t know if I necessarily miss playing against any certain guys.”
He missed chances to defend titles at the PGA Tournament of Champions and last month’s Players Championship but with majors allowing LIV qualifiers to compete, he’ll have a chance at back-to-back Claret Jugs in July.
But he really wants to see LIV talent make a run at the green jacket this week to silence critics who say LIV offers poor preparation for majors with 54 holes and weaker fields than the PGA.
“I think it’s just important for LIV guys to be up there because I think we need to be up there,” he said. “There’s a lot of chatter about these guys don’t play real golf, don’t play real golf courses.
“For sure, I’ll be the first one to say the fields aren’t as strong. But we’ve still got a lot of guys up there that can play some really serious golf and we compete against each other hard week-in and week-out.
“It’s a good feeling to have that competition. I think we just need a good, strong finish.”
Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka and six former Masters champions, including six-time major winner Phil Mickelson, bring big names to LIV events.
“I think the competition’s there. I just don’t think it’s as deep,” Smith said. “We have lots of good guys that have won lots of really prestigious tournaments, majors.
“There’s definitely lot of guys that keep you on your toes and I don’t think that’s a problem.”
Smith, who won the Australian PGA Championship last November, says his game needs work after missing the top 20 in the past two LIV events.
“I think I’m just not playing really good golf at the moment and I’m trying to fix that,” he said. “I feel like I’m tournament-ready. It’s just I’ve got a few tweaks here and there to do.
“I’m looking forward to getting out there and just falling back in love this place,” added Smith, who has three top-five finishes in the past five Masters.
Source : Tribune