Cam Smith was the first reigning major champion to defect to LIV Golf. And now the Champion Golf of the Year says it's up to the powers that be to 'stand above the politics'

It’s been one of the biggest questions since some of the world’s finest started upping sticks to join the LIV Golf bandwagon. Will they be able to play in the majors?

The Saudi Arabia money men behind the breakaway league have said they’ll just make their own majors, but it looks like they won’t need to, starting with the R&A all but confirming the defectors will be welcome at The Open in 2023 – including their defending champion, and LIV’s biggest coup in terms of the world rankings, Cam Smith.

“The majors really have to stand above all the politics,” Smith told reporters in his home country, where he has returned ahead of his first appearance in the Australian PGA Championship for three years.

“If they really want the best product, and the best players playing against each other in the world, they have to let us play. There’s no reason other than playing another tour that should suggest we shouldn’t play.

“We’re definitely good enough players. We should have those spots.”

Cam Smith

Smith, who won his maiden major title after seeing off Cameron Young in the 150th Open at St Andrews, also described signing for LIV as a “scary” career move, but is ultimately happy with his decision.

He added: “I spoke to a lot of good people – my mum and dad, and a lot of good friends.

“I have absolutely got no regrets. At the start it was definitely scary making a career move like that, with it being a fresh tour, [but] the fans love it a lot which is really important for our sport because it gets a lot of people playing golf.

“Even if it is just for a whack here or there and having a beer – the more eyes on golf the better.”

As for the ongoing row between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, the World No 3 says mistakes have been made from both parties.

“I think on both sides of the board there could have been a few things – definitely at the start – where they could have said different stuff,” he added.

“There was just some petty stuff going on. It wasn’t just one side. I’m hopeful that all that is going to really die down. It would be nice because it’s not golf.

“I feel like golf has always been a sport to overcome all these different problems throughout the world, and it feels like it’s taken a step back.”

There is certainly no regret from Smith in terms of his bank balance, either. The 29-year-old – who joked “there’s only so much fishing equipment I can buy” after pocketing $3.6 million when he won The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass – has earned just shy of $7.5 million in his five events since succumbing to Greg Norman’s charm.

The 2023 LIV Golf season will consist of 14 events, including events in Smith’s homeland after The Grange was announced as one venue for the upcoming campaign.

Alex Perry

Editor

Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

Handicap: 14

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