The Australian's defection to LIV Golf has - for now - made one of his biggest goals unattainable

One of the more divisive aspects of golf’s civil war is LIV Golf’s inability to be able to provide its stars with world ranking points.

On one side of the argument is the fact that there are criteria to be met that LIV Golf are not meeting, and the defecting players knew what they were getting into, while the counter-point is that it undermines the system when you have regular tournaments featuring some of the world’s best players and they are not being ranked.

The focal point of the row, certainly in recent months, is Cameron Smith. The Australian began 2022 just outside the top 20, but victories at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Players Championship, as well as a maiden major at St Andrews, moved him up to second.

Then he joined LIV Golf – the highest-ranked player to do so at the time of signing – and he has since slipped to fourth.

“I’ve tried to take it not that badly, to be honest,” Smith said ahead of this week’s Saudi International, the Asian Tour’s flagship event at which LIV’s stars will tee up.

“When you rock up to a tournament, you know who you have to beat, whether there’s a world ranking or not. There’s generally seven or eight guys that are in that field that you know are going to put up a pretty good fight.

“For sure it hurts. I feel as though I was really close to getting to No 1, and that was definitely something I wanted to tick off, but kind of the longer that this stuff goes on, the more obsolete those rankings become.

“That’s just the long and short of it.”

Cameron Smith

World ranking grumbles aside, the 29-year-old has certainly enjoyed his time as Open champion. Following the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs, Smith headed back to his homeland for the winter – picking up another win at the Australian PGA Championship while he was there – and made sure the Claret Jug was in tow.

“I took it to my home club,” he added. “I took it to the trophy night and it was a little bit hectic. It’s a pretty cool trophy. It’s been awesome. I’ve taken it everywhere with me. Just about had every liquid you can put in there I’ve tried to put in it.

“It’s been fun over Christmas. The family drinking out of it was something I’ll never forget.”

But it has also served as a reminder as to why he got into the game.

“You don’t want to let that thing go. It’s so cool. It motivates you to be a better golfer.

“I set my goals day to day. I’m more of a tick-the-box guy. I just do what I can do to make myself a better golfer that day, and hopefully when I’m teeing it up in a tournament, it all comes together, and I can be there Saturday and Sunday and hole a few nice putts and lift the trophy.”

Do you think LIV Golf’s players should be granted OWGR points? Tweet us and let us know!

Alex Perry


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.

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