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Cameron Smith has credited much of his decision to sign-up for LIV Golf on the financial benefits and opportunities it offers to spend time in his native Australia.
However, speaking ahead of his debut in the LIV Golf Invitational Series in Boston this week, the 29-year-old cited another reason he’s enthused about his decision to join the Saudi-backed venture – the potential to shake up the game in a way that has never been done before. He said: “You know, I'm just really excited to be here. This is a new kind of chapter in my life. I think this is the future of golf. I love how it is out here. It's a little bit more laid back on the range, the music playing. I love that stuff. I play with music at home and yeah, I just can't wait to be a part of this.”
Video: What Is LIV Golf?
The Series differs from the PGA Tour in several ways, including its shorter 54-hole no-cut format and shotgun starts, meaning that all 48 players start their rounds at the same time, and it’s innovations such as those that Smith sees as being pivotal to attracting younger generations to the game. He said: “I think it needs to change. Particularly as our golf fans become younger, I think we need to do something to make it exciting for them. I think it's the right move for sure.”
That doesn’t mean Smith’s decision to walk away from the PGA Tour was made lightly. However, he did admit that, even after conversations with players and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, the future direction of the game was one of the most appealing elements of his decision. He said: “I've had a few phone calls with players. I sat down with Jay. We had a good conversation. It has been a little bit different. But this for me was the right decision. You know, 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.”
There is no doubt the acquisition of Smith – along with five others – is doing that. However, even before that announcement, the PGA Tour had taken strides to innovate in the midst of the LIV Golf threat, first strengthening its alliance with the DP World Tour, then unveiling unprecedented changes including increased purses and an ambition to bring the game's top players together more often.
However, Smith revealed that there wasn’t much the PGA Tour could have done to keep him there, although that has more to do with the lifestyle change LIV Golf offers. He said: “For me the biggest attraction was spending more time at home. Getting that part of my life back. It's something that I've really missed. I think obviously the pandemic that we've had over the last couple years didn't really help out, but you know, for me to be able to go home, see my family, and play golf there more often, that was a really big up for me.”
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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