LIV Golf: According to Cameron Smith, Rory McIlroy called him after winning The Open to try to talk the Australian out of joining Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf.
Smith, the third-ranked golfer in the world, won his first major championship at The Open in July. A few weeks later, he made history by becoming the first member of the Top 10 to sign with LIV.
Smith started the final round of The Open at St. Andrews four shots behind Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland of Norway, but he played an outstanding back nine to win.
A journalist afterwards questioned Smith about whether or not his move to LIV was finalised. Smith replied, “I just won the British Open, and you’re asking about that. That, in my opinion, is not at all good.
The Australian has now admitted that McIlroy, who is arguably the most vocal opponent of LIV, called him prior to making the decision to leave the PGA.
Smith told the Sydney Morning Herald, “I’ve always respected Rory and appreciated what he says on the golf field.
He said, “Congratulations. There may have been a few small jabs in there. He was pleased with my performance and the success of the tournament.
“Next, we discussed the PGA Tour and LIV. He wanted me to be aware of a lot of information before I made a choice. He certainly wanted me to stay, though I wouldn’t say he tried to openly persuade me to stay.”
Smith, 29, said that his decision to join LIV, which is believed to have cost $140 million, was one that kept him up at night.
On the day he won The Open, Smith admits, “I was definitely leaning one way, but it wasn’t signed on paper.” “There was still a tonne of work to be done and lots to consider.
“I had the impression that I hadn’t slept for a while. I was constantly concerned with what other people might think.
“For me, that was a tremendously important issue. I feel like I follow the rules quite well, so having to step away from something was really difficult for me.
“The PGA Tour is a fantastic environment for me. This tour is fantastic and accomplishes wonderful things. However, when you consider that Adam [Scott] has been among the best golfers in the world for 20 years, it seems strange that the PGA Tour would choose not to hold an event there in his honor.
Then there are the guys like Jason [Day], Marc [Leishman], and many other guys for whom they could have done so much. The Australian crowd makes frequent trips there.
“I simply don’t believe it is that profitable for them, and I believe that is a big part of the issue.”