Smith: LIV not ‘deep’ as PGA; still ‘serious golf’

Smith: LIV not ‘deep’ as PGA; still ‘serious golf’

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Cameron Smith will be the first to tell you he doesn’t think LIV Golf’s fields are as strong or deep as the PGA Tour’s. In fact, that is precisely what Smith, who joined LIV last year, said Monday while speaking at his news conference in advance of the first major of the season.

“I think the competition’s there. I just don’t think it’s as deep,” Smith said. “As the LIV tour grows and the fields get deeper and stronger and all that stuff unfolds, it’s just going to be better and better. I can’t wait to see it unfold, personally.”

The sixth-ranked player in the world did say he has missed playing in specific tournaments and at specific courses this season. As far as regrets go, however, he has none.

“I’ve made my bed and I’m happy — very, very happy where I am,” the reigning Open Championship winner said. “I’m happy to sleep in the bed I’m in, basically.”

Smith pointed out that even though he’s not playing as well as he did for most of last season, he has played the same amount of tournaments in the lead-up to the Masters and doesn’t believe switching tours has had an effect on his performance. Instead, he attributes the rather slow start to a “long offseason” spent with family and friends in Australia, not the LIV setup.

“I think there’s a lot of chatter about these guys don’t play real golf; these guys don’t play real golf courses,” Smith said. “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, and we’re trying to do the same things that we did six months ago.”

For Smith, doing the same thing means hoping that his love and familiarity for Augusta National can act as a springboard for the rest of his season. So far this year, Smith has finished sixth, 26th and 29th in all three LIV events, but the Masters has been where he’s thrived. Since 2018, Smith has four top-10 finishes, including a tie for second in 2020.

“It allows me to be creative — the firmness and fastness of the greens reminds me a lot of the Sandbelt area and just good memories, I think,” Smith said of Augusta. “I’m looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and just falling back in love with this place.”

With all the talk of LIV players at this year’s first major, Smith said he was not sure what to expect when he arrived Monday and drove up Magnolia Lane to his self-described “happy place.” But by the time the Australian golfer surfaced at the range, he was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by players with handshakes, smiles and hugs.

Smith said he believes the LIV-PGA Tour discourse has been “wound up” too much and that he doesn’t think there’s any hatred between players on either tour.

“I just think there’s too much rubbish going on.” Smith said. “For me, I spent an hour out there and seen lots of familiar faces and it’s been nice. We’re all happy where we are.”

Part of the scene on the range on Monday included several LIV players catching up with PGA Tour members. Most of the former were wearing their LIV team logos and colors, while a few had “Golf Saudi” staff bags.

When asked if he was contractually obligated by LIV to wear team gear, Smith confirmed that he was, and that he was planning on wearing it should Augusta not have any issues with the decision. Smith did bring a replica of his wardrobe, however, without the LIV logos. Just in case.

“Unless it’s a problem for these guys,” Smith said, as an Augusta moderator wearing a green jacket sat next to him, “I’m going to wear it.”

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