Golf: No. 2 Smith pushes for LIV Golf ranking points ahead of debut

Australia's Cameron Smith competing in the TOUR Championship, on Aug 27, 2022, in the US. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK - Reigning British Open champion Cameron Smith said on Wednesday that major tournaments could be harmed if players in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series do not receive world ranking points.

The world number two from Australia, who made the move on Tuesday, spoke ahead of his Friday debut at the LIV Golf Invitational Boston.

"It's really a shame we're not getting world ranking points out here," Smith said.

"To the fans of major championship golf, it may be a little bit unfair on them.

"I think majors is about having the best guys in the best field on the best golf courses. Hopefully, we can sort that out."

There will be 13 of the world's top 50 playing in this week's event and 26 of the world's top 100 have switched to the circuit, which offers record US$25 million (S$35 million) purses for 54-hole events.

"To have 48 of the best guys around the world playing and not to get world ranking points, I think is perhaps a little bit unfair," Smith said.

His compatriot Marc Leishman said the majors could miss out on top LIV players such as Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau and Sergio Garcia.

"As far as the majors and all that go, I think it could potentially hurt them having some guys potentially miss out because they are not offered world ranking points here," Leishman said.

"As a golf fan that's hard for the top tournaments, but hopefully it sorts itself out." Smith triumph in July at St Andrews ensured him of spots in majors for the next five years under current rules.

"I hope these world ranking points will sort themselves out before my exemption is up," Smith said.

Smith hopes to be able to compete against world number one Scottie Scheffler, FedEx Cup playoffs winner Rory McIlroy and other PGA Tour stars at least when the majors come around.

"Not having those top guys is a little bit of a shame," Smith said. "But hopefully I can see them four times a year and be able to compete against them and show them I've still got it."

More time Down Under

Smith played the PGA Tour's playoff events in August, evading questions about reports he was leaving.

"There has been a lot of stuff up in the air over the past month or so but I'm here to play the best golf I can," Smith said.

Another key factor, Smith said, was more time off to spend at home in Australia.

"I haven't been back in Australia for three years," he said.

"To spend more time at home, not missing out on friend and families' weddings... that's going to be a part of my life I can't wait to get back."

Smith would like to see LIV stage an event in Australia.

"We're working on it. I think it would be awesome for Australian golf," Smith said. "Australia needs another event. To bring this new, exciting format to Australia I think will be embraced."

Smith also said he spoke with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and other players before departing. AFP

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