Bubba Watson has warned British Open champion Cameron Smith will “fall off the map”, as the Aussie said on Wednesday that the major tournaments could suffer if players from the Saudi-backed LIV golf series do not earn world-class points.
The world number two from Australia, who made the move on Tuesday, made his debut on Friday at the LIV Golf Invitational in Boston.
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“It’s a real shame we didn’t get the world class points here,” Smith said. “For fans of major championship golf, it might be a little unfair on them.
“I think majors are about getting the best guys in the best fields on the best golf courses. Hopefully we can figure that out.”
Thirteen of the top 50 will play in this week’s tournament, and 26 of the world’s top 100 have switched to the circuit, which offers a record $25 million purse for the 54-hole tournament.
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“I think it’s probably a little bit unfair for the best guys in the world to play 48 and not get world class points,” Smith said.
Smith received support from Watson, who said it was an “unfortunate” reality for the Australian.
“When he becomes the No. 2 player in the world, he falls off the map,” Watson said. “It’s sad. So that’s not the best players in the world [playing in the majors] If you consider such a player.
Compatriot Marc Leishman said the majors could miss out on top LIV players like Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau and Sergio Garcia.
“With the majors and that, I think the reason some guys might miss out is that it might hurt them because there’s no world class points awarded here,” Leishman said.
“As a golf fan, it’s tough for top tournaments, but hopefully he’ll sort himself out.” Smith’s win at St Andrews in July allows him to hold the premiership for the next five years under the current rules.
“Hopefully, these world rankings will sort themselves out before my exemption ends,” Smith said.
Smith hopes to compete with world number one Scotty Scheffler, FedEx Cup playoff winner Rory McIlroy and other PGA Tour stars at least when the majors come.
“It’s a little bit of a shame not to have these great guys,” Smith said. But I see them four times a year and hopefully I can compete with them and show them that I’ve still got it.
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Smith played the PGA Tour’s playoffs in August, dodging questions about reports of his departure.
“There’s been a lot up in the air the last month or so, but I’m here to play the best golf I can,” Smith said.
Another key factor was more time to spend at home in Australia, Smith said. “I haven’t been back to Australia for three years,” he said. “To spend more time at home, to not miss friends’ and family’s weddings… this will be part of my life. I can’t wait to go back.” Smith would like to see the LIV event in Australia.
We are working on it. I think it will be good for Australian golf,” Smith said. “Australia needs another arrangement. I think bringing this new, exciting format to Australia would be embraced. Smith also said he spoke with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and other players before leaving.