The Saudis’ seize of Cameron Smith punctures, as soon as and for all, the narrative that LIV Golf is nothing greater than a twilight zone for superannuated almost males and has-beens. For the Australian, belying his picture as a fishing-obsessed larrikin, occurs to be probably the most in-form participant on the planet.
At 28, he’s the world No.2, quick closing in on Scottie Scheffler on the summit. He has simply received an Open at St Andrews with arguably the best again 9 in main championship historical past. Smith broke the PGA Tour’s scoring document in January, ending the season-opener in Hawaii on a frankly obscene 34 underneath par.
If LIV really is “the circus,” because the PGA Tour’s Ryan Palmer alleged this week, then Smith is something however the resident clown.
His signing is arguably the Saudis’ most important coup, and will characterize a tipping level – a second the place a gilded freak present turns right into a sporting occasion which may demand the world’s consideration.
It additionally makes you surprise which gamers may very well be subsequent: Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama has lengthy been linked, however what worth different rising stars akin to Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Scheffler? Immediately, nothing is off the desk – significantly with the sums being dangled in entrance of these being courted.
Ought to Smith maintain his dazzling streak, his $US100 million-plus signing-on price (about $141 million) can be simply the beginning. In any case, the three LIV occasions thus far have been received by Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace and Henrik Stenson, all ranked outdoors the world’s high 100 and all struggling even to make a lower earlier than the cheques from Riyadh landed.
You may see why the preliminary contact from Greg Norman, LIV’s ringmaster, turned a proposal Smith couldn’t refuse. Stenson, a 46-year-old who has failed to achieve the weekend in seven of his previous 9 majors, is the kind of participant he needs to be beating for breakfast. And but the Swede, shortly forgetting his defenestration as Ryder Cup captain, earned extra for a glorified three-day exhibition at Bedminster than Smith did for successful the a hundred and fiftieth Open on the residence of golf.
From Smith’s perspective, that is an imbalance that urgently wants correcting. If he takes residence the utmost loot of £3.93 million ($5.77 million) on his LIV debut in Boston subsequent month, he would eclipse even the £2.98 million he earned on the Gamers Championship in Might, in what was then the richest prize ever provided by a single golf match. Why ought to the main man tolerate making lower than some forgotten members of the refrain line?