Cam Smith ready to recover Claret Jug, optimistic about the future of LIV Golf

Cameron Smith arrived at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club on Monday morning with the iconic Claret Jug in hand, ready to finally return it ahead of the 151st British Open this week.

“I thought I was going to do well, but I was actually holding back tears,” Smith said. “A bit of a moment, I guess, that snuck up on me.”

Smith held off Rory McIlroy and Cameron Young at St. Andrews last year to win the British Open with an incredible final round 64, which marked by far his biggest victory to date. It also propelled him to a career-best second place finish in the Official World Golf Rankings.

But shortly after that win, Smith officially made the jump to LIV Golf. He is one of the greatest golfers the Saudi league has brought. And looking back on that decision a year later, something he said was incredibly stressful facing the last major championship of the year last summer, Smith said he had no regrets about of the decision he had made.

“It feels like a long time ago, last year,” Smith said. “I think it all happened so fast for me, really, to be honest, between the decision to leave and come back to Australia and then do it again this year. I wasn’t part of all the trial stuff. J tried to stay as far away from that as possible.

“As I’ve said in the past, the PGA Tour is a great place to play golf, and it will be for a very long time. I don’t think there’s a part of me that made me think that I made the wrong decision in the last eight or nine months.

Cam Smith left for LIV Golf shortly after winning the British Open last season at St. Andrews

Cam Smith left for LIV Golf shortly after winning the British Open last season at St. Andrews (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

LIV Golf will be the focus this week at Hoylake, but for a different reason than last year. With the proposed partnership between LIV Golf, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour currently in the works, there is much to be determined about what the new venture between the once contentious entities will look like. Nothing is finalized yet either, and the US Senate and US Department of Justice are investigating the deal.

Smith tries to stay out of it. He said he avoided legal battles as much as he could, and he hopes LIV Golf has a future – something that is now in question in the proposed framework agreement.

“Absolutely, I’m optimistic,” Smith said. “I think golf is in a great place. There’s obviously a lot of stuff up in the air that no one really knows at the moment. I don’t even think the guys trying to fix it really know what that outcome will look like. Yes, a lot of uncertainty, but I’m optimistic about LIV’s presence in the future.

Smith won six times on the PGA Tour, including three times last season, before leaving for LIV Golf. He went 15 under the week and won the London event, which propelled him to second place in LIV Golf’s individual rankings. Only Talor Gooch, who has won three times this season, is ahead of him. Smith’s team, Ripper GC, is eighth in the tag team competition.

“I think I’m actually a better golfer now than I was last year,” Smith said. “I think the things I had to clean up are progressing. It’s still a bit of a work in progress. »

If all goes well this week, Smith will reunite with the Claret Jug on Sunday night – something he showed ahead of his title defense.

“That’s what I told all my friends,” Smith said. “It will only be a week and we will drink it again.”

Leave a Comment