Australian LIV Golf recruit Travis Smyth has been taken a swipe at the “insane” amount of vitriol being sent the way of he and other players on the controversial Saudi-backed tour after a heavy week in New Jersey.

Phil Mickelson, the highest-paid recruit for Australian legend Greg Norman’s new tour, was heckled by the crowd during last weekend’s event, with a patron screaming “you work for the Saudi royal family” before a tee shot.

The tournament, the third and final LIV event for 2022, was marked with protests by families of victims of the September 11 attacks in 2001, as 19 of the terrorists involved were Saudi nationals.

While Smyth remains one of the lower profile LIV players, he hasn’t been spared from online vitriol. Some of the comments he has attracted on social media after posting vision of him playing include “blood money” and “keep bending that knee to the Saudis”.

Smyth, the world number 429 whose one professional victory came in the 2017 Northern Territory PGA, hit back and declared the amount of attacks from people he didn’t know was becoming too much to take.

“As much as I’d like to interact with everyone on Twitter, I’ll be switching off my comments to people I don’t follow,” he posted on Twitter.

“The amount of negative comments from strangers is insane. FYI to the people who don’t know who I am, I’ll be just fine doing what I love without you knowing me.”

Smyth, 27, has already won just under $1m from the three LIV events despite not finishing higher than 22nd in any of the 48-man, no-cut events. More than $500,000 of that came from the team purse at the opening event in England in June.

But while he made the call to join LIV as one of six Australians who played the first event, that number has dropped to four, and with organisers flagging a move to promotion and relegation for 14 events next season, Smyth’s cash grab may be short-lived.

Rumours abound that Norman is chasing hard the signature of British Open champion Cameron Smith to head an all-Australian team in 2023 with Adam Scott and Marc Leishman that could also squeeze those players down the bottom of the LIV list out of action.

On Monday, American website TMZ Sports reported that a Smith deal to the Saudi-funded LIV Tour was more likely than not.

According to the report, sources suggested “they’d be shocked if the deal didn’t happen”. Smith is unlikely to make his plans known until after the Fed Ex Cup is complete on the US PGA Tour at the end of August.

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