More major championship wins would be off the table for Australian star Cameron Smith if he defected to LIV Golf, according to his former Presidents Cup captain Ernie Els who says Greg Norman’s breakaway tour can’t be taken seriously as it stands.
Amid growing speculation Smith, who made his major breakthrough by winning last week’s British Open, could join Norman’s tour next year, four-time major winner Els said the 54-hole, no-cut events being played by LIV had “no substance”.
Smith wasn’t among the three new names added to LIV’s roster this week, which Norman said would be the final ones for this year, but his name, and that of fellow Aussies Adam Scott and Marc Leishman, continues to be linked to a LIV move.
Els, a former world No.1, said Smith was in the prime of his career and risked the potential to win more majors and make himself a legend of the game should he take the reported $130m offer to sign with Norman.
“In that position where Cam is now, he‘s in a great position. He’s entering his prime. He’s 28. He’s got time now to win majors and I wouldn’t want to put that under any danger of not happening,” Els said ahead of the Senior British Open.
“So I would not at this stage go on any other tour where I might not play in a major again or be in a position to have to defend myself to play in a major. I would like to just play my golf and put myself up the history books as far as I can go.
“I would stay exactly where I am, do what I do, and the money’s there. It’s already there. The way he‘s playing, you know, the level of golf he’s at, and that he might give up, so I’d stay exactly where I am in my lane and try and win majors.”
Els said it was a “shame” the PGA Tour and LIV Golf couldn’t find some common ground, suggesting the new events could have been played in the “dead season” from September to December as an extra playing opportunity.
But he was adamant the LIV format, with no cuts, and just 54 holes, shouldn’t allow LIV events to offer world ranking points that could also impact their players’ capacity to qualify for the majors.
“I still don‘t see how they are going to get ranking points, and I don’t see them playing all the majors. I just don’t see it,” he said.
“You can’t have a 48-man tour playing no-cut golf and that type of thing and expect the world to take you seriously.
“You know, it’s just not going to happen, and I don’t care how much money you throw at it. It’s just not going to happen.
“If you had a 72-hole tournament entity, I can get you getting really serious. But 54 holes, I can’t see it. And that means the players are going to lose ranking points.
“Who knows where it’s going to go? But that’s just the way I see it, and you know, it’s unfortunate that golf has come to this point.”