How Cameron Smith was lured to LIV Golf

Golf legend Greg Norman has lured Australian stars Cameron Smith and Mark Leishman to join the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf series with his promise to take a 25% stake in one of the tour’s 12 franchises.

Smith, who won the British Open this year and climbed to world number two, reportedly earned $95 million to walk away from the PGA Tour and sign with LIV Golf, becoming the only player ranked inside the top 10 to defect to the Rebel Tour. .

Talking to Sydney Morning Herald Ahead of this week’s fifth LIV Golf event in Chicago, Norman revealed that giving Smith and Leishman a 25 percent ownership stake in All-Aussie outfit Punch GC was an integral part of the successful course, allowing the duo to grow the franchise in Australia and increase their own profits.

Under the proposed business model, Smith and Leishman will be awarded the keys to Punch GC and driving LIV Golf in Australia from 2023.

Cameron Smith at the LIV Golf event in Boston on September 2, 2022.
Cameron Smith at the LIV Golf event in Boston on September 2, 2022.
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“You have to think about it from a Cam’s perspective, he totally understood one thing others struggle to understand: the value that LIV Golf brings, and that new value is the franchise,” Norman told the publication.

“Cam knows it, but he’s probably too young to understand what Keri Packer did in cricket. He did what he did for the players, creating teams and night cricket… Look where he’s evolved from there with the IPL. The value of those teams in India is incredible. This is the new value we offer.

“(Smith) sees the market that Australia offers and the market that, quite frankly, has been deprived of quality players and new value to golf. The Presidents Cup comes in there once every seven to 10 years, sucks the economy and then disappears.”

Greg Norman at the LIV Golf event in Boston.
Greg Norman at the LIV Golf event in Boston.
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Norman also confirmed that a decision on the venue for the Australian leg of next year’s LIV Tour, which will take place two weeks after the Masters in April, would be imminent, but that Sydney or the Gold Coast were the main candidates.

while, Smith has fallen from number two to number three in the world rankingsa slide deck to continue as LIV events are played without global ranking points.

But it wasn’t all bad news for Smith, who was named PGA Player of the Year, presented by the US PGA, and is certain to win another medal for Greg Norman as Australia’s 2022 player.

However, it seems that his career goal to be #1 worldwide has paid off.

Cameron Smith chips at the LIV Golf event in Boston on September 3, 2022.
Cameron Smith chips at the LIV Golf event in Boston on September 3, 2022.
USA Today Sports

Norman submitted the LIV event’s application for official world ranking points in July when he began “application screening”, but he faces an uphill battle to gain approval.

Smith’s next and only chance for world ranking points for the foreseeable future will come at the Australian Open and the PGA Championship in November and December, which he and fellow LIV-turned-Lishman have committed to playing.

Only three Australians have climbed to number one in the world – Norman, Adam Scott and Jason Day – and Smith has missed his chance to become fourth.

Scott remains the second highest ranked Australian at No. 30

World ranking points are crucial for players to qualify for the major tournaments, although Smith has an exemption due to his stunning victory at the British Open in St Andrews.

But other LIV players don’t, a problem that came to light at last week’s European PGA Championship where 17 LIV players took part.

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