PONTE VEDRA COASTLINE, Fla.– Tiger Woods isn’t the only acquainted name missing out on at the Players Championship today.
Defending champ Cameron Smith, that had 8 one-putts in the last 9 openings to win by a stroke over India’s Anirban Lahiri in 2015, likewise isn’t at TPC Sawgrass to protect what was at the moment the largest triumph of his occupation.
About 4 months after winning the supposed “fifth major,” Smith declared a real significant champion when he overcame at the 150thOpen Championship at St Andrews inJuly Following the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship concerning a month later on, Smith authorized a multiyear agreement with the LIV Golf circuit, which is funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
“Would it be better if the defending champion was here this week? Absolutely,” stated Rory McIlroy, that won the Players in 2019. “But he made a decision that he felt was the best thing for him, and he knew that decision was going to come with consequences, and one of the consequences is right now not being able to play on the PGA Tour.”
Smith isn’t the only leading finisher from a year ago that isn’t in this week’s area. Lahiri as well as England’s Paul Casey, that ended up third in 2022, are currently playing in the LIV Golf League, as are Harold Varner III as well as Dustin Johnson, that ended up in the leading 10.
Even without the LIV Golf players, 44 of the leading 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking as well as 29 of the leading 30 in the FedEx Cup Playoff factors listing remain in the area.
World No 1 golf player Jon Rahm stated he has actually constantly thought that a protecting champ ought to have an area in a competition the following year. But Rahm thinks Smith’s circumstance is various.
“We’re talking about different circumstances right now,” Rahm stated. “Some players made a choice of going to a different golf league knowing that they weren’t going to be allowed to play here. And yes, this is a massive event. It is very close to a major, but it’s still a PGA Tour event. So with that regard, no, I don’t think just him should be allowed to be here.”
Making matters much more awkward is that Smith, from Australia, had actually relocated to Ponte Vedra Beach, where the PGA Tour is headquartered. He exercised at TPC Sawgrass.
“Listen, Cam Smith had a great performance in 2022,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan stated. “He was a deserved champion. I think as I look to this week and I look at the field that we have here and the strength from top to bottom, I think when we leave here on Sunday night we’re going to crown another deserving champion.
“To address your inquiry straight, yes, it’s uncomfortable. But you understand, eventually that’s a choice he made, as well as we have actually obtained an extraordinary area right here today as well as a background as well as practice that of these 144 is mosting likely to go look for to obtain.”
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