Cameron Percy has lifted the lid on Cameron Smith’s intentions, revealing the Open champion is “gone” and will join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.
Smith, 28, was irate when he was asked about his future in the moments following his extraordinary one-shot victory at St Andrew’s last month.
“I just won the British Open and you’re asking about that? I think that’s pretty- not that good,” Smith said.
Pressed on the matter, the Australian was coy.
“I don’t know, mate. My team around me worries about all that stuff, I’m here to win golf tournaments,” he said.
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But Percy, a top-10 finisher at the Wyndham Championship, said his Australian compatriots Smith and Marc Leishman were “gone” and had signed with the financially lucrative LIV Golf Series.
“Unfortunate, year, they’re gone,” Percy told RSN radio.
The extraordinary revelation comes ahead of this week’s FedEx Cup playoff opener, which is expected to see Smith take to the tee amid a court’s hearing into whether three LIV golfers should be permitted to play after defecting to the rebel league.
Percy said the PGA Tour had known for years that a rebel tour was being formed.
“I had a long conversation with (2013 Masters champion) Adam Scott and he was very interesting talking to about it, just where it is,” he said.
“He said he met with these guys (LIV) in 2017 (and) they were ready (to) do all this. So, the tour has known for a long time that this stuff’s in the works.”
Scott has previously been on the record speaking about LIV Golf, saying in April “the schedule that they’re proposing is very appealing to probably most golfers” and he would “consider” making a move too.
Percy, meanwhile, delivered a not-so-subtle dig at those taking the money and defecting, raising the ethical questions around where the money is coming from.
“The more and more you look into it, some people don’t care, some people have got a conscience and do care,’ he said.
“It really comes down to, you know, ‘they just executed 80 people this week, just chopped their heads off’. They’re not the nicest people in the world.
“Do you just look past that and go, ‘Oh well, I’m rich I don’t really care’. It’s a tough one, it really is.”
Smith, the world No.2, was reportedly offered more than $100 million to join the LIV Golf Series.
Should he indeed accept the offer, he will be the highest ranked player to defect.
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Former major winner Ian Baker-Finch last month to ignore the offers and create a legacy in the game by staying in the PGA Tour – something currently he would struggle to achieve in LIV Golf, where tournaments are 54 holes and don’t contain the player strength nor history.
“I know that they are talking to him and many others,” Baker-Finch, who won the Claret Jug in 1991, told SEN radio.
“I hope he doesn’t because I think he can leave a great legacy by winning major championships and becoming the best player in the world.
“I don’t think I need the money. I don’t think it is going to be something that he should do.
“He will be a $100m guy or more now. Does he want to win more majors or does he want the money? I am hoping he stays and leaves a great legacy like a Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy … which he could do. I think Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy and a lot of those guys that still compete and play well in majors, and want to leave a legacy, they’re the guys I would be following.”