Open champion Cameron Smith has fuelled speculation that he could follow Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson and a host of big names to the breakaway LIV Golf circuit.
Former European No1 Stenson is widely reported to have agreed to join the lucrative Saudi-backed series – a move set to see him stripped of the Ryder Cup captaincy.
And Australian Smith, who claimed his first major title by pipping Rory McIlroy to the Claret Jug on Sunday, refused to rule out making the move to LIV Golf too when asked after his victory at St Andrew’s.
“I just won The Open, and you’re asking about that? I think that’s pretty not good,” he said.
When pressed on what his position on LIV Golf was, he said: “I don’t know, mate. My team worries about all that stuff. I’m here to win golf tournaments.”
Were Smith to join the new circuit, which started this year, he would follow the likes of former world No1 Dustin Johnson, Hall of Fame inductee Phil Mickelson and major winners Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Sergio Garcia.
However other players have firmly rejected the advances of LIV Golf, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, who have both denounced the project’s impact on golf.
The main tours – the dominant, US based PGA Tour and Europe’s DP World Tour – have penalised members who have joined LIV Golf, issuing bans and fines.
Some players have renounced their memberships in order to switch allegiance while others, such as European Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter, have challenged the sanctions through legal avenues.
Stenson’s commitment to LIV, though rumoured for months, would therefore come as something of a surprise given it would mean giving up his role as captain of Europe at next year’s Ryder Cup.
The Swede was named captain in March for the biennial match with the USA in Italy in September 2023. England’s Luke Donald is tipped to replace him if Stenson is forced to relinquish the role.
Smith, meanwhile, said winning the Open was “so cool”. He added: “To win an Open Championship in itself is probably going to be a golfer’s highlight in their career. To do it around St Andrews I think is just unbelievable.”