Cameron Smith vows to finish PGA Tour season despite refusing to rule out LIV Golf move

Cameron Smith holds the Claret Jug trophy after winning The 150th Open at St Andrews Old Course - MB Media/Getty Images
Cameron Smith holds the Claret Jug trophy after winning The 150th Open at St Andrews Old Course - MB Media/Getty Images

Cameron Smith has committed to the remainder of the PGA season, despite the Saudi-backed rebel series preparing to unveil new names this week.

The 150th Open champion's potential defection to LIV Golf is not understood to be imminent, and he will compete at the FedEx Cup play-off event next month.

Other rebels could be added to the roster in the next few days. Telegraph Sport revealed on Sunday how LIV chief executive Greg Norman is pursuing the prospect of an entirely Australian team including Smith and Adam Scott.

Smith declined to rule out eventually signing up to his compatriot's breakaway in the immediate aftermath of staging one of the finest back nines in Old Course history.

LIV supremo Norman had been the last Australian to lift the Claret Jug in 1993 and Smith did nothing on Sunday night to kill rumours he could join the rebels.

He initially said it was "not good" to be asked about the breakaway, which has been an unwelcome sideshow this past week. "I don't know, mate," he eventually replied. "My team around me worries about all that stuff. I'm here to win golf tournaments."

Greg Norman, CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf - Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf via Getty Images
Greg Norman, CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf - Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf via Getty Images

In the wake of Sunday’s result, Norman said on Twitter: “A spectacular final round mate. A triumph for you and for Australia as the first Australian to win in 29 years. You’re in good company. Enjoy every moment of your The Open victory.”

However, Smith has since told Australian journalists he will play at the FedEx Cup play-off next month. "I think 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," the Brisbane-born winner said of his victory on Sunday. "This place is so cool. I love the golf course. I love the town."

The 28-year-old dashed St Andrews crowd hopes by extending Rory McIlroy's wait for another major to nine years. However, there were no family members present to celebrate with Smith as they had been put off flying the round trip from Queensland. On Monday, his father Des, speaking from his home in Australia, described how the pair had now had an emotional phone call to catch up on Smith's heroics.

Speaking to Golf Digest, Smith Snr said: “I was bawling my eyes out speaking to him. I'm so proud of him. All the hard work he's done has paid off. Nothing surprises me any more. He is so talented and has put so much hard work in.”

Asked whether he was going to follow his son in enjoying some beers to celebrate, his father added: “She's early at the moment, but I might have a few XXXX Golds later in the day.”

Smith had paid tribute to his influential father - who has played off scratch himself – after Sunday’s final round, saying: “I really wish he was here ... Dad loves his golf as well. It would have been awesome.”

His father said in response: “When he made those five birdies in a row, that's when I really started getting really excited. I was going, ‘Oh God, it's game on here’ and then when he missed the green on 17 it was another emotional rollercoaster. I had a chat with him for a couple of minutes before I broke down. He was having a dig at me for pulling out and not going. I'll get that for a couple of months.”

Smith carded a flawless final round of 64 – his second such score in the space of three days – to overturn a four-stroke deficit and win by a shot from playing partner Cameron Young. His total of 20 under par surpassed the previous best for an Open on the Old Course, set by Tiger Woods in 2000, by one and sealed a third win of the season for the new world No2.

Smith started the year with a record 34-under-par winning total in the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii following a thrilling duel with then world No1, Jon Rahm. Two months later he won the prestigious Players Championship at Sawgrass and Sunday's victory at St Andrews means he joins Jack Nicklaus as the only men to win the Players and Open in the same season.

Nicklaus, whose double was also sealed at St Andrews in 1978, has now welcomed Smith into their exclusive club. He posted on social media: "Wow, what a back nine of golf and putting at The Open by Cameron Smith! Just fantastic! That was fun to watch. My congratulations to the Champion Golfer of the Year, Cam Smith, on winning his first major and at no better place than the Home of Golf, the Old Course at St Andrews!"

Nicklaus, who had been in St Andrews to be named an honorary citizen of the town, also praised the "tremendous performances" of runner-up Young and third-placed McIlroy. "Really, Rory McIlroy played well all day but never one-putted a green, while Cam had six on his back nine alone," Nicklaus added.

"Cam Smith showed what makes the difference in a tournament, especially a major – who makes the putts coming down the stretch. 30 on the back nine! 64 on Sunday! Unbelievable!"

Smith's previous best finishes in majors both came in the Masters as he finished runner-up at Augusta National in 2020 and was third in April this year. In 2020, with the tournament held in November due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Smith was one shot behind Dustin Johnson after nine holes of his final round, but could play the back nine only in level par to finish five shots behind the winner.