The highly-anticipated Players Championship commenced Thursday at TPC Sawgrass in Jacksonville, but there were many notable names missing, including last year’s winner and local resident Cameron Smith.
The 29-year-old Australian is banned from defending his crown since he joined LIV Golf last August and thereby cannot compete in this PGA event. Smith was not going to just stay home and watch others invade his backyard, though. He decided that it was still the perfect day to get in a quick round of golf.
Smith played nine holes at a course just minutes away from Players Stadium Course where the tournament was being held. Whether he wanted to stay sharp or just take a jab at the PGA, Smith certainly made some headlines. His practice exhibition should not come a complete surprise, as the seven-year Jacksonville resident suggested he would even make an appearance at The Players Championship.
Cam Smith says he might go to The Players and watch some of the action. You’ve got to love this guy, he literally gives no shits. He should try and get into the players meeting! 🤣
— Flushing It (@flushingitgolf) March 6, 2023
The home course advantage worked in his favor in 2022 when he put together a 13-under par performance. Smith then proceeded to enjoy the greatest year of his professional career, coming back to win his first major title at The Open Championship. He ascended to No. 2 in the world rankings and had announced himself as the next star on the PGA. The newfound glory was apparently not enough to keep him away from LIV, though.
Tension has been mounting for a long time now between the two tours, with several big names Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson signing on to play for the upstart golf league.
The PGA held their ground at this prestigious event, and will now hope Smith does not cause a huge distraction by buying a weekend ticket to the rest of the proceedings.