We’ve reached a point where a golfer has to take a blood oath on their mother’s grave while stabbing a voodoo doll of Greg Norman for me to believe that any of these amoral sociopaths are staying with the PGA Tour. My hopes weren’t high for Cameron Smith, the young Australian who just won the Open Championship, when he responded to a reporter’s question about the Saudi tour after his major victory by acting incredulous and saying, “I just won the British Open and you’re asking about that? I think that’s pretty not that good.”
Cut to Norman, watching the presser, pouring vodka in a glass, and nodding maniacally. If Smith and the Shark’s countryman Cameron Percy is to be believed, not only is the 28-year-old No. 2-ranked golfer leaving, but so is Marc Leishman.
“[It’s] unfortunate, yeah, they’re gone,” Percy said in an interview on RSN Radio.
Oh, no, not Marc Leishman, whatever will we do without his illustrious six wins on the PGA Tour and pudgy frame? As much as I could give a fuck about Leishman, Smith hurts. Up until he foreshadowed this apparent tour change at St. Andrew’s, he was one of golf’s easiest-to-root-for stars.
Smith has seven top 10 finishes this season with three wins, including the Players Championship and the Sentry Tournament of Champions in addition to the Open. Despite a letdown in June, missing the cut at the US Open, the reason it was viewed as a disappointment is that he finished third at the Masters.
Depending on if (when) he makes the jump, one of the next tournaments is the FedEx Cup, in which LIV players are currently suing the PGA for the right to play in.
I’m not going to go into detail about the lawsuit because two groups of old, rich white guys bludgeoning each other with lawyers and squeaky rubber mallets make watching golf thrilling by comparison. (I read some of the back-and-forths, and the PGA is arguing about whether Davis Love III qualifies as a tour rep, while Norman and Sergio Garcia try to orchestrate the dumbest game of entrapment imaginable. So it’s every bit as stupid and tedious as it sounds.)
Even if the FedEx Cup isn’t a major, it’s a popular tournament among golfers because of the payout, and subsequently the fans because of the loaded field. Without Smith, one of the season’s best players, the absence would be felt. Yeah, I’ve been, and will keep, dumping on Smith because taking cash dripping with blood is a deal breaker. It does suck though; all the fun of a rising talent is quashed by a bunch of fat guys in ill-fitting khakis.
Smith’s general aesthetic — wispy facial hair and even wispier mullet — isn’t for me, but I’m not of the majority who find that aspect of him charismatic. I never thought that hairstyle would resurface, save for a few Halloween parties, after Joe Dirt. Clearly, the joke got lost in translation sometime since 2001.
Cameron has a little bit of that endearing ignorance David Spade was able to conjure up during the best movie (not featuring Chris Farley) of his career. Smith’s aloofness makes the game look easy, which is always appealing in a sport as hard as golf. How that detachment is viewed now changes for people who are turned off by the capitalistic all-consuming blob that is the Saudi tour.
As for LIV, they’ll have a golfer free of principles for every generation if Smith joins. Phil Mickelson appeals to the older crowd who hates taxes almost as much as vaccines. Dustin Johnson is an archetype of hedonistic 30-somethings everywhere, bringing his trophy wife to hang out with Donald Trump so they can joke about her blowjob skills when she goes to the bathroom. And finally Smith, the face of the younger generation whose actions are never their fault because the avalanche of shit they swim in was foisted upon them.
The Aussie was pressed further about the Saudi tour after his Open win, and said he has people who worry about the business side of the game.
“I don’t know, mate. My team around me worries about all that stuff, I’m here to win golf tournaments.”
Cool, so direct all hate mail to your manager then? It wasn’t your choice, this is just the world you inhabit? Alright, man.
It’s rare for a golfer to come across as someone you wouldn’t want to smack with a tuna sandwich within three minutes of conversation at a country club. I didn’t use to want to rub mayonnaise and chicken of the sea in Cameron Smith’s face. But I will if he defects.