Cameron Smith says he doesn't believe those in charge of trying to 'sort out' men's professional golf even know what the outcome of the PGA Tour's agreement with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund will look like as he argued the case for Greg Norman to stay put as LIV Golf's chief executive.
The 29-year-old will begin his Open Championship defence on Thursday at Royal Liverpool.
Smith told the media he became unexpectedly emotional when he had to give back the Claret Jug.
"I just had to hand back the trophy there," he said to a room full of reporters on 17 July. "I thought I was going to do all right, but I was actually holding back from tears."
In the immediate aftermath of his maiden major victory he was caught up in a tense exchange with a reporter about whether or not he would join LIV Golf.
Smith has previously alluded to his frustration at the question but has since conceded it was 'just one guy trying to do his job'.
In the same month Smith was announced as LIV Golf player, reportedly for the sum of $100m, the court battle began.
Arguments about discovery followed and the case was pushed back further and further.
But the golf world was turned on its head once again on 6 June 2023 when Jay Monahan and LIV mastermind Yasir-Al-Rumayyan confirmed all litigation was to end after the PGA Tour struck a 'framework agreement' with the PIF.
There has been speculation that this could be the death knell for the rival league, but Smith claims he has been given assurances LIV Golf 'will be around in the future'.
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There was also some chatter that as part of this agreement Greg Norman's position could be surplus to requirements.
Smith hopes Norman will stay on. "He's looking out for our best interests," Smith said. "That's all you can ask of a guy that's running the show."
Smith contended that he's 'still the same person' and his old man would 'give me a clip around the ears' if he was any different.
"Yeah, it does seem like a long time ago, last year," Smith said: "I think it all went so quick for me, really, to be honest, between the decision to go and then being back in Australia and then starting again this year. I wasn't a part of all the lawsuit stuff. I tried to stay as far away from that as possible."
Smith said the most stressful part of the last 12 months was trying to make the decision. "And then it was almost like a breath of fresh air getting out there and playing golf again."
Who wins The Open Championship?— GolfMagic (@GolfMagic) July 17, 2023
Smith said he hasn't noticed any difference in how he was perceived.
He said: "I think when I went down to Australia to play the PGA and The Open at the end of the year, there was no public kind of uproar of me switching tours. They were just happy to see me there playing golf."
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