PGA Tour boss on Cameron Smith BAN from Players defence: "It's awkward"

PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan talks about his "awkward" decision to ban LIV Golf's Cameron Smith from returning to defend The Players Championship this week. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 8 Mar 2023
PGA Tour boss on Cameron Smith BAN from Players defence: "It's awkward"

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan admits "it's awkward" that LIV Golf's Cameron Smith is not able to return to defend The Players Championship.

Monahan fielded a number of different questions with the media ahead of the flagship PGA Tour event of the season, one of which included whether or not they had copied LIV Golf over their new no cut, limited-field Designated Events set for 2024. 

But it was the subject of 2022 Players champion Smith being absent in his title defence that left Monahan most red-faced, especially after proudly stating last March that the Australian will always "receive a hero's welcome" at famed TPC Sawgrass

Those comments appear to have come back and bitten him in the backside as one of the PGA's brightest stars bolted for LIV Golf in a huge money move soon after he etching his name on the Claret Jug at the 150th Open Championship

Smith's parking space at the venue was this week removed in what was perceived as a cheap and petty dig.  

Still, Smith, who now lives nearby to TPC Sawgrass, has seen the funny side of it all and even stated he might turn up anyway as a spectator

Monahan said:

"Listen, Cam Smith had a great performance in 2022.
"He was a deserved champion.
"I think as I look to this week and I look at the field that we have here and the strength from top to bottom, I think when we leave here on Sunday night we're going to crown another deserving champion.
"To answer your question directly, yes, it's awkward.
"But you know, ultimately that's a decision he made, and we've got an unbelievable field here this week and a history and tradition that one of these 144 is going to go seek to get."

Should Cameron Smith have been invited back to defend The Players this week, despite his new ties to LIV Golf?

Get involved with our latest Poll: