Cam Smith was given a two-shot penalty during Saturday’s third round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship. He wasn’t informed about the penalty, however, until just before he started his final round on Sunday. The timing has golf fans linking the penalty to the rumors of him moving to LIV Golf.
Smith was informed of the penalty less than an hour before his final round tee time, with the PGA Tour making the announcement 15 minutes before he took to the first tee. The Australian was set to begin his final round at 11-under, just two shots behind leader J.J. Spaun. Instead, he’ll start his Sunday four shots back at 9-under par.
Gary Young, the PGA Tour’s Chief Referee, called it an “unfortunate situation” and that in the moment rules officials thought the drop Smith took on the Par 3 4th hole was fine. After sleeping on it, officials came back and changed their minds on Sunday morning.
Young adds that Cam Smith was a "complete gentleman."
— Brentley Romine (@BrentleyGC) August 14, 2022
Officials deeming that Smith made an improper drop, and Smith admitting to doing so, is the end all be all here, but the timing of this couldn’t be worse for the PGA Tour.
Earlier this week it was reported that Smith has signed on with LIV Golf for a fee of over $100 million. He was reportedly offered the deal prior to The Open, which he went on to win at St. Andrews.
Smith was asked about the report during his press conference on Tuesday ahead of this week’s first FedEx Cup Playoff event in Memphis.
“My goal here is to win the FedEx Cup playoffs, that’s all I’m here for, I have no comment on that,” Smith explained.
Cameron Smith hits us with the “no comment” when asked about joining LIV Golf pic.twitter.com/WY7OmfDaUF
— Jacob Hallex (@jacob_hallex) August 9, 2022
Perhaps Smith was a “complete gentleman” while being handed a two-shot penalty a full day later because he already has his sights set on the Saudi-backed circuit. That, or he’s just a level-headed guy who understands rules are rules. Nevertheless, the golf world is going to speculate on this one for a while, especially if the Aussie does make the jump to LIV Golf.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris