Golf rankings becoming ‘obsolete’, says LIV rebel Smith
Published on: 02/01/2023 – 19:32Modified: 02/01/2023 – 19:30
King Abdullah Economic City (Saudi Arabia) (AFP) – British Open champion and LIV Golf rebel Cameron Smith claimed on Wednesday that the world golf rankings were becoming “obsolete” due to the civil war.
The 29-year-old Australian joined the controversial breakaway series last year after becoming world number two.
This followed a string of spectacular performances including winning the 150th British Open at St Andrews, the Players Championship, the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii and the Australian PGA Championship. However, he slipped to fourth in the standings.
The Official World Golf Ranking Board (OWGR) received an application from LIV Golf in July last year, but has yet to make any announcements.
Meanwhile, former world number one Dustin Johnson is down to 46, Bryson DeChambeau is up 24 to 96, while Phil Mickelson is 254th from 38th this time last year.
“To be honest, I tried not to take it that badly,” Smith said on Wednesday as he prepared to play the Asian Tour’s $5 million season opener, the Saudi International, which includes a host of LIV players.
“I think when you go into a tournament you know who you have to beat, whether there’s a world ranking or not. There’s usually seven to eight guys who are in that area and you know they’re going to put up a pretty good fight.
“Of course it hurts. I feel like I’m about to hit number one, and that was definitely something I wanted to tick off. However, the longer it goes on, I think the more these leaderboards become obsolete.”
Smith said it would be difficult to replicate a season like 2022, but he hopes he can get off to a similar start to last year when he won the Tournament of Champions with a record 34 under par.
“I think 2022 would probably be very difficult to save,” said Smith, who started his professional career with a season on the Asian Tour before getting his card on the PGA Tour.
“It’s just about maintaining the same processes, digging deep, working hard on my game. I think that’s really what I have to do. Everything becomes easy when you play good golf.”
There is a question mark over Johnson’s involvement this week. On Wednesday, he withdrew from ProAm for unspecified reasons and his scheduled press conference was also cancelled.
Former Masters champion Sergio Garcia is also on the pitch, returning after right knee surgery in November.
“It went well. I feel like I’m about 95%. I don’t mind swinging anymore. Now it’s just a matter of getting used to stepping holes over and over again said Garcia, 43, who is also set to play the Asian Tour International Series Oman in Muscat next week.
“After three months off, I want to do some laps in myself. We’re going to play these two tournaments and then we’ll have the LIV opener in Mexico before we go to Orlando.
“I will have these four tournaments before Augusta, and it’s just a matter of having a good rhythm and arriving at the Masters in as good shape as possible.”
© 2023 AFP