Gary Player Blasts LIV Golf, Cameron Smith: ‘They’ve Declared War on the PGA Tour’

by Nick Geddes

PGA Tour legend Gary Player is the latest to sound off on how he feels about the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

Player, a Golf Saudi ambassador, recently told BBC he would have never joined the breakaway league — even if they offered him a billion dollars. He added that the players joining lack the confidence to go out and win golf tournaments in the future.

“I wouldn’t take a billion dollars for my nine majors on both tours,” Player said. “ [I] worked hard. I had desire. I traveled the world. It was an education, I met wonderful people. How can you ever be a champion playing a tour with 54 holes and no cut? What sort of tour is that? 54 holes, no cut, a team event nobody understands. It’s a tour for people who don’t have confidence in their future. They don’t have the confidence they can be winners. It’s never going to compare to the regular tour. No chance.”

“They’ve declared war on the PGA Tour. They must not expect to play in the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup, play in the majors and all those things. You can’t have your cake and eat it. That’s the bed you’ve chosen, that’s the bed you’ve got to lie in.”

Player, 86, previously spoke in support of LIV Golf. The nine-time major winner told Sky Sports in June that he didn’t blame players joining for the money.

“This tour [LIV], which the Saudis, who by the way are our allies, let’s never forget that,” Player said. “I hear a lot of detrimental things being said, but remember this, the players that are playing there now, they need the money. They’ve got families and I don’t blame them for playing there.”

Gary Player Criticizes Cameron Smith for Joining LIV Golf

Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson are among the biggest names to defect from the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. Six additional players made the jump Tuesday, including Cameron Smith, the No. 2 ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking. Smith, 29, won three events this season including The Players Championship and The Open Championship.

Player questioned as to why an ascending player such as Smith would openly choose to leave the PGA Tour.

“Here’s a young man I really thought was going to be a superstar. Now, what sort of future does he have?” Player said. “Will he be able to realize this great dream of being a champion? I don’t know. I don’t blame [Henrik] Stenson for going. He had no money, so he had to go. But this is a potential superstar. I think his advisors have given him the wrong advice.”

Smith said during his introductory press conference Wednesday that he didn’t sign with LIV Golf just for the money. He emphasized being able to spend more time in his home country of Australia and said he believes LIV Golf is the future.

“I’m really excited to be here,” Smith said, via the Golf Channel. “I think this is the future of golf. I love how it is out here. It’s a little more laidback on the range, the music playing. I love that stuff. I just can’t wait to be a part of this.”