In a recent interview with GOLF’s Josh Sens, Cameron Smith expressed disappointment that, as a LIV golfer, he’s banned from defending his Players Championship title at TPC Sawgrass this week.
“It stings a bit,” he said. “But with my decision to come over to LIV, that was one of the things I had to give up, and I’m at ease with it.”
Smith actually lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., home of TPC Sawgrass, and mentioned that he might go to the tournament and watch the action.
“I’d love to get out there [as a spectator],” he said. “I don’t know how it would be received. But going out there and walking around in the crowd might be pretty funny.”
As it turns out, on Thursday, Smith did make an appearance at Sawgrass — just not at the course at which the Tour is playing.
According to Golfweek, Smith posed for pictures and played with friends at The Yards, a publicly-accessible nine-hole course and six-hole “Beer Loop” less than two miles north of TPC Sawgrass.
The Yards opened in 2020 and lists its nine-hole green fee at $40. Like TPC Scottsdale, it’s part of the Sawgrass Players Club — a collection of recreational facilities and amenities for the 16 neighborhoods that comprise the area’s homeowners’ Master Association.
Smith’s last tournament on the PGA Tour was the Tour Championship, where he placed 20th. He made the jump to LIV soon after, effectively forfeiting his right to play this year’s Players Championship, given all LIV golfers have been banned from the PGA Tour.
“It’s awkward,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said on Tuesday of Smith’s absence. “But, you know, ultimately that’s a decision he made.”
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