Cameron Smith loses his reserved parking spot at TPC Sawgrass

Cameron Smith loses his reserved parking spot at TPC Sawgrass

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – One of the perks of being the winner of the Players Championship: primo parking for the defending champion.

Cameron Smith, who won the Tour’s flagship event in March, had his reserved parking spot at the front of the TPC Sawgrass parking lot replaced with a more generic sign for “Tour players only” as soon as he announced his decision to join LIV Golf. Smith made it official on Friday, competing in a LIV event on the outskirts of Boston last weekend, and joins the likes of Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, who have been suspended by the PGA Tour for an unspecified period of time for violating its rules and regulations.

“If they go to LIV they don’t have any of their (PGA) Tour privileges at TPC properties,” TPC Sawgrass general manager Derek Sprague said.

Typically, the winner of the Players lives out of town and makes use of the parking spot and other perks at the club only during the week of their title defense the following March. Smith, however, lives locally and practiced and played at TPC Sawgrass on a regular basis since moving to Florida’s First Coast in 2015. Efforts to reach Smith’s agent to find out where Smith plans to practice in the future weren’t answered at present.

Tradition dictates that the flag of the Players champion’s home country fly, and Smith’s Australian flag remains up.

(Interesting side note: South African Tim Clark asked the Tour to fly the flag of Spain in honor of Seve Ballesteros, who died in 2011.)

Cameron Smith’s parking spot has been replaced by a generic “Tour Players Only” sign at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo: Adam Schupak/Golfweek)

But it’s hard to find much else at TPC Sawgrass that reflects its reigning champion. A replica bag with Smith’s winning clubs – he shot a final-round 66 to win by a stroke over Anirban Lahiri – was removed from the pro shop as were photos of the winner that hung in the clubhouse.

Petty? Maybe but it is hard to imagine a player being allowed to benefit from membership perks while suspended… and it is a pretty sweet parking spot.

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