The Open Championship winner Cameron Smith has opened up about his fear of being excluded from Masters events in 2023 after joining the lucrative LIV Golf breakaway group.
The sport’s four majors all have different entry criteria, and being in the World’s Top 50 is one of main ways to qualify for the Masters, the first major of 2023.
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With officials so far refusing to award rankings points to LIV Series events, that could rule some notables out of a trip to Augusta National in April.
Many others, including Australia’s World No.2 Smith, still qualify on exemptions earned with past major wins, unless rules were to change.
Having won the Open Championship and The Players Championship, Smith will qualify for the three American majors for the next five years.
He also can play the Open Championship until he is 60, unless rules change.
And Smith admitted it would be ‘heartbreaking’ if his reported $140 million move to LIV Golf stopped him from competing at Augusta.
“I hope (I can play). Obviously, I can’t speak for them (Augusta). I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get back there,” Smith told ABC Radio.
“It’s a place I love, and I’ve got a pretty good record around there, too. So it would be pretty heartbreaking if I couldn’t get back there.”
If Smith were to play, he would be amongst the favorites having placed in the Top 10 four times in just six attempts.
Only this year, Smith secured the lead at Augusta only to fade in the back-half of the final round.
Smith won the Chicago LIV Golf event after joining the breakaway group, before falling short in Boston.
The Aussie has one more individual event in Jeddah, before the final team tournament held in Florida.
Smith went on to suggest he will be returning to Australia after the event for an extended stay.
“After Miami, I’ll probably spend another week in the US and then I’ll come down and play. I’ll basically stay through there until probably the start of February,” he added.
PGA star backs LIV golfers to play Augusta
When it comes to eligibility to majors, Smith has found support in rising PGA Tour star Cam Davis.
The Aussie prospect would like to see all LIV players who would ordinarily qualify, be allowed to compete at all four majors.
“You obviously want to say you beat the best, so I’m happy for people who should be in a major to be playing in a major,” Davis told AAP on Wednesday.
“To be honest, obviously a major is a major. The history behind the trophy is what you are playing for.
“I have got no issues with those guys that deserve to be there coming back and playing those ones. They should be for everyone.”
The in-form Davis broke through for his maiden PGA Tour win last year and is eager to take the next step at golf’s biggest events.
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