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Australia will not ban LIV Golf rebels from playing at home

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Australian golfers signing up with the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV series are still welcome to play at home events, the country’s tour chief said, amid reports Open winner Cameron Smith has already agreed to commit to the breakaway -Connect circuit.

The Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship, two of the biggest tournaments on the PGA Tour of Australasia calendar, are co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour, which banned some players from its tournaments in June after playing in an LIV event.

However, Australia is hoping its biggest names can return home after a difficult two years cut short by Covid-19 to give the local tour a boost.

“The players coming home to play are welcome so long as there is no conflicting event,” PGA of Australia CEO Gavin Kirkman told reporters.

“The Australian players coming home from where they are currently playing are eligible to play if they are members of our organization and that has been discussed with the other tours.”

A number of low-profile Australian golfers have signed with LIV, including world No. 82 Matt Jones.

Australia’s Travis Smyth, who ranks outside of the top 400, shared a $1.5 million prize with three players for second place in the team element at the LIV opener outside of London in June.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Australia’s top player Smith, world No. 2, has signed a deal worth more than $100 million to join LIV in a major breakaway series coup.

LIV and Smith, who are competing in the FedExCup playoffs beginning later Thursday in Memphis, have declined to comment on the report.

Smith said after winning the Open he was keen to return to Australia for a few events.

LIV has announced it will be expanding into Australia next year and local golf media reported that the series, led by CEO Greg Norman, could have three events in the country in 2023.

That could bring many big-name players to Australia, which has often struggled to attract them to events due to distance and relatively modest prize money.

Kirkman said his tour couldn’t control how LIV operated in the country and that it had to mind its own business.

“Some people will love it and some people won’t, but when it comes to Australia we need to be in a position where we can focus on our strategy,” he said.

“Will it be good for the game? What I don’t want right now, and what I don’t like hearing and reading about, is people arguing about what’s good for the game and what’s not.

“If (fans) get out and see some golf in a different format, that’s on them.”

Reuters

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/golf/australia-liv-golf-cameron-smith-b2143170.html Australia will not ban LIV Golf rebels from playing at home

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