Veteran Queensland golfer Rod Pampling says it’s a “shame” not knowing whether Cam Smith will eventually be remembered as a “legend” of golf due to his defection to LIV.
Smith, the 2022 British Open champion, won six times on the PGA Tour before switching to the Saudi-backed LIV golf league in August last year.
And while Smith has won three LIV events, Pampling seemed unsure how the LIV feats would stack up against success on the PGA and DP World (European) tours when players’ overall career achievements were compared.
“It’s an interesting time with LIV Golf … there’s not the PGA TOUR wins and the European Tour wins that he (Smith) will be able to build on, and we still don’t know what the future holds for that,” Pampling said ahead Smith’s Australian PGA title defence at Royal Queensland this week.
“It’s a tough one to pick because you’re not going to have these events to put against the players beforehand.
“If they’ve won 20-30 (times on the PGA and DP World tours), and now whatever he’s won, he’s not going to add to that.
“That’s where it’s a tough one to say whether he (will be regarded) as one of the greats of Australian golf.
“Right now, of course he is, and he’s only going to get better as well.
“Can he win the majors when he plays in them? Time will tell but his game is impressive to watch. I think potentially he’s the greatest putter right now out there.
“As long as he keeps doing what he’s been doing he’ll definitely get there.
“It’s just a shame that LIV and the (PGA and DP World tours) have split so much that it doesn’t allow a guy’s career to grow into being just one. It’s going to be this
“It’s an interesting time for the guys coming through, and where are they going to
fit into the legendary status of the game just because they’ve split.”
Players from the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia and LIV. as well as in Pampling’s case, the PGA Champions Tour, will compete for the Australian PGA crown this week.
“That’s the great thing with the Champions Tour and the great thing with golf – at 54 you
can still play competitively against everyone,” said Pampling, who won the SAS Championship in North Carolina last month.
“You’re meeting different athletes across the world and they wish they could be competing at that age still.
“To come back and to win this year was great. We’re still working hard. It’s not like we’re old men playing the game for the sake of it.
“We’re out there working hard, working on the game which then, when you come back home, I feel like I can compete out here.
“I know the golf course which is a huge advantage, so I’m looking forward to a good week.”
Chilean star Mito Pereira has withdrawn from this week’s event at Royal Queensland for family reasons.