Aussie golfer Cameron Smith has been named one of three nominees for the PGA Tour player of the year, despite recently announcing his defection to LIV Golf.
The Australian has had a stellar year including a huge win at the British Open, and a rise to number two in the rankings so has rightfully been recognised by the tour.
The only caveat is that the award is voted on by fellow PGA Tour players, the majority of which have thrown up stark opposition to the Saudi Arabian-backed golf league.
The nominees for Player and Rookie of the Year are out.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 5, 2022
Player of the Year
⭐️ Rory McIlroy
⭐️ Scottie Scheffler
⭐️ Cameron Smith
Rookie of the Year
⭐️ Tom Kim
⭐️ Sahith Theegala
⭐️ Cameron Young
The nomination comes just days after teeing up for the first time as part of the league at The Oaks golf course in Boston, a competition he picked up nearly $1.5 million after finishing fourth.
It also comes as Smith and the latest batch of LIV signees such as fellow Aussie Marc Leishman found themselves suspended from the PGA Tour.
Fellow nominees for the award are FedEx Cup champion, Rory McIlroy who has slammed LIV defectors recently, as well as world number one Scottie Scheffler.
McIlroy recently claimed that younger players who were joining the LIV league were ‘taking the easy way out’, according to Bleacher Report.
He said: "In Phil (Mickelson's) case, early 50s. Yeah, I think everyone in this room would say to themselves that their best days are behind them. That's why I don't understand for the guys that are a similar age to me going because I would like to believe that my best days are still ahead of me, and I think theirs are, too."
With the vote being cast by fellow tour members who played in at least 15 FedEx Cup events the award is expected to have a bit more of a political sway behind it.
McIlroy hasn’t won a major this year, however, won the Tour Championship and finished in the top eight in all four of the major competitions.
Scheffler, meanwhile, won the Masters and came second in the US Open.
Last week, Cameron Smith confirmed he had made the move over to the new tour, with reports that he is set to earn more than $130 million.
To Smith’s credit, the golfer has admitted that a whole lot of cash was definitely a deciding factor in joining the league.
Speaking to Golf Digest, he said: “[Money] was definitely a factor in making that decision, I won’t ignore that or say that wasn’t a reason.
“It was obviously a business decision for one and an offer I couldn’t ignore.”
Smith’s move certainly signalled the highest-profile signee for the league, with the Australian ranked second in the world at the time.
Don’t expect a coronation coming Smith’s way once the PGA Tour player of the year is announced.
Featured Image Credit: PA Images / Alamy. Zuma Press / Alamy.
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