At this point, nothing is surprising about it; Cameron Smith likely to be heading to LIV Golf following the 2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship, and the PGA took one last parting shot at Smith before his round on Sunday with a bogus penalty assessment from Saturday’s round. In the explanation of the penalty, the PGA officials handed out a sheet of paper to media members stating what happened and why the assessment of the two-stroke penalty was in effect for Smith before even stepping foot on the TPC Southwind Course in the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
The explanation is given as followed; ” Prior to the start of the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, Cameron Smith was assessed a two-stroke penalty for a breach of Rule 14.7 ( Playing a ball from the wrong place) on hole No.4 during the third round as he was operating under Rule 17.1 ( when a ball is in penalty area). Smith’s score has been adjusted, and he will begin the final round at 201 (-9). Final-round pairings will not be adjusted.”
I get it, rules are rules, and they need to be followed as such. However, where were the rules official on Saturday of the FedEx St. Jude Championship when the alleged infraction took place? Why wasn’t it caught then? Why in the world are we deciding to punish Cameron Smith on Sunday of the FedEx St. Jude Championship round when Smith was pushing to earn a number one ranking and another Championship to his resume? How it was handled with the bogus ruling was unfair to Cameron Smith. Also, to the Golf fans who came out on Sunday to watch Smith chase a 2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship. Even if he does leave the Tour for LIV Golf, punishing a guy for something like this isn’t right. It sets a standard that the PGA should be careful of following as the game of Golf continues to grow among the younger generations.
From the outside looking in, the conspiracy that the PGA was trying their hardest to slow the roll of Cameron Smith and to punish him for defecting to LIV is a very viable and peculiar standpoint. At this point, it would not be shocking for this to be the case, but either way, today was a bad look for both the PGA and Cameron Smith. Punishing a guy right before his round on Championship Sunday of the Fed Ex St. Jude Championship is hard to overcome. Smith handled it with the class as he tried to find the correct mental space to continue to compete in the 2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship. As expected, the ruling was too much to overcome as Smith struggled to find constancy to finish the Championship round on a high note.
At the end of the day, no matter if a Golfer decides to leave the PGA or if he decides to stay with it, it’s a business decision and shouldn’t be taken so personally. At the end of his round today, Cameron Smith had nearly twenty cops escorting him back to the Clubhouse at TPC Southwind. It’s sad that as a collective group, we can’t treat men on Tour with the same respect that all of us as Golfers strive to show each other every day we compete.