Cameron Smith is hopeful his enhanced pulling power can secure a LIV Golf event for his native Queensland.
The world No.3 and Open winner will aim for a third Australian PGA Championship this weekend at the event’s new Brisbane home at Royal Queensland.
Smith returns for the first time in three years as a force in the sport thanks to a season that included a controversial defection to the Saudi-backed rebel tour that remains at loggerheads with the PGA.
The 29-year-old’s reputation has not been hit though, with Brisbane-born Smith on Tuesday becoming the 52nd person, and first golfer, to receive the keys to the city.
“Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d get the keys to the city,” Smith said.
“I thought it was for important people.”
LIV Golf will enter the Australian market in Adelaide next year, the South Australian government’s support a key factor after initial interest in numerous southeast Queensland venues.
Brisbane hosting the PGA Championship, co-sanctioned by the European Tour and acting as a pathway to the PGA Tour, is another barrier to the state hosting a LIV Golf event.
But in Smith the LIV Tour has the ultimate Brisbane pin-up boy, while chief executive Greg Norman is another iconic Queenslander at the table.
“If I had my way I’d love an event here in Queensland,” Smith said.
“If it’s anywhere in Australia at the moment it’s going to be well received … the welcoming of LIV Golf in Australia has been really positive.
“I can’t wait for Adelaide, but hopefully in the future we can get one in Queensland somewhere.”
Good mate and fellow LIV Tour convert Marc Leishman, who will also tee off at Royal Queensland this week, agreed.
“It does definitely have the vibe and I’m hoping it’s going to move around Australia eventually,” Leishman told the Nine Network.
“It’s going to be amazing in Adelaide, they’re a little bit starved of golf at the moment.
“I see tickets are selling very quickly; I’m excited because it’s pretty close to Warrnambool where I grew up.”
Source : ESPN.com