Cameron Smith’s slide down the world ranking after his move to LIV Golf has begun.
Days out from the Australian teeing up in his second event for Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed tour in Chicago, Smith has dropped from No.2 to No.3, a slide set to continue as LIV events continue to be played without world ranking points on offer.
But it wasn’t all bad news for Smith, who was named the PGA Player of the Year, presented by the PGA of America, and he’s all but certain to win another Greg Norman mMedal as Australia’s player of 2022.
His career goal to be world No.1, however, seems shot. Norman LIV’s application for his events to get official world ranking points in July when “examination of the application” began. But he faces an uphill battle to get approval.
Smith’s next, and only, chance to get world ranking points in the foreseeable future will come at the Australian Open and PGA in November and December, which he and fellow LIV convert Marc Leishman have committed to playing.
Only three Australians have ever risen to the world No.1 ranking – Norman, Adam Scott and Jason Day – and Smith has all but forfeited his chance of becoming the fourth.
Scott remains the second-highest ranked Australian at No.30
World ranking points are crucial for players to qualify for major championships, although Smith does have an exemption due to his stunning win in the British Open at St Andrew’s.
But other LIV players don’t, an issue that came to a head at last week’s European PGA Championship where 17 LIV players teed off.
They were heavily criticized by some of the leading players, including Rory McIlroy, who displaced Smith in the No.2 ranking after finishing runner-up to winner Shane Lowry, as well as former world No.1 Jon Rahm.
“They don’t know the history of this event. They are only here because they are trying to get world ranking points and trying to finish in the top 50, and that’s clear as day,” Rahm said.
Last month Norman, the LIV Golf chief executive, sent a letter to his players declaring that “by any fair, objective and impartial review” his events should be awarded Official World Golf Ranking points in the very near future.
“Without LIV’s inclusion, the integrity and accuracy of the rankings themselves are severely compromised,” Norman wrote.
“We trust the members of the governing board of OWGR will understand and appreciate this key consideration, and that they will treat this development with the respect it deserves and consistent with their responsibilities as directors of the Official World Golf Rankings and the duties that attend those directorships.”
American Scottie Scheffler remains world No.1.
World ranking top 10:
1. (1) Scottie Scheffler (USA)
2. (3) Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland) 4
3. (2) Cameron Smith (Australia)
4. (4) Patrick Cantlay (USA)
5. (5) Xander Schauele (USA)
6. (6) Jon Rahm (Spain)
7. (7) Justin Thomas (USA)
8. (9) Will Zalatoris (USA)
9. (8) Collin Morikawa (USA)
10. (10) Viktor Hovland (Norway) 312.25