After writing that post at 9am yesterday, Cam Smith was assessed a 2-stroke penalty at 11am for having his ball drop on a red line in round 3, hole 4. The penalty was enforced almost 18 hours after it happened and 2 hours before he was to tee off. Starting a tournament 4 off the lead, instead of 2, will have major implications on course strategy. Besides, does this look like he gained an advantage on the shot?
People’s takes vary from rule are rules, to the timing was unfortunate, to who is catching this after the fact and reporting it when the on course officials miss it? Amazingly, this isn’t that hard of a situation to digest. Earlier in the week, Cam Smith was reported to agree to a $100 million dollar deal with LIV. This was confirmed when Scottie Scheffler walked through his line in round 1.
The reason Cam Smith was allowed to play in this tournament, unlike Gooch, Jones, and Swafford, was because he never hit a ball during live Liv play. If you’re going to tell me that his intention to sign with LIV and the PGA rules officials don’t intertwine, I’ll show you the exit. What this does to fans like me is to dislike the tour. When governing officials can create results, then your sport is tainted. I’ve seen Patrick Reed scoop out sand before hitting his shot with no penalty retroactively added. What they did to Cam Smith was petty, childish, and cost me a shot at money which is the most important. If the penalty would have happened in real time, it’s not an issue. This was a major black eye on the PGA and their immaturity trying to play hard ball with LIV. I love golf and enjoy betting on it, but when your game can be manipulated, you’ll lose me as a fan.