Tours collide, crowds welcome Smith home

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Three circuits collided and Brisbane adopted it.

The fairways were lined with thousands of fans to watch LIV Golf star rookie Cameron Smith, European Tour ace Ryan Fox and PGA Tour veteran Adam Scott in the Australian PGA Championship headline group on Thursday.

The DP World Tour and PGA Tour have banned players who have defected to the Saudi-backed alternative, the four majors among the few other places where such coexistence remains possible.

While the championship is co-sanctioned with the European tour, Smith and fellow LIV Tour members Marc Leishman and Wade Ormsby have been cleared to play in Brisbane and next week’s Australian Open.

It was a move welcomed by hundreds of hungry golf fans who were there to watch Smith play at 6 a.m. in his hometown for the first time in three years.

“It was pretty surreal; I was more expecting (people to show up) after nine holes, or around the bend,” Smith said of the scene that greeted him on the 10th tee.

“It was cool and I think the course will get better and better.

“It will be a good weekend to watch the golf.”

Smith and Leishman will attend a LIV Golf event in Adelaide next year and hope to hold one in Queensland, where their insistence the controversial Rebels tour was well received was backed by Thursday’s buoyant crowd.

Smith’s new responsibilities as spokesperson for LIV Golf come the year he reached world No. 2.

“I really enjoyed it, but for sure it’s been a long time,” Smith said of the build-up to Thursday’s first round which included a Greg Norman Medal win, the keys to receiving the city ​​and constant obligations.

Scott, who resisted the temptation to join the lucrative tour and instead chase another major title in the United States, remembers returning for the Aussie swing with the green jacket in 2013.

“(Because of) his rise to stardom this year, he’s been pulled in all sorts of directions, I’m sure,” Scott said.

“But it’s something you learn quite quickly to deal with and I watch quite closely; he does a really good job of concentrating when he needs it and has a good support team.

“I really don’t have too many worries about Cam.

“I hope he can benefit from the experience as well, because that month of golf I returned to (in 2013) is one of the best memories of my career.”

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