'He Would Be the Biggest Loss': Billy Horschel Laments Cam Smith Likely Leaving for LIV – Sports Illustrated

ATLANTA – Cam Smith declined to speak to reporters after completing the final round of the Tour Championship Sunday on the eve of his expected move to LIV Golf this week for its event outside of Boston.
It’s been a poorly kept secret for weeks, and Smith’s own words have not suggested anything other than leaving the PGA Tour for guaranteed riches with Saudi-backed LIV Golf, which is in the midst of an eight-tournament schedule.
Sports Illustrated reported Saturday that Smith, the reigning Open champion and also winner of the Players Championship this year, will be among six new players signed to LIV contracts and announced this week.
Smith shot a final-round 69 at East Lake and was never really in contention for the FedEx Cup title over the weekend, having skipped last week’s FedEx Cup playoff event at the BMW Championship due to injury.
He was paired for the final round with Billy Horschel, a good friend of Smith's as they both live in the Jacksonville area. Horschel, a huge proponent of the PGA Tour and outspoken when it comes to LIV Golf, said Smith never told him he was leaving—but acknowledged what it would mean if he did.
“If he happens to go, he would be the biggest loss in my mind,’’ Horschel said. “You look at his age, you look at what he’s accomplished, how well he’s played in star-studded events. And you look at the person, he’s a great kid. He represents himself very well. And he does it the right way.
“If he happens to go, he would be a big loss. I’m biased. He’s one of my best friends. He would be the biggest star to leave the PGA Tour at this point in time.’’
Smith came into the Tour Championship ranked second in the world and is by far the biggest get for LIV Golf as it relates to the rankings. Joaquin Niemann, who is also reportedly headed to LIV Golf, is ranked 18th. Dustin Johnson was inside the top 15 when he played the first event outside of London nearly three months ago but has dropped to 21st.
LIV has signed past major champions Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia and Patrick Reed, among others.
Smith was in the running for PGA Tour player of the year and would have made a strong case with a FedEx Cup title. He also won the Sentry Tournament of Champions to start the year in addition to his win at the Tour’s signature event, the Players, and then last month at St. Andrews, where he shot a final-round 64 to claim the Claret Jug.
“As I told him since the Open Championship, I tell him a lot; I’m a big fan of his,’’ Horschel said. “I think the world of him. I’ve always got his back. Whatever he decides I’m still going to be his friend, still going to have his back, still going to hang out with him and go fishing. And I’ll miss him if he decides to go.’’
Bob Harig is a golf writer for Morning Read/SI.com and the author of the book “Tiger and Phil: Golf’s Most Fascinating Rivalry,’’ which was published in April 2022 and can be ordered here.

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