Adelaide has won the race to host Australia’s first LIV golf tournament, with international stars including Cameron Smith taking their turn at The Grange Golf Club next April.
The Adelaide course has been chosen by the LIV CEO Greg Norman-led breakaway league to host the three-day tournament from April 21-23 as part of a 14-stop global schedule.
Norman said South Australian Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas’ “phenomenal” response was key to winning the deal. Adelaide Advertiser that he will “never forget” his first phone call with the leader.
The “Great White Shark” said in a statement that there was “huge potential” for Australia to play a part in the Saudi Arabia-backed competition that also includes big winners Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia play.
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has announced that Adelaide will host the first Australian event of the Rebel Tour
The US PGA Tour does not play top tournaments in Australia, with big names being lured only by the Presidents Cup, which was last contested in Melbourne in 2019.
“A passion for sport is at the heart of Australian culture and LIV Golf is proud to bring its global competition to a country that deserves the best competition in the world,” said Norman.
“This is an opportunity to grow the game with generations of Australians and connect them with star players like Cameron Smith who are building a new platform for golf around the world.
“There is huge potential for Australia to play a bigger role in this great sport, and I couldn’t be more excited to present Adelaide for the debut year of our competition.”
Local hero Cameron Smith returns home to compete in Australia’s first LIV Golf event to be held in Adelaide
Meanwhile, Smith has called for an end to the PGA Tour’s “minor” decisions that keep LIV golfers from playing the four majors.
Golf’s leading body The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A) has almost fully approved for Smith to defend his title at The Open which he won on this year’s PGA Tour.
But a decision as to whether LIV defectors can play in PGA events The Masters, USPGA Championship and US Open remains up in the air.
As it stands, the PGA Tour has imposed an unlimited ban on LIV golfers and the DP World Tour is trying to do the same, pending a court decision.
Smith earned a five-year exemption from playing all four majors thanks to his win at The Open this year, but he wants politics set aside so fellow LIV golfers can also play PGA Tour events.
“I think the majors really should be above all politics,” Smith told The . Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
“If they really want the best product and the best players in the world playing against each other, they should let us play. There’s no reason other than playing another tour that should suggest we shouldn’t play.
“We are certainly good enough players. We should have those places.’
Smith wants the arguments from both sides to end so that golf becomes the ultimate winner, despite the rift caused by LIV Golf and the player losing the PGA Tour.
“There were things where… there were just little things going on. It wasn’t just one side. I’m hopeful that all of that will really die out. It would be nice because it’s not golf.
Smith wants ‘minor’ restrictions to prevent fellow LIV golfers like Dustin Johnson (pictured right) from being banned from participating in PGA tournaments, including the majors
“I feel like golf has always been a sport to overcome all these different problems around the world, and it feels like it’s taken a step back.”
The Grange has hosted major professional events, including the West Lakes Classic, where Norman took his first professional win in 1976.
The Victorian government has reportedly declined an approach to LIV, favoring the PGA’s side on the wave field.
British Open champion Smith, fellow LIV rebel Marc Leishman, as well as Adam Scott and Cameron Davis return home this month for a string of tournaments, starting with the Australian PGA in Brisbane.
The event is co-sanctioned with the DP World Tour (formerly European tour) and LIV defectors are allowed to play.