Memphis, Tenn. — Ryan Palmer Could Feel Cam Smith’s The steps are coming from behind the microphone. After a full round of playing together, he wanted to go for one last shot.
Palmer deliberately framed a question about the BMW Championship about the big narrative that has been consuming golf this season, saying, “That’s what we do here, there’s always somewhere to go upstairs and play. There’s always something.” The narrative in which Smith has become a central figure. “We’re not just playing for money.”
Smith is the newest golfer Rumored to be joining LIV Golf soon And he’s only two shots behind the lead in Sunday’s FedEx St. Jude Championship. If he wins this tournament he will climb to No. 1 in the world rankings.
And running with that shows just how bad it can be for the PGA Tour. His gallery picked up steam just like he did on the last nine. by winning the Players Championship and Open ChampionshipAnd by doing so with that distinctive mullet of his, he built a brand through the PGA Tour.
A brand that’s going strong right now with a lot of golfers hoping to stay loyal to the PGA Tour. A brand that LIV Golf has reportedly valued at $100 million. A brand that can be as painful to lose as any big name that has already been abandoned.
Just imagine if Smith left the PGA Tour after winning one of his signature events (The Players) at the end of the year, and then after the end of the season the Tour spent more than a decade trying to turn it into a big deal. Is. Imagine if he does it as the No. 1 golfer in the world.
“I had Jordan Spieth, (Matt) Fitzpatrick and (Max) Homa yesterday, and this guy has more fans,” said FedEx St. Jude Championship volunteer standard bearer Nick Johnson. “He yells at her more today than all three combined.”
Some aren’t what you’d ever expect on a golf course, at least until this year.
“$100 million man!” A patron shouted as Smith moved to No. 14.
“sell out!” shouted another.
“Don’t go to Liv!” Smith pleaded for landing under the 17th fairway.
But there were far more cheers than cheers. It’s not another situation like last year, when Bryson DeChambeau’s critics outplayed his champion. Sunday Fall at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship,
Smith got a loud roar when he was presented on the 18th green and took selfies with fans to sign his scorecard.
“The last few weeks at home basically saying hello to anyone or can’t go out to dinner without a picture,” Smith said of the recent notoriety after winning the Open Championship. “So it’s fallen apart a little bit, but yeah, still getting used to it.”
Austin Allen, for example, went all the way from Murray, Kentucky to participate in Saturday’s third round. His plan was to follow Scotty Scheffler, the current number 1 in the world. Those plans went awry when Schaeffler, who generated headlines Crossing Smith’s line of sight when he lined up a put in the first round, he missed the cut.
What golfer Allen chose to follow instead? Smith. And the Australian made a particularly lovely impression on the seventh hole.
He hit his tee shot too far into the crowd. It even broke a fan’s cell phone.
“What’s your telephone number?” Smith asked him, according to Allen. “I’ll buy you a new phone.”
He can definitely afford it.
But the PGA Tour can’t afford to keep going like this for Smith. To become the best golfer in the world just ahead of Bolt for the Saudi-funded LIV golf series, which lured Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and DeChambeau before him.
The stakes are high on Sunday, and Smith hasn’t been distracted by him, or by Palmer, or by any controversy currently swirling around him.
“I’m just trying to hit the best shot,” Smith said.
And, perhaps, give the PGA Tour the nightmare it desperately needs to avoid.