Renowned golf analyst Brandel Chamblee has accused Greg Norman of potentially denying fellow Australian, Cameron Smith the opportunity to become one of the greats of the game by tempting him to join LIV Golf last year.
On the eve of the PLAYERS Championship, Chamblee has criticised Norman, the CEO of the Saudi backed LIV Golf Tour, for possibly robbing Smith of becoming the greatest Australian golfer of all time.
Smith, the defending PLAYERS champion, is ineligible to defend his title amid the ongoing feud between the PGA Tour and LIV having joined Norman’s tour shortly after winning the 150th Open Championship.
“It’s ironic to me that it might possibly be an Aussie that will keep another Aussie in Cameron Smith possibly from ascending to a spot where he’s considered the greatest player of all time [from Australia],” Chamblee said to the Golf Channel. “Supplanting Peter Thomson, he had that kind of talent.
“Norman didn’t get there, but [Smith] could have easily supplanted Greg Norman as the second-best player of all time from Australia. That’s, at least in my view, where Cameron Smith was headed.
“That’s what he’s turned his back on and a lot of it has to do with Greg Norman, and Cam Smith got a lot of bad advice from his agents and other people in the game around him trying to suck him into LIV.”
Smith (29) seemed destined to become world number one at the end of 2022 before defecting to LIV and Chamblee feels Norman has robbed him of his best years in the game.
“He had the potential to be an absolute great player,” Chamblee explained. “If you look at the qualities that he had, the age that he was, he was a great scrambler – and is likely [still] – a great scrambler, great putter, a great shot maker.
“Players like Tom Watson come to mind. From the age of 25, until [Watson] was 35, he had 35 wins, won eight major championships, really hit his stride at 27, which is what Cam Smith was last year. Twenty-seven, 28, 29, five wins, five wins, five wins in each of those years. Seven wins when he was 30 years of age, these prime years.
“And when you think of Seve Ballesteros, from the time he was 22 until he was 31, he won five majors. He set the world on fire and was fairly much the same type of player we saw in Cameron Smith last year at St Andrews.
“These are exciting players – scramblers, they’re unpredictable, they break your heart and then they do monumentally unbelievable things.”
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