Smith headlines 2 events at home

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — World No. 2 Cameron Smith confirmed Thursday he will headline Australia’s two top golf tournaments later this year, saying he was “so excited” to be heading home.

The British Open champion has enjoyed a phenomenal year, but has also been at the center of speculation that he is on the verge of defecting from the US PGA Tour to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.

Smith will tee off at both the Australian PGA Championship in Brisbane from 24 November — an event he won in 2017 and 2018 — and the Australian Open in Melbourne on 1 December.

“I’ve had an unbelievable year and to be coming home to play tournaments is the icing on the cake,” he said in a statement.

“I’m so excited to see friends and family again. Some of them I haven’t seen for years now and once I get to the golf course, I’ve got my eye on some more trophies.”

Both events are co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour, but even if Smith joins Greg Norman’s LIV series he will be eligible to play with Australasian Tour members not currently banned if they commit to the breakaway league.

The men’s and women’s Australian Open will take place at the same time and the same venues this year as part of efforts to widen golf’s appeal.

Held at the famous Sandbelt area of Melbourne, the Victoria Golf Club will be the primary venue across all four days with Kingston Heath Golf Club hosting play on the opening two days.
Men and women will earn equal prize money.

South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai, who won the British Open this month, headlines the women’s field.

“I love coming to Australia and playing on some of the best golf courses in the world,” she said.

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