Which LIV Golf Defector Does the PGA Tour Miss the Most?

Golf.com asked four experts to offer their thoughts on the matter

The LIV Golf logo.
LIV Golf has poached a number of top PGA players.
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty

With 2023 fast approaching, many people are looking forward to what the new year will bring. Others are looking back to reflect on all that has transpired in 2022 and all the things that have been gained, and lost, in the last year.

For the PGA Tour, which has spent the bulk of this year battling with the fallout of a number of its top players defecting to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, it has been a year of both additions and subtractions. The biggest addition is a familiar one, as Tiger Woods was able to return to the Tour and play sparingly, albeit to much fanfare. The biggest subtraction, on the other hand, is a matter of debate.

That’s why Golf.com had four experts weigh in on which golfer who defected from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf is the biggest loss for the Tour. The experts — Dylan Dethier, Sean Zak, Shane Bacon and Kyle Porter — were not able to reach a consensus as Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson were all suggested as the biggest fish to leave the PGA Tour’s pond. However, the name that was mentioned multiple times as the PGA Tour’s biggest loss was reigning British Open champion Cameron Smith, who also happened to win the 2022 Players Championship.

“I think you have a really good case for Cameron Smith, because he was really the only top guy at the peak of his game not battling injury or advanced age to go,” Dethier said.

Porter agreed. “I think it’s probably Cam Smith. Just in the short term he’s the Players champion, and you’ve got all this awkwardness of well, we’re gonna run the 2021 commercials for the 2023 Players, so there’s that in the short term,” he said.

Much to the chagrin of many, Smith will get the chance to compete with his former peers in April at the Masters. Perhaps that will crystalize whether the 29-year-old Australian was truly the Tour’s biggest loss.

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