TOUR Championship - Round Two
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The No. 2 player in the world has moved on from the golf league that made him the No. 2 player in the world. Cameron Smith will leave the PGA Tour and play in the LIV Golf League starting this week in Boston. It's LIV's best scoop to date in terms of acquiring highly ranked players who are thriving in the current landscape.

This represents a big loss for the PGA Tour. Smith is the reigning Tournament of Champions winner, Players champion and Open Championship winner. The first two of those events are among the 13 elevated tournaments for the PGA Tour in 2023, and the defending champion won't be at either.

There is also a trend here for LIV. The Saudi Arabian-backed league now has a collection of golfers who have won 12 of the last 26 major championships. That's a big deal for the marketing of its product, although I remain dubious that anyone outside of Tiger Woods can affect viewership for any league outside of the context of the PGA Tour and the major championships.

It's that context that the PGA Tour still holds over LIV Golf and will have to lean on as LIV undoubtedly pours more and more money into its future league. The Tour can (and should) do a better job of contextualizing its own product by making some of the choices it has already made, like elevating its events, but also by potentially reforming the FedEx Cup.

My colleague Rick Gehman made the great point in our recent podcast (see below) that Smith and LIV are the perfect marriage. With his Open win this summer, Smith is exempt into all the major championships for at least the next five years, and LIV gets the most recent major winner to add to its stable of players that already includes Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka.

Regardless of what you think is the right path forward, what LIV has accomplished thus far has been impressive and meaningful, as it has transformed itself into the second-best tour in the world in less than a year. We discuss all of this and much more in our recent First Cut Podcast as we try to determine what the latest news means and how each league will handle it.

Cameron Smith is officially joining LIV Golf. Rick Gehman and Kyle Porter discuss what this means for the PGA Tour. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.