Just days after lifting the maroon pitcher at St. Andrews, Cameron Smith got a call from the player he had just beaten: Rory McIlroy.
The dial was McIlroy’s latest attempt to convince the up-and-coming Australian to abandon McIlroy’s beloved PGA Tour and sign with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league.
McIlroy previously shared his details of the call back in August, and now Smith has offered his version.
“I have always respected Rory and liked what he says on the golf course. Smith recently said Sydney Morning Herald. “He said, ‘Congratulations.’ There may have been a couple of small bumps. He was glad that I played well and it was a good tournament. Then we talked about the PGA Tour and LIV. There were a lot of things he wanted me to know before I made my decision. I wouldn’t say he was trying to talk me out of it directly, but he definitely wanted me to stay.”
McIlroy’s attempt to dissuade Smith did not work. Smith, who was ranked second in the world, escaped about a month after finishing the Tour Championship in East Lake. He ended up playing in the last five LIV tournaments, winning his second start outside of Chicago.
It is not known if Smith signed his reported $140 million deal prior to speaking with McIlroy, but the 29-year-old was adamant that he had yet to make a formal decision as he answered questions following his Open Championship triumph. of these, of course, were about LIV rumors and prompted Smith’s clumsy “it’s not that good” response.
“I was definitely leaning one way, but it wasn’t signed on paper,” Smith said. “There is still so much to do and so much to think about.”
Smith added that he did not sleep well for several months while he considered his decision.
“I kept thinking, ‘What are other people going to think?'” Smith says. “That was a really important factor for me. I feel like I do most things by the rules, and being the one to back off… was really hard for me.”
Back at the Tour Championship, where McIlroy was paired with Smith in the early rounds, McIlroy answered a phone call that he described as more of a statement of the facts than a call for Smith to stay.
“Guys who think one way or another, honestly I don’t care if they leave or not – it won’t matter to me – but I would at least want people to make a decision that is fully informed and in basically knows this is what goes on the conveyor. It’s something you can leave behind,” McIlroy said. “I just don’t want decision makers to hear information from one side and not the other. So I guess that’s been my goal all along. I’ve always said guys can do whatever they want. the decision they feel is best for themselves and their family. But I want guys to make decisions based on all the facts.
“Sometimes I don’t think some guys made decisions like that based on the fact that they had all the facts in front of them.”
McIlroy laid out the facts before Smith.
This was not enough to change Smith’s mind.