This is awkward.
Cameron Smith, Australias Player of the Year nominee for the PGA Tour, was just days away from teeing off in the LIV Golf Series. The Saudi-backed circuit is challenging the sports traditional order.
This is not surprising considering Smiths stellar year, winning The Players Championship as well as The British Open. He also rose to world No. 2.
LIVs arrival however has caused a split in golf, with legal cases aplenty as well as growing animosity between both camps. To put it mildly Smith winning the Jack Nicklaus Trophy would be embarrassing to the PGA Tour.
Smith, along with the other LIV golfers has been removed from the PGA Tour. Nicklaus stated that he declined a fortune for it – although the man who did, Greg Norman of Australia, later called Nicklaus a hypocrite and claimed he had initially supported the concept.
However, a Smith coronation is unlikely as the winner of the FedEx Cup season is selected by tour members who participated in at least 15 FedEx Cup events.
They will likely choose Rory McIlroy over Scottie Scheffler.
McIlroy, a vocal supporter of the PGA Tour and against LIV Golf for years, has won the award three consecutive times.
Although he didnt win a major this season, he finished in the top 8 in all four. He was second at the Masters and third in the Open. He also won the Tour Championship last week.
Scheffler, who was tied for second behind McIlroy, won the Masters, came second at US Open, but missed the cut in the PGA.
Smith, 29, was fourth in his LIV debut, earning $US1.5 million ($A2.2m).
The nominees for the PGA Tour Rookie of the year — the Arnold Palmer Award – are Sahith Theegala, Cameron Young, and Tom Kim.