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Golf-Smith at peace with decision to join LIV Golf after merger news

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Cameron Smith is at peace with his decision to join LIV Golf, the Australian said on Monday ahead of the U.S. Open, days after the Saudi-backed tour and the PGA Tour announced their surprise merger.

The tournament at the Los Angeles Country Club is the first major since the news, which prompted frustration among PGA Tour members, many of whom resisted the promise of super-sized paydays from LIV Golf and said they felt blindsided.

Smith, who won the British Open last year and emerged as one of LIV’s poster boys, said he believed he made the correct choice to join the rival tour, merger or not.

“I’m very happy with where I’m at. I obviously made that decision for a few different reasons,” said Smith, who has had little luck at the U.S. Open as he missed the cut the previous two years.

“It’s too early to say, I think, with what’s going to go on here. Like I said, I know as much as everyone else, and it’s going to be interesting to see how the next few months, maybe even year, kind of plays out.”

Smith told reporters he first thought the merger news was “kind of a joke that had come out” and declined to comment whether he would consider returning to the PGA Tour next year, as the two sides form one unified commercial entity.

“I think there’s still a lot of stuff to be worked out, and as time goes on, we’ll get to know more and more,” he said.

“But there’s definitely a lot of curious players, I think, on both sides as to what the future is going to look like.”

The U.S. Open kicks off on Thursday.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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