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Open champion Cam Smith revealed he had already made up his mind to join LIV Golf before he lifted the Claret Jug last month.

The world No.2 headlined a group of six new names on the Saudi-backed rebel tour’s roster ahead of this week’s event in Boston, and is the highest-ranked player to jump ship so far.

For months he had been rumoured to be considering a switch to the new tour, and repeatedly refused to answer questions about the possibility – including immediately after the Open.

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But now he has confirmed his mind was made up for “a couple of months” before the news was made public earlier this week.

Rory McIlroy was among the top stars who attempted to entice Smith to stick with the PGA Tour.

However, the reigning PLAYERS champion admitted there was “not much” the circuit could have done to keep him.

“For me the biggest attraction was spending more time at home,” Smith said as he spoke to the media for the first time since being announced as a LIV player.

“Getting that part of my life back. It’s something that I’ve really missed.

“I think obviously the pandemic that we’ve had over the last couple years didn’t really help out, but you know, for me to be able to go home, see my family, and play golf there more often, that was a really big up for me.”

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The LIV rebels have faced a backlash from some figures in the game, including McIlroy and Tiger Woods, who have both been vocal opponents of the breakaway tour.

“Perhaps a little bit,” Smith replied when asked whether criticism from other top players had affected him.

“But I think this is the future of golf. I think it needs to change. Particularly as our golf fans become younger, I think we need to do something to make it exciting for them. I think it’s the right move for sure.

“I think not having those top guys is a little bit of a shame, but hopefully I can see them four times a year and be able to compete against them and show them I’ve still got it.”

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