Cameron Smith's absence from the Players Championship and inability to defend his title is sad for the prestigious tournament, believes former winner Jason Day.
The reigning champion is missing from TPC Sawgrass this year following his defection from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf last season.
Smith, who also claimed The Open in 2022 before he made the move to join the Saudi-funded breakaway, is barred from competing after linking up with the rival tour, with Day conceding his omission from the field casts something of a shadow over the event.
"He lives five minutes down the road," he told Sky Sports. "I miss Cammy. I miss a lot of the guys that have gone over to the LIV Tour.
"Obviously I don't blame them for going over there. They had the opportunity to pick up whatever they wanted to, money-wise.
The moment #THEPLAYERS https://t.co/7VkGLfuMLI pic.twitter.com/9jNYul5uYK— THE PLAYERS (@THEPLAYERSChamp) March 8, 2023
"They made a decision. [But] it is a little bit sad Cammy's not here this week. The decision has been made, and he's over there."
Day, the former world number one, is back at Sawgrass seven years on from his victory at The Players, which came on the heels of his only major win in the 2015 PGA Championship.
The Australian looks poised to continue into a new PGA era that will see the tour restructured, in an apparent response to the LIV's emergence.
The 2024 season will contain eight events with no cuts and limited fields of 70-78 players competing for elevated purses and FedEx Cup points.
Day refused to either endorse or criticise the expected changes though, adding: "I don't necessarily have an opinion. I just want to show up and win tournaments
"I know some guys will be divided. Regardless of what we do out here, there will be guys disappointed. Let's see how the designated events go. We've got to give it time and if they need to adjust they adjust."