World no. 2 Cam Smith has pulled out of next week's BMW Championship, citing ongoing hip discomfort as the reason. The Aussie is currently third in the FedEx Cup standings, and thus it will not affect his chances of qualifying for the season ending Tour Championship next week.
The decision of Cam Smith comes a day after he was hit with a two stroke penalty before teeing off for his final round in the St. Jude's Championship.
Smith went into Sunday's round just two shots off the lead, but was in formed before teeing off that he had violated a rule the previous day, by playing a drop with the ball touching a red hazard line.
Cam Smith Controversy
Cam Smith just received a 2-shot penalty a day later because of this picture. Didn’t take full relief from the penalty area. Official on ground deemed it in play live.
Had his ball come to rest here in normal play, no penalty. Taking a drop, penalty.
Dumb rule. Dumber timing. pic.twitter.com/4YethbA6Lm
— The Plugged Lie (@PluggedLiePod) August 14, 2022
🚨CAM SMITH 2 STROKE PENALTY🚨
feel like the PGA Tour watched thru his round a million times and tried to find the smallest piece of evidence to penalize him
— Matt Gannon (@matt_gannon_) August 14, 2022
Smith has been widely reported to be joining the LIV Golf Tour after the Tour Championship, and Twitter was awash with conspiracy theories that the PGA Tour were punishing Smith because of this, particularly given that they only informed him on Sunday.
Chief referee Gary Young, explained the situation from his point of view:
"Because of the geometry of the situation he [Smith] was dealing with a really small area where he’s dropping it. It’s basically hole high and he’s basically got a slither outside of the line and he obviously dropped the ball in that area but it came back to rest against the line.
“It was at that point he obviously thought it was OK to play it from the position and it turns out the rules do not [allow it]. You have to take complete relief from that penalty area. He wasn’t aware that no portion of the ball could be touching the penalty area line. He thought that if a portion of the ball was in the general area of the course he was safe to play it.”
"Cam is a complete gentleman and he took it that way. He was completely calm through the whole process and once he found out it was a two-stroke penalty, he said to me, ‘the rules are the rules’. In typical, casual Cam fashion, he just accepted it and left the office that way.”