The Open champion Cameron Smith has announced a rebrand of the all-Australian LIV Golf team for the 2023 season and the name is quintessentially Aussie. Smith joined the Saudi-backed golf league after year after winning his maiden major at The Open.
Smith was lured over to the breakaway group for a reported $140 million and is leading the Australian team that includes Marc Leishman and Mat Jones. The team played under the name Punch GC in the first season.
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However, on Wednesday, Smith announced that the team would be named 'Ripper GC', which more suits the Aussie stars. Smith alluded to the team name in a previous interview ahead of the rebranding.
"Yes it's really exciting. I can't wait for us to start up in Mexico," Smith said in a pre-tournament press conference, according to Mike McAllister. "I think we'll have a great year. And for sure looking forward to that event in Adelaide. I think it will be a ripping tournament."
Smith announced the team name wearing a maroon golf polo, which is no surprise since he grew up in Queensland. The team name certainly divided fans with some on board with the Aussie rebranding.
Others weren't convinced and felt the name was 'unflattering'.
Who would still be the Cleeks if they didn't have to be the Cleeks? Martin Kaymer, apparently.
Rippers - the old Punch - are the Aussies, though Cam Smith ruffling feathers by choosing Queensland's colors. https://t.co/s5Tke4YRr3
— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) February 7, 2023
Ripper name has Aussie ties. And logo's chevron arrows are inspired by Southern Cross on Aussie flag 🇦🇺. They'll dig it Down Under.
Torque logo reflects explosive speed.
Also, Stinger logo reflects main colors of S.African flag.
Stay with us. There's a method to the madness!
— Mike McAllister (@thegolfeditor) February 7, 2023
That GOAT logo is 🔥. I like Cam Smith's new team name of Rippers GC but their logo needs to get on Bubba's level. https://t.co/hIJUN4vpMg
— LIV Golf Enthusiast (@MaddenMonopoly) February 7, 2023
Swilcan Bridge not the only thing from the Old Course last year that’s had an unflattering makeover
— EatandSleepGolf (@EatandSleepGolf) February 7, 2023
crinnnnng .... I was disappointed he left - he belongs there
— Josh Darwin (@joshdarwin) February 8, 2023
Cameron Smith looks ahead to golf majors
While Smith is excited to make a fresh start for the LIV Golf season, the Aussie did admit that not playing for ranking points throughout the season has hurt.
LIV Golf events won't be able to hand out rankings points. Smith became the highest ranked player at the time, World No.2, to join the Saudi-backed group.
However, other top stars that joined LIV Golf earlier have since seen their rankings obliterated. Former World No.1 Dustin Johnson has dropped to World No.46, while Bryson DeChambeau is down to World No.96. While Smith is expected to plummet down the rankings, the Australian will still be able to compete in the four majors.
In addition to his glorious Open victory at St Andrews, where he mowed down Rory McIlroy in the final round, Smith last year won The Players championship, the PGA Tour's Tournament of Champions, LIV Chicago and the Australian PGA.
And most significantly in his five-win season, Smith's St Andrews victory gave the 29-year-old exemption to the Masters, US PGA, US Open and British Open until at least 2028.
Smith was banished from the US PGA Tour after joining the Greg Norman-led LIV Golf circuit following his magical British Open triumph at St Andrews last July. He started his season last week at the Asian Tour's Saudi International. And Smith admitted he would be 'digging deep' for when he plays against the 72 best players in the world.
"Probably 2022 would be a really tough one to back up," he said. "For sure I'm just keeping the same processes going. Really digging deep, working hard on my game at home, I think, is really what I need to do.
"It's really easy when you're playing good golf to be quite complacent. So I'm just keeping on top of that, keeping on top of the body and just keep working on it."
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