Scottie Scheffler is coming under fire for his cardinal sin during the opening round of the PGA Tour’s FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis.
The world No.1, who won this year’s Masters and backed it up by finishing runner-up at the US Open, walked across Open Champion Cameron Smith’s line on the 12th hole as the world No.2 prepared to make a putt.
As a seemingly oblivious Scheffler walked across the green, Smith, 28, looked up at his rival quizzically before returning his focus on the hole.
Eagle eye fans didn’t miss the moment, however, as they highlighted Scheffler’s actions as a not-so-subtle attack on Smith, who is reportedly sitting on a deal to join the rival LIV Golf Series on a deal worth an estimated $AU140 million.
Watch LIVE coverage from The USPGA Tour with Fox Sports on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
“This is basically golf’s version of throwing at someone’s head,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another said: “Spicy head games from Scottie LIV related?”
Interestingly, though, only a hole earlier Smith and Scheffler had high-fived each other on the green.
But, then again, Smith did record an eagle on 13 as he holed out from 156 yards. Did it help his focus?
J-Day of old stuns to revive hopes in $75m event, Smith’s strong response to LIV drama
While Scheffler has not criticised Smith for his coy responses regarding his future, the world No.1 hit out at the golfers, including Australian Matt Jones, who tried to gain an exemption to play at this week’s FedEx playoffs despite joining the rebel golf league.
“Those guys kind of made their decision to go join another tour and they broke the rules and regulations of our tour and now they’re trying to sue us, which is definitely a bit frustrating,” Scheffler said ahead of the tournament.
“I definitely am surprised to see some guys now suing us. If they win, come out here and play, that’s something that’s up to the courts, I can’t control what’s going to happen in a court case. Definitely interested but at the end of the day it has no effect on my preparation for the week.”
Scheffler had a frustrating opening round, finishing one-over. Smith managed to put a difficult fortnight to rest, posting a respectable three-under par to be firmly in the mix.
The PGA Tour’s $108m showpiece has arrived amid an ugly sideshow that can’t be ignored
How Smith shock exposed sobering truth… and left question that may never be answered