I know they had to ask, but what were the consequences? Surely the PGAT would have happily said yes to Cameron Smith if he asked to play in the Oz Open. What would have been the negative implications to him? Would they have told him he could only play with 10 clubs in the next 10 PGAT events or something? Would they fine him?
If I was a professional golfer, what motivation would I have to go to Australia to play golf? I'm a golfer, it is not up to me as an individual to "grow the game". It is up to the administrators of golf to do that. As far as I am concerned, I'd be thinking golf was in a pretty healthy position, given the prize money available to be. Clearly it is attracting big money from sponsors and broadcasters. So, I wouldn't be having this desperate urge to "grow the game", a phrase I never remember hearing until LIV came about. Suddenly it has become the most important thing in the world to some.
And, even if it were true, why does "growing the game" mean playing in Australia? Why do I care about that? What about France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Poland, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Morocco, New Zealand, etc. etc. That goes to my original comment, what is so special about Australia? I'd argue nothing, so I can only see Australian golfers having an interest, or those offered a lot of money. And, as a professional golfer, I probably don't want to be jet setting all over the world simply to "grow the game". I'd probably be more interested in minimising travel as much as I could, spending enough time at home and practicing, and being very selective in choosing events worldwide.