PGA Tour: Open Champion Cameron Smith, one of six PGA Tour players named as new hires by the Saudi-backed breakaway circuit, has confirmed his move to LIV Golf.
The No. 2 player in the world is the highest-ranked player to make the change, and he will make his professional debut this week in Boston, the fourth competition of the inaugural season.
Cameron Tringale, Joaquin Niemann, Harold Varner III, Marc Leishman, and India’s top-ranked pro-Anirban Lahiri are some of the other competitors.
Smith won the PGA Tour’s marquee event, The Players, after claiming the first major championship of his career with a historic one-stroke triumph in The 150th Open in St. Andrews. Smith also won the season-opening Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Smith declined to dismiss rumours linking him to LIV Golf in his winner’s press conference, and speculation over his PGA Tour future grew throughout the year’s last men’s major. Prior to the FedExCup Playoffs, reports claimed that Smith had already decided to join LIV Golf.
During the FedEx St Jude Invitational, Smith told Sky Sports he was “ready to cop some heat” about his future. The 29-year-old later finished the PGA Tour season before making his announcement the day after finishing his FedExCup campaign in 20th place at the Tour Championship.
Smith will no longer be able to compete in PGA Tour tournaments as a result of the decision, which also results in the permanent suspension of all LIV Golf members. The Australian will also no longer be able to compete for the International Team at the Presidents Cup in September.
“[Money] was definitely a factor in making that decision, I won’t ignore that or say that wasn’t a reason,” said Smith in an interview with Golf Digest. “It was obviously a business decision for one and an offer I couldn’t ignore.
“The biggest thing for me joining is [LIV’s] schedule is really appealing. I’ll be able to spend more time at home in Australia and maybe have an event down there, as well. I haven’t been able to do that, and to get that part of my life back was really appealing.”
He went on to say that he adores the team concept of LIV and given the absence of things like “weddings and rugby league games” back in Australia as justification for making the move.
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