ATLANTA – Open Championship winner Cameron Smith is predicted to be among the many subsequent wave of PGA Tour gamers who defect to LIV Golf, sources confirmed to ESPN on Saturday.
Smith, the second-ranked participant within the Official World Golf Rating, would be the highest-ranked participant to depart for LIV Golf, which is being fronted by fellow Australian Greg Norman and financed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
Australia’s Marc Leishman, Harold Varner III, Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, India’s Anirban Lahiri and Cameron Tringale are additionally anticipated to hitch the LIV Golf circuit. These gamers and Smith are anticipated to compete in LIV Golf’s subsequent occasion, scheduled on the Worldwide in Boston on Sept. 2-4.
Chile’s Mito Pereira is also contemplating becoming a member of LIV Golf in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later, sources confirmed to ESPN.
The defections had been first reported by Golf Channel on Saturday.
Smith and Niemann had earned computerized berths on the Worldwide Crew to compete within the Presidents Cup at Quail Hole in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sept. 20-25. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has suspended members for competing in LIV Golf occasions, so these gamers would not be permitted to play within the Presidents Cup, which is sanctioned by the PGA Tour.
Smith, 29, is a six-time winner on the PGA Tour and received The Gamers in March, which earned him $3.6 million, the most important purse in skilled golf historical past. Smith is competing within the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Membership this week. He has declined to reply questions on LIV Golf, saying “I am simply right here to hit good pictures and make putts.”
Earlier this week, Rory McIlroy stated he talked to Smith two days after he received the Claret Jug on the one hundred and fiftieth Open Championship at St. Andrews. McIlroy stated he needed to verify Smith knew what was coming when it comes to modifications on the PGA Tour.
On Tuesday, Monahan introduced that high gamers on the Tour had dedicated to taking part in in 20 occasions beginning in 2023. There additionally will likely be 13 elevated occasions with common purses of $20 million, and the Tour is doubling the Participant Affect Program bonus from $50 million to $100 million beginning subsequent yr.
Niemann, the 18th-ranked participant on the planet, was the wire-to-wire winner of the Genesis at Riviera in February, his second PGA Tour victory. Varner, the Forty fourth-ranked participant, hasn’t received on the PGA Tour, however he did choose up a victory within the PIF Saudi Worldwide in February.
Niemann instructed Golf Channel on Friday that he was nonetheless undecided about what he was going to do. Along with the Golf Channel, Sports activities Illustrated additionally reported on Saturday that he’s anticipated to signal with LIV Golf and compete in Boston.
Tringale and Lahiri have by no means received on the PGA Tour. Lahiri has received seven occasions on the Asian Tour and twice on the DP World Tour.