Cameron Smith defects to LIV golf after the end of the PGA Tour season


LIV Golf Invitational Series announce Tuesday that Cameron Smith, the second-ranked golfer in the world and This year’s British Open Championgiving the Saudi-backed dissident league the highest-ranked player.

Smith, the 29-year-old Australian, has racked up three wins this season, including the British Open in July and the Players Championship in March. He’s also finished in the top ten in four of his six trips to the Masters – with a tie for third In this year’s championship – He was number 20 in the championship round that ended the season, which concluded on Sunday.

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Joaquin Niemann will also leave the PGA Tour for the LIV, giving her another top 20 golfer. Niemann is ranked 19th in the world and has two career PGA Tour wins, one this year at the Genesis Invitational in California. LIV also announced the additions of Harold Varner III (46th in the world), Cameron Tringale (55), Marc Leishman (62), and Anirban Lahiri (92).

Smith has been rumored to be jumping to the LIV for weeks, with speculation that he’ll be getting a nine-figure salary just for joining the new league, which offers a somewhat shorter schedule than the PGA Tour and guaranteed paid days of the tournament. The upcoming LIV event begins Friday outside Boston, and Smith will join major championship winners such as Dustin Johnson, Bryson Deschamps and Phil Mickelson.

The The PGA Tour banned players who defected to LIVAnd on Friday, the new league was named after him In a monopoly lawsuit Some of her players raised it against the PGA Tour. In the amended complaint, the LIV players say that the PGA Tour is “a well-established monopolist with a vice grip on professional golf” and that it has violated federal antitrust laws in its efforts “to crush emerging competition before it threatens the monopoly of the tour.”

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LIV is also Seeking recognition of her heroism As per the official golf world rankings, which would help its players qualify for the major tournaments (not managed by the PGA Tour). Without penalizing OWGR, most LIV players will struggle to qualify for the four biggest tournaments on the professional golf table.

Smith and other major winners who have defected to LIV – now featuring winners 12 of the past 24 events You won’t have that problem, at least in the short term and assuming the major leagues don’t change their qualifying rules. By winning the British Open, Smith is given a five-year exemption in the other majors, and has an invitation to play in the British Open until he turns 60.

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The PGA Tour announced last week Huge changes Trying to prevent the biggest names from jumping to the LIV. The Tour’s top 20 players will be committed to playing in at least 20 events, including the Four Grand Prix and the FedEx Cup, and the Tour has boosted prize money for four non-major tournaments, offering $20 million in prize money in each. In addition, the Tour will expand the Player Impact Program, a rewards system introduced last year as a way to reward players who help promote the game, and will give all of its players a guaranteed minimum of $500,000, primarily to make it easier for players who may have difficulty keeping tour cards. their own (Round rookies will receive money at the start of the season).

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A number of high-profile PGA Tour players, such as 2022 rookie contender Cameron Young and former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott, are rumored to be considering a move to the LIV but are now committed to the more established Tour.

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“We don’t know who’s going after this week or next year,” Young He said Sunday in the Tournament. “I think there is a really nice core group of players that are just going to stay, and a lot of them are highly ranked players in the world. I don’t think the competition on the PGA Tour is going to go down that much.”

Smith and Neiman’s defection to LIV will also open up places on the international team in the Presidents Cup, which takes place next month. Both Smith and Neiman have enough qualifying points to earn places on Captain Trevor Immelman’s team, but the PGA Tour suspension also applies to the Presidents Cup.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is financing LIV Golf, which has held three tournaments and still has five tournaments remaining on this year’s schedule. LIV critics criticized it as an attempt “sport wash” The nation’s shaky human rights record.

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