Sources: Smith, Varner, others to affix LIV Golf

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ATLANTA – Open Championship winner Cameron Smith is anticipated 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 affix 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 sooner or later sooner or later, sources confirmed to ESPN.

The defections had been first reported by Golf Channel on Saturday.

Smith and Niemann had earned automated 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 gained 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 mentioned he talked to Smith two days after he gained the Claret Jug on the a hundred and fiftieth Open Championship at St. Andrews. McIlroy mentioned he wished to verify Smith knew what was coming when it comes to modifications on the PGA Tour.

On Tuesday, Monahan introduced that prime gamers on the Tour had dedicated to enjoying in 20 occasions beginning in 2023. There additionally shall be 13 elevated occasions with common purses of $20 million, and the Tour is doubling the Participant Impression Program bonus from $50 million to $100 million beginning subsequent 12 months.

Niemann, the 18th-ranked participant on the earth, 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 gained on the PGA Tour, however he did choose up a victory within the PIF Saudi Worldwide in February.

Niemann advised 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 gained on the PGA Tour. Lahiri has gained seven instances on the Asian Tour and twice on the DP World Tour.

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