LIV Golf announces that Cameron Smith was among six players who will make their debut in LIV Golf’s fourth event
In the Tour Championship’s final round on Sunday at East Lake Golf Club, Billy Horschel couldn’t help but wonder whether it would be the last time he would play with his dear friend, Cameron Smith, on the PGA Tour.
Smith and Horschel share a home in Ponte Vedra, Florida. In their spare time, they play golf together and go offshore fishing.
Horschel declared that if he were to pass away, it would be the biggest loss possible given his age and accomplishments. “Take a look at the man he is. He’s a nice child who expresses himself well and always acts appropriately. I’m biased, therefore if he does leave, it would be the largest loss. He’s one of my closest buddies.”
The PGA Tour’s 29-year-old Smith will switch to LIV Golf, the new circuit announced on Tuesday. Smith won the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews in July and is currently ranked No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Joaquin Niemann of Chile, who is rated No. 19 in the world, Harold Varner III, Cameron Tringale, Marc Leishman of Australia, and Anirban Lahiri of India are also joining LIV Golf, which is supported by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia.
The six players will compete in LIV Golf’s fourth tournament, which gets underway on Friday at The International outside of Boston.
Greg Norman, CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf, stated in a statement, “LIV Golf is demonstrating to the globe that our genuinely global league is drawing the finest players in the world and will expand the game into the future for the next generation. The best and the brightest continue to embrace LIV Golf’s enthusiasm and energy and the league we’re creating for team golf, which will appeal to new audiences around the world. This week at The International, we can’t wait to get things started and provide fans another special event experience.”
The biggest loss for the PGA Tour is Australian Smith. He won The Players in March and his first major title at the 150th Open Championship, putting him in the prime of his career. Smith is a six-time PGA Tour champion who is well-liked by both supporters and rival players.
Australian Adam Scott described him as a close friend. “Cam and I play a lot of practice games. That will be lost on me. I still have to defeat one less capable opponent, though.”
Smith explained to Golf Digest that his choice was influenced by his schedule and finances.
“I won’t disregard it or claim that wasn’t a cause,” he declared, “but [money] was clearly a part in making that decision. Obviously, it was a commercial decision, but it was also an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
“[LIV’s] timetable is incredibly tempting, and that’s the main reason I’m joining. I’ll have more time to spend at home in Australia and perhaps even host an event there. Getting that aspect of my life back was quite enticing since I couldn’t do it before.”
Varner thanked the PGA Tour in a statement that was shared on Instagram, calling it a “life-changer” that had helped him “create something out of my life.”
However, he claimed that the financial allure of LIV was too great to resist.
He stated in the post, “The chance to join LIV Golf is simply too good of a financial breakthrough for me to pass by. I understand what it’s like to grow up with little. This money will guarantee that my child and subsequent Varners will have a strong foundation to build upon and a life I could only have imagined as a child. A lot of the programs I’m developing with my Foundation will also be aided by it. I’ll keep paving the road for young golf enthusiasts. This letter serves as payment for that.”
Smith and Niemann, who won the Genesis Invitational at Riviera in February by a margin of one stroke, qualified automatically for the international team that will play in the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina, from September 20 to 25.
Players that participated in LIV Golf tournaments without receiving releases for conflicting events were suspended by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. Smith and Niemann are ineligible to compete because the PGA Tour is the official sanctioning body for the Presidents Cup. It’s a setback for the international team, which already anticipated facing a significant disadvantage against the Americans.
On September 6, international team leader Trevor Immelman is expected to reveal his captain’s choices. Scott, Mito Pereira, Corey Conners, Tom Kim, Sungjae Im, and Hideki Matsuyama have qualified for the team. Six players will be added to the 12-man roster by Immelman.
Scott remarked, “All I can say is that Trevor is as ready as he can be for whatever. I feel so bad for him. He has been in a difficult situation for a while. He has a plan, and he will follow it regardless of what it is. We are undoubtedly the underdogs against a talented American team, even if some of their players may be absent as well, but not at the last minute.”
According to sources who previously spoke to ESPN, Pereira, who was tied for third after the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills, will also join LIV Golf at some point in the future.
On Sept. 7, Davis Love III, the captain of the American team, will also add six captain’s picks. Those who have already qualified are Patrick Cantlay, Sam Burns, Justin Thomas, Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, and Tony Finau.
Original article by Mark Schlabach on ESPN