Cameron Smith confirmed as latest star to sign for Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series
- The 29-year-old will tee off in this week’s LIV Golf event in Boston, becoming highest-ranked player to defect from PGA Tour
- Joaquin Niemann, Harold Varner III, Cameron Tringale, Marc Leishman and India’s Anirban Lahiri also among those playing
World No 2 Cameron Smith will tee off in this week’s LIV Golf event in Boston, becoming the highest-ranked player to defect to the Saudi-backed series.
Speculation over Smith’s exit from the PGA Tour has been swirling since the Australian golfer won the 2022 Open Champion at St Andrews last month.
During a post-tournament press conference, Smith deflected questions about LIV, but refused to rule out a move, a deal believed to be worth more than US$100 million.
In a statement, LIV confirmed the move, along with five other players who will make their LIV Golf debuts in Boston this week, including world No 19 and top Chilean golfer Joaquin Niemann, Harold Varner III, Cameron Tringale, Marc Leishman and India’s top-ranked pro Anirban Lahiri.
Also making his first LIV Golf appearance is two-time Masters champion and former world No 2 Bubba Watson, who will debut as a non-playing captain and will make on-air contributions to live event coverage.
“LIV Golf is showing the world that our truly global league is attracting the world’s best players and will grow the game into the future for the next generation,” Greg Norman, LIV Golf CEO and commissioner said in the statement.
“The best and the brightest continue to embrace the excitement and energy of LIV Golf and what we’re building: a tangible league for team golf that will connect with new audiences all over the globe. We can’t wait to tee off this week at The International and deliver another memorable event experience for fans.”
Smith is by far the biggest loss for the PGA Tour. The 29-year-old is in the prime of his career, having won The Players in March and his first major at the 150th Open Championship.
A two-time Australian PGA Championship winner in 2017 and 2018, Smith has also represented his home country in international team competitions including the 2018 World Cup, the 2019 Presidents Cup and the Tokyo Olympics.
As the battle against the PGA Tour rages, LIV will be looking to showcase its growing list of talent when it returns for The International.
The Boston field showcases seven No 1-ranked players within their respective countries, 12 major champions with a combined 22 majors, and four former world No 1 players.