The Open Championship victor and No. 2 golfer in the world, Cameron Smith, joined the dissident professional golf tour on Tuesday, according to the Saudi-sponsored LIV Golf series.
The 29-year-old Australian joins LIV Golf at the top of the rankings. He will take part in the LIV Golf Invitational Boston at The International Golf Club in Massachusetts, the following competition in the series.
Joaquin Niemann, the 19th-ranked golfer in the world, joined LIV Golf along with Harold Varner III, Cameron Tringale, Marc Leishman, and Anirban Lahiri.
The LIV Golf Invitational Boston, which takes place from September 2-4, will include all of the joining players.
The PGA Tour has been contacted by CNN for comment.
Describe LIV Golf.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, a sovereign wealth fund led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was cited in a US intelligence report as having approved the operation that resulted in the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is the source of funding for the breakaway series. Bin Salman has refuted any role in the killing of Khashoggi.
To entice players away from the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour in favour of the new series, LIV Golf has made generous financial offers.
The PGA Tour has suspended players who leave for the LIV Golf tour, and they have come under fire for forsaking golf’s fundamentals.
They have also come under fire for taking funding from a nation with a deplorable human rights record. Human rights organisations have complained against the nation over its treatment of LGBT people and mass executions.
The PIF has promised to give out a total of $250 million in prizes. A total of $25 million will be awarded in prizes for each of the first seven events, with $20 million going to individual competitors and the remaining $5 million going to the top three teams at the conclusion of each week.
For each event, participants are divided into 12 teams. Unlike traditional golf tournaments, which last four days, these competitions last three days, with the 48-player field starting at the same time with a shotgun start.