Open champion Cameron Smith, the current number 2 in the world, has been unveiled as one of the last seven recruits in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.
As reported by Telegraph Sport earlier this month, Smith agreed on a whopping nine-figure sum worth over $ 100 million to join the rebel streak, which will exclude him from future PGA Tour events as soon as he gets into third. this week by invitation to Boston.
Smith will be joined by 23-year-old Chilean Joaquin Niemann, who stole one of the game’s most exciting young players from under the noses of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
The capture of Niemann – the world’s highest-scoring player under the age of 25 – will raise eyebrows in the locker room as the Chilean was part of last week’s elite players match, with 23 players led by Woods and McIlroy, who forced the PGA Tour will put an extra $ 100 million in incentives per year and will revise its program in favor of top professionals.
LIV Golf, whose eight events this year have a total payout of $ 255 million, also said Australian Marc Leishman, Indian Anirban Lahiri and Americans Harold Varner III and Cameron Tringale have agreed to join the series.
Which players have signed up?
Brooks Koepka, Duston Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Phil Mickelson are perhaps the best known names to join Greg Norman’s breakaway league, but the capture of the Open Smith champion is one of the biggest hits ever hit by the PGA Tour.
The 29-year-old Australian, who has been linked to LIV Golf for weeks, will make his controversial series debut at The International Golf Club outside Boston on Friday.
As our chief sports writer Oliver Brown writes:
[Smith’s] the signing is arguably the Saudis’ most significant coup to date and could represent a turning point for the competition, a time when a golden sideshow spectacle has morphed into a sporting event that may require world attention .
Where are the eight LIV Golf events?
The escape circuit began at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire, with the second event being won by Branden Grace in Portland, Oregon.
Henrik Stenson won the second US tournament, with another American swing event ahead of the Bangkok and Saudi Arabia tournaments, ending with the tour finale at Miami’s Trump Doral at the end of October.
June 9-11: Centurion Golf Club, Hemel Hempstead – won by Charl Schwartzel
July 1-3: Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, Portland, USA – won by Branden Grace
July 29-31: Trump National Golf Club, New Jersey, USA – won by Henrik Stenson
September 2-4: The International, Boston, USA
September 16-18: Rich Harvest Farms, Chicago, USA
October 7-9: Stonehill Golf Club, Bangkok, Thailand
October 14-16: Royal Greens Golf Club, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
October 28-30: Team Championship, Trump Doral, Florida, United States
What is the format?
The 48-man field will play in 12 teams of four players, which was determined by a draft.
The first seven events of the regular season will consist of three 54-hole events, with no cut and impromptu starts, while the final event will be a four-day single-elimination team matchplay.
LIV then plans 10 events in 2023 followed by “a full season” of 14 tournaments in 2024 and 2025.
What is the cash prize?
LIV Golf says the total prize pool for its eight events “will reach an unprecedented $ 255 million” (£ 204 million).
The top seven events of the regular season will have a prize pool of $ 25 million (£ 20 million), with the individual winner receiving $ 4 million (£ 3.2 million), the last place will receive $ 120,000 (£ 96,000) and a team event which will distribute $ 5m (£ 4 million).
At the eighth season-ending event, teams will compete for a share of $ 50 million (£ 40 million) in prize money.
How to watch
Coverage is streamed on the organization’s website, as well as on YouTube and Facebook, with Arlo White directing a three-person broadcast booth.
Why is it controversial?
The Saudi-backed circuit is on a collision course with the two main tours – the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour – which have refused to grant players permission to participate in the rebel events.
briefly summarize the legal battles
Ian Poulter has successfully challenged the DP Tour ban, meaning he has been controversially reinstated to the Scottish Open, but there are expectations of further legal proceedings in sight.
LIV CEO Norman has also been criticized for leading the separatist circuit, with his Saudi investors accused of “tainting” the country’s poor human rights record.
However, Norman said that LIV Golf was “independent” and that the Saudis “were not my bosses”. The Australian told Sky Sports: “We [LIV Golf] they are independent. I do not answer to Saudi Arabia. I can categorically tell you that this is not the case. I don’t answer to MBS. “
What are the plans for next year?
In July, LIV confirmed that the 2023 schedule would be expanded to 14 events, but insisted these would not clash with major golf championships.
Although exact dates and locations are yet to be announced, LIV says it plans to increase its presence in North and Latin America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Europe.
The 48 players who will compete in each event will still be divided into 12 teams of four men, and there will be no cuts, 54 holes and a shotgun start.
There will be a combined prize pool of $ 405 million (£ 332 million).