Cameron Smith at centre of LIV bombshell amid $3 billion golf furore

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith, pictured here at the Zurich Classic.
Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith are reportedly set to join LIV Golf at its next event. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman are reportedly among a group of players who will defect to LIV Golf for the rebel series' next event in the United States next week.

Rumours have been swirling for months that Australian star and British Open champion Smith is set to join the controversial LIV series - funded by a reported $3 billion from Saudi Arabia and headed up by Aussie legend Greg Norman.

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On Sunday, the Golf Channel was the first of multiple outlets to report that Smith, fellow Aussie Leishman, Americans Harold Varner III and Cameron Tringale, Joaquin Niemann of Chile and Anirban Lahiri of India will join LIV Golf for next week's event outside Boston.

Smith again declined to comment after completing his third round in the PGA Tour's season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta on Saturday, after refusing to confirm or deny the rumours at recent press conferences.

Playing a LIV event would mean Smith, Leishman and Niemann would likely not be allowed to play on the International team against the United States in the Presidents Cup in North Carolina in late September.

The PGA Tour has previously suspended defectors who have joined LIV.

Smith and Niemann both earned automatic berths on the team, while four-time Internationals representative Leishman may well have been a wildcard pick for captain Trevor Immelman.

Chile's Mito Pereira, another automatic Presidents Cup pick, was also reportedly expected to make the move to LIV, however Sports Illustrated said he was not scheduled to not play next week's event.

"Happy and honoured to be part of the International Presidents Cup team," Perreira posted on Instagram on Saturday.

Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman, pictured here in action at the 2022 PGA Championship.
Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman in action at the 2022 PGA Championship. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Immelman seemed resigned to losing some stars as his team chases only its second win against the powerhouse US side in the 14th staging of the Presidents Cup.

"I was chosen by our players to lead the International team to the best of my abilities, and I will carry out this honour fully," Immelman said in a statement to GolfChannel.com.

"All I can control is the experience the 12 players who want to be at the Presidents Cup will have.

"My wife and I along with our support staff have dedicated 2 years of our lives to making this Presidents Cup an amazing week for our players, caddies and families."

LIV Golf joins lawsuit against PGA Tour

Earlier on Saturday, Golf Channel reported that LIV Golf had added itself to the lawsuit that a number of players have lodged against the PGA Tour over their suspensions, while four players have removed their names from the case.

That leaves seven players, most notably Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, along with LIV Golf, as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The four who withdrew their names are Carlos Ortiz, Abraham Ancer, Pat Perez and Jason Kokrak.

The amended complaint was filed on Friday afternoon in the US District Court in Northern California.

Three players still on the lawsuit - Australian Matt Jones, Talor Gooch and Hudson Swafford - previously sought a temporary restraining order to play in the FedEx Cup play-offs.

The judge denied their request two weeks ago.

with AAP

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