Rumors have been swirling for weeks that Smith, the winner of this year’s Open Championship and Players Championship, is poised to join the Saudi-backed league and his aloof answers to pointed questions about his move to LIV have only fueled the speculation.
“I have no comment to that,” Smith said two weeks ago at the first playoff event in Memphis. “I'm here to play the FedExCup Playoffs. That's been my focus the last week and a half, that's what I'm here to do.”
Smith is scheduled to play the fourth LIV event, which is slated for next week outside of Boston.
Sources also confirmed that Mito Pereira, Marc Leishman, Harold Varner III, Cameron Tringale and Joaquin Niemann are also set to join the breakaway league next week. Niemann told GolfChannel.com Friday at East Lake that he was undecided on whether he would join LIV.
This most recent wave of defections will have a devastating impact on the International Presidents Cup team. Smith, Niemann and Pereira were all among the top 8 automatic qualifiers for captain Trevor Immelman’s team.
Welp. There ya have it. We’ve known for weeks that Cam Smith was as good as gone, as well as his Aussie pal Marc Leishman. Cam is a devastating loss as I’ve documented here at Barstool Sports dot com on numerous occasions, whereas Leishman is very much in LIV’s wheelhouse. Respected veteran whose best golf is well behind him and never won a major.
Mito Pereira was obviously a hot name after having the PGA right in his lap before collapsing with a double on the 72nd hole… but he also didn’t exactly follow it up with any spectacular golf.
Cameron Tringale is like a lesser version of Leishman… in fact, he’s the PGA Tour’s all time money leader for a guy who’s never won an event.
Harold Varner is disappointing… he was rumored to have been gone earlier this year only to have been talked back in by Michael Jordan himself. Wild. Must’ve been quite the bag to talk him back into LIV.
But the one that hurts the most (besides Cam obv) is Niemann. It feels like he’s been on Tour forever but the guy is only 23 years young. He’s actually the youngest player in the Tour Championship this week. Behind the scenes he’s supposedly been flip flopping all week and I hope he sticks. The show he put on at Riv earlier this year was maybe the most dominant win we saw all year. Just a glimpse of what he’s capable of.
All of this puts a serious dent in Trevor Immelman’s President’s Cup team next month. They’re already at a serious disadvantage and to lose 3 of their 8 auto qualifiers is devastating. Leish was probably gonna be a captains pick too. An event that’s typically a USA rout (they’re 11-1-1 all time) is looking like more of the same.
By the way, news of all of these players was already essentially leaked yesterday when the internet discovered that promo codes were active for each of these guys for the next LIV event.
Blunder by LIV or a ploy by Greg Norman to wreak havoc during the Tour Championship? Wouldn’t put it past him. Anything is possible these days…