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Smith, Leishman join LIV

LONDON (AFP) — British Open champion Cameron Smith has become the latest leading player to sign up to the breakaway LIV Golf Series, which on Tuesday announced that he was in the field for its next event.

The Australian was one of six new recruits for the Saudi-backed tour for the LIV Golf Invitational Boston, from 2 to 4 September.

As the world’s number two, the 29-year-old Smith will become the highest-ranked player to compete in a LIV Golf event.

Smith was linked repeatedly to LIV Golf shortly after winning the 150th British Open, at St. Andrews, last month, but avoided discussion of the subject while playing in this month’s PGA FedEx Cup playoffs.

A LIV statement issued Tuesday said Smith would be among five other players making their debuts among a field of 48 at the International in Massachusetts, including compatriot Marc Leishman, leading Chilean golfer Joaquin Niemann, Harold Varner III (world no 46), Cameron Tringale (55) and India’s top-ranked pro Anirban Lahiri (92).

LIV Golf’s record $25 million purses and 54-hole format have attracted several big-name players, including Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson.

Smith told Golf Digest on Tuesday that money “was definitely a factor” in his decision.

“I won’t ignore that or say that wasn’t a reason,” he said. “It was obviously a business decision for one and an offer I couldn’t ignore.”

“The biggest thing for me joining is (the LIV) schedule is really appealing. I’ll be able to spend more time at home in Australia and maybe have an event down there, as well. I haven’t been able to do that, and to get that part of my life back was really appealing.”

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