Open champion Cameron Smith admits he “couldn’t ignore” the money on offer after joining LIV Golf.
Smith’s expected stint on the Saudi-backed tour was confirmed on Tuesday, along with those of fellow Australian Marc Leishman, Joaquin Niemann, Harold Varner, Cameron Tringale and Anirban Lahiri.
All six players are expected to make their debuts at the LIV Golf Invitational Series event in Boston this week, although Hideki Matsuyama and Cameron Young have not joined.
Smith’s move had been on the cards since he refused to answer questions posed by the PA news agency about joining LIV after winning the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews.
Reports have suggested Smith, the world number two who also won the Players Championship in March, could receive million for making the switch.
”(Money) was definitely a factor in making that decision, I won’t ignore it or say it wasn’t a reason,” Smith told Australian Golf Digest. “It was obviously a business decision for me and an offer that I couldn’t ignore.
“The most important thing for me is that (LIV’s) schedule is really attractive. I will be able to spend more time at home in Australia and maybe organize an event there as well.
“I haven’t been able to do that, and getting that part of my life back was really attractive.”
Smith also said he enjoys team golf and would like to play more, even if joining LIV means he will be suspended by the PGA Tour and become ineligible for September’s Presidents Cup.
Greg Norman, CEO and Commissioner of LIV Golf, said “”LIV Golf shows the world that our truly global league attracts the best players in the world and will evolve the game in the future for the next generation.
“The best and brightest continue to embrace the excitement and energy of LIV Golf and what we are building – a tangible league for team golf that will connect with new audiences all over the world.
“We are looking forward to starting this week internationally and providing another memorable event experience for the fans.”
The 48-man field in Boston, the fourth major golf event, will play through 12 teams of four players.
LIV Golf has already recruited Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, as well as European Ryder Cup players Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia.
The departure of Smith and the other five comes after PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan rejected the idea of LIV Golf rebels returning after changes, including guaranteed money, were announced last week.
Monahan said “”As I have always been clear, every player has a choice, and I respect his choice, but he did it.
“We have made our own. We will continue to focus on the things we control and become stronger and stronger.”