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Cam Smith among PGA players reportedly defecting to LIV Golf

Cameron Smith, the world’s No. 2-ranked player and 2022 Open champion, is reportedly among a fresh band of PGA Tour players set to defect to LIV Golf.

Marc Leishman, Harold Varner III, Joaquin Niemann, Anirban Lahiri and Cameron Tringale may also be likely to join the brand new circuit, based on the report by ESPN on Saturday. The report said that Mito Pereira can be considering joining LIV.

Smith will be the highest-ranked player to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. The 29-year-old Australian has won six PGA Tour events, and also the Players in March.

Meanwhile, LIV Golf has joined the antitrust lawsuit contrary to the PGA Tour within an amended complaint where four players have removed their names.

That leaves seven players especially Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau alongside 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 Friday afternoon in the U.S. District Court in Northern California. Three players still on the lawsuit Matt Jones, Talor Gooch and Hudson Swafford previously sought a temporary restraining order to play in the FedEx Cup playoffs.

The judge denied their request fourteen days ago.

The lawsuit claims the PGA Tour has used monopoly capacity to make an effort to squash competition and contains unfairly suspended players.

Greg Norman, the CEO of LIV Golf, has said the league would fully support the players in virtually any legal action they pursued. LIV Golf, backed by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, now could be directly involved.

Earlier in the week, the PGA made its boldest response yet to LIV, revealing an idea to find the best players to invest in a 20-tournament schedule where they will compete keenly against one another around 17 times for average purses of $20 million.

Related: Top PGA Tour players to invest in 20-event a lot of money slate

“This isnt some kind of renegade group attempting to take some kind of power grab of the PGA Tour,” said Rory McIlroy, a player-director on the tour board. “That is, OK, how do we get this to tour better for everybody thats likely to play onto it now and everyone thats likely to play on the PGA Tour in the years ahead.”

Of the sweeping changes PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan organized, the most important was what arrived of a private meeting of 23 top players the other day: a fresh model that assures the very best play in exactly the same tournaments more regularly.

Veteran golfer Lee Westwood taken care of immediately the news headlines harshly, saying that the PGA changes were simply an attempt to “copy” LIV Golf.

The Associated Press contributed to the story.

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