Open champion Cameron Smith set to join LIV's breakaway tour this week

New Open Champion Cameron Smith ‘Leads SIX Other LIV Rebels With Ryder Cup Captain Stenson’s Defection’

New Open champion Cameron Smith would become the latest player to drop a bombshell on the golf world at the top of a list of six players set to become the latest recruits to the controversial LIV breakaway competition.

The Australian became the first player from his country to win the famous Claret Jug since Greg Norman at Royal St George’s in 1993, propelling Rory McIlroy to glory on Sunday.

His celebrations were spoiled, however, when he clashed with a British reporter over his participation in the rebel Saudi LIV tour just minutes after his stunning win at St Andrews.

Major players have been and continue to be tempted by the ridiculous amounts of money on offer, with the breakaway backed by $2 billion in Saudi money and total prize money across eight events amounting to around 205 million pounds.

There has been a frenzy of speculation around Smith and others – including Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson and England star Tommy Fleetwood – about their desire to join the Saudi-backed LIV series.

And now a report has added to the growing whirlwind claiming Smith, 28, is set to win golf’s most prestigious major by joining the breakaway tour led by fellow Aussie Norman.

He claims he should be joined by another compatriot in the person of Marc Leishman.

Also among the new rebels is Stenson, who is set to be stripped of his Ryder Cup captaincy, just two months after he was announced as skipper for the match against the United States in Italy next year.

Open champion Cameron Smith set to join LIV’s breakaway tour this week

He became the first Australian Open champion since 1993 before his celebrations went downhill

He became the first Australian Open champion since 1993 before his celebrations went downhill

Stenson missed the cut at the Open in one fell swoop and wouldn’t be keen on his future when asked about it on Friday, responding when asked about the composition of his next schedule: “Undecided “.

However, Swedish outlet Expressen claim the 2016 Open winner will arrive at Royal Troon on Monday, shortly after with news expected to follow that he will be LIV’s latest defector.

England star Tommy Fleetwood is also reportedly set to defect, after a Times article in June suggested his wife and manager, Clare Craig, was at the Centurion Club last month.

Double Masters winner Bubba Watson is also among the names linked to LIV’s controversial tour.

Meanwhile, The Mirror claims last year’s Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama will finalize his future next month after being targeted by LIV Golf.

Among the new group of rebels is Henrik Stenson, who is set to lose the Ryder Cup captaincy

Among the new group of rebels is Henrik Stenson, who is set to lose the Ryder Cup captaincy

England star Tommy Fleetwood is also reportedly set to defect for the breakaway tour

England star Tommy Fleetwood is also reportedly set to defect for the breakaway tour

Report claims Smith is set to be joined by another compatriot in Marc Leishman

Report claims Smith is set to be joined by another compatriot in Marc Leishman

The Japanese is said to be considering his options after being approached by the Saudi-backed breakaway.

But should the world No 14 enter the breakaway, he would join other European stars Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Martin Kaymer and Cup points record holder Sergio Garcia.

Garcia confirmed on Sunday that he would officially step down from the DP World Tour.

Others who have also signed up for the mega-money tour include six-time Major champion Mickelson – who alone would be paid £160million – former world No 1s Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, earning £104million respectively £125m to sign up, and former US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, also earning £104m.

Hideki Matsuyama has also been targeted and is expected to finalize his future next month.

Hideki Matsuyama has also been targeted and is expected to finalize his future next month.

Double Masters winner Bubba Watson is also among the names linked to LIV

Double Masters winner Bubba Watson is also among the names linked to LIV

But the main name on the latest list is Smith, who shot a total of 268 over his four rounds to finish 20 under par – the lowest score under par a winner has finished in majors history and the score still in four rounds at St Andrews.

However, he clashed with a reporter who asked him to join the rebel Saudi LIV tour saying, “I just won the British Open and you’re asking about it?” I think it’s pretty, not so good.

The breakaway series is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – owners of Premier League side Newcastle United.

It has led to the players being criticized for taking part in the Saudi-backed tour due to the kingdom’s dismal human toll, while critics have also called the competition “sportwashing”.

The breakaway series - led by Greg Norman (right) - is backed by the Saudi PIF

The breakaway series – led by Greg Norman (right) – is backed by the Saudi PIF

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in 2018 at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey after criticizing his country’s government, and a UN special rapporteur and the CIA have since claimed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman gave the order of the murder.

US President Joe Biden discussed Mr Khashoggi’s killing during a meeting last week with the Saudi crown prince, who continues to deny the allegations, while Saudi prosecutors have accused “rogue” Saudi agents.

The kingdom has also carried out mass executions this year, with 81 people convicted on broad terrorism charges in March, bringing the total number to 92 in 2022. The current figure is unknown.

Bin Salman has also waged a crackdown on women’s rights, with current rights severely curtailed, while homosexuality remains illegal.

Saudi leader Mohammad Bin Salman has been accused of ordering the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi leader Mohammad Bin Salman has been accused of ordering the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

#Open #Champion #Cameron #Smith #Leads #LIV #Rebels #Ryder #Cup #Captain #Stensons #Defection

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