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Chilean Niemann among golfers who go to LIV Golf

Chile's Joaquin Niemann watches his shot on the eighth hole during the third round of the Tour Championship tournament at the East Lake Golf Club o



Chile's Joaquin Niemann watches his shot on the eighth hole during the third round of the Tour Championship tournament at the East Lake Golf Club on August 27, 2022 in Atlanta.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)Chile's Joaquin Niemann watches his shot on the eighth hole during the third round of the Tour Championship tournament at the East Lake Golf Club on August 27, 2022 in Atlanta.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)Chile's Joaquin Niemann watches his shot on the eighth hole during the third round of the Tour Championship tournament at the East Lake Golf Club on August 27, 2022 in Atlanta.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Chile’s Joaquin Niemann watches his shot on the eighth hole during the third round of the Tour Championship tournament at the East Lake Golf Club on August 27, 2022 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Chile’s Joaquin Niemann watches his shot on the eighth hole during the third round of the Tour Championship tournament at the East Lake Golf Club on August 27, 2022 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

British Open champion Cameron Smith and Chilean Joaquin Niemann are among six golfers who left the PGA Tour for Saudi-funded LIV Golf, which returns this week for a fourth tournament, this time outside Boston.

The signing of Smith, who had been dodging questions about his impending PG exit since winning the British Open, makes Greg Norman the first top-10 golfer in the world.

Smith, a 10-year-old Australian, moved up to 2nd in the world rankings after winning at St. Andrews. He could have moved up to 1st with a win early in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Now that opportunity is gone. LIV Golf does not receive ranking points, although it submitted an application for it last month.

The PGA Tour is suspending members as soon as they play their first golf at LIV Golf events.

Others about to join are Marc Leishman, an Australian who has won six PGA tournaments and dropped out of the top 50, and three others who are leaving without having played a tour event — Americans Harold Varner III and Cameron Tringale. and Anirban Lahiri, from India.

Smuth and Chile’s Niemann were among the eight qualified for the international team at the Presidents Cup, which will be played in a month at Quail Hollow. Leishman and Lahiri have previously played in the competition.

Because the PGA Tour exclusively operates the Presidents Cup — unlike the Ryder, which Europe operates when played at home — golfers joining LIV Golf are not eligible.

Niemann, 23, considered joining the rival league in February until negative comments from Phil Mikelson about the Saudis and the PGA delayed the launch of LIV Golf. Niemann then won the Genesis Invitational at Riviera, citing competition and history as reasons to stay on the PGA.

But his best friends in the sport have joined the rival series — Mexicans Carlos Ortiz and Abraham Ancer and Spaniard Sergio Garcia — and they often share a house.