Six PGA Tour players leaving to join LIV Golf

British Open champion Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann are among six players to leave the PGA Tour for Saudi-funded LIV Golf,

which returns this week for a fourth tournament, this time outside of Boston.

The signing of Smith, who had been deflecting questions about his imminent departure since the day he won the claret jug

Smith, a 29-year-old from Australia, rose to No. 2 in the world ranking after winning at St. Andrews.

e could have reached No. 1 with a victory at the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Now, that opportunity is gone. LIV Golf does not get ranking points, though it filed an application last month.

The PGA Tour is suspending members as soon as they put a ball in play at LIV Golf events.

Others to sign are Marc Leishman, a six-time PGA Tour winner from Australia who at age 38 has dropped out of the top 50 in the world,

and three others who leave without ever having won on the PGA Tour — Americans Harold Varner III and Cameron Tringale and Anirban Lahiri of India.