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Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com

By Dan Kilbridge | | 13 mins

PGA Tour Odds: 40% Chance Cameron Smith Is Next to Join LIV Tour

PGA Tour Odds: 40% Chance Cameron Smith Is Next to Join LIV Tour

For every golf betting enthusiast's benefit, the LIV Golf series is set for a third event, as the Saudi Arabia-backed startup heads to Trump Bedminster in New Jersey – originally scheduled to host the 2022 PGA Championship, the course was removed from the rotation following the events of Jan. 6, 2021. 

For as much criticism as the league has received over its intentions – presumably, to help reshape the country’s image through sports rather than its record on human rights – leader Greg Norman & Co. have managed to lure a few top players away from the PGA Tour. 

That includes Brooks Koepka, who had previously stated his intentions to remain loyal to the Tour on several occasions, along with others like Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Abraham Ancer as the most competitive golfers in terms of the world ranking. 

However, things are getting tense at Tour headquarters. The conclusion of the 150th British Open brings an end to the major season and with it a full offseason of recruitment efforts for LIV, with several big names reportedly jumping ship in the coming weeks. 

 

British Open champion Cameron Smith is at the center of those rumors after taking home the claret jug, and he didn’t exactly offer a strong denial when asked about it following the victory. Other rumored names outside the top 25 include Bubba Watson, Marc Leishman, Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson.

These LIV fields are extremely weak at the bottom and are comprised mostly of former stars well past their prime, anonymous journeymen and amateurs. Notable exceptions outside the top 25 include Bryson DeChambeau, Talor Gooch and Patrick Reed

It goes without saying this sampling of players includes some of the least popular players on Tour and isn’t large or relevant enough to gain serious traction from a viewership standpoint. But LIV is not interested in the numbers at this point and has unlimited funds to burn while attempting to recruit additional talent. 

Johnson is the only departure that some considered truly shocking, but we know LIV isn’t done trying to lure players away from the Tour with promises of insane wealth. Those recruiting efforts certainly aren’t limited to the top 25 players, but seeing any further departures from the upper-echelon in the coming weeks would be a serious concern for Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. 

Looking at the current top 25, we've examined public comments from the remaining 21 players in order to look at the golf odds that any one of them will jump ship and commit to LIV in the near future.

Who Will Leave PGA Tour Next For LIV Golf?

PlayerOdds to join LIV nextImplied Probability
Cameron Smith+15040%
Patrick Cantlay+35022.22%
Hideki Matsuyama+35022.22%
Viktor Hovland+45018.18%
Daniel Berger+45018.18%
Tony Finau+45018.18%
Will Zalatoris+60014.29%
Collin Morikawa+60014.29%
Sungjae Im+60014.29%
Xander Schauffele+65013.33%
Matt Fitzpatrick+80011.11%
Sam Burns+80011.11%
Joaquin Niemann+80011.11%
Billy Horschel+90010%
Max Homa+90010%
Shane Lowry+10009.09%
Scottie Scheffler+10009.09%
Jon Rahm+20004.76%
Justin Thomas+20004.76%
Jordan Spieth+20004.76%
Rory McIlroy+30003.23%

Odds are created by our Bookies.com team and do not reflect odds that may be available on legal betting sites and betting apps.

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Cameron Smith, +150

World Ranking: 2

You never really know professional athletes. That’s important to remember with stuff like this. Having said that, Smith certainly seems like the type of guy who enjoys his life on Tour and wouldn’t chase a huge check just for the sake of it. He also said the following in March: 

“I think that the PGA Tour is the pinnacle of golf, and that's where I want to be … I want to be competing against the best guys in the world, and if they're playing over here, then I want to be playing against them."

Patrick Cantlay, +350

World Ranking: 4

Cantlay is one of the most emotionally-guarded players on Tour. We hadn’t heard much from him on LIV until he was recently asked if he’d received an offer. His answer didn’t exactly kill any speculation and the video caught fire on Twitter because he danced around the question in such comical fashion. 

“My team handles all that kind of stuff, whether it be just any of the sponsors that I have or anything in that department. I haven’t had any direct contact with them recently. So I really, you know, I don’t have anything like that outstanding,” Cantlay said. 

Cantlay would be a brutal loss for the Tour and there’s no serious smoke here yet, but it wouldn’t be a completely shocking departure at this point.

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Hideki Matsuyama, +350

World Ranking: 14

The 2021 Masters champion deals with more on-site media than anyone other than Tiger Woods due to the massive interest in Japan. It visibly wears on him throughout the week and the potential for fewer media obligations and fewer tournaments could be very tempting for Matsuyama. 

Viktor Hovland, +450

World Ranking: 9

Hovland is another young, rising star, with LIV desperate to acquire more players in that mold. He recently told Norwegian media he has “no plans” to leave the Tour, and said in February that “If I had my wish, I would just keep playing the PGA Tour.” Those comments weren’t nearly as strong as some we’ve heard from other top players, and Hovland’s name has been out there as a potential candidate. Hovland missed the cut at the recent US Open.

PGA Tour Odds: 40% Chance Cameron Smith Is Next to Join LIV Tour 5

Daniel Berger, +450

World Ranking: 30

Berger sparked speculation this week by backing out of the John Deere Classic, though he said it was due to a back issue. He loves his boat and leisure time in Jupiter, Florida, and his name was included in the wave of speculation ahead of recent signings. There’s nothing here yet, but Berger is another player who hasn’t exactly come out against LIV in full force.

Tony Finau, +450

World Ranking: 17

Finau’s comments from early June almost sounded like he was still on the fence. He has been approached by LIV and he also places a massive emphasis on family time with his wife and five children. This doesn’t seem like it would be a complete shocker at this point.

"I don't have a stance on it yet. I think we're just like everyone, don't really know what's going on with that. But I'm grateful to be on the PGA Tour, it's been an honor for me to have an opportunity to play and display my talent in front of the world on a tour like the PGA Tour, so much history there.”   

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Will Zalatoris, +600

World Ranking: 13

Zalatoris won’t want to disrupt his current major flow, with a ridiculous six top-10 major finishes and three runner-ups in his last seven attempts. But if it begins to look like LIV golfers will be eligible for the major championships in the future, it opens the door for young players like Zalatoris who would see no major eligibility as a dealbreaker. But he did indicate his continued loyalty regarding players who are on the LIV fence.

“Look, if you want to do it, no one’s stopping you,” Zalatoris said. “But what we have here is pretty good too, considering every week we’re playing for a pretty great purse on a pretty great golf course and considering the benefits that we have off the course on top of that, it’s pretty tough to beat.”           

Collin Morikawa, +600

World Ranking: 8

Morikawa was rumored to be among the latest signings, which would have been a serious shake-up. He took pleasure in shooting down those rumors on Twitter, stating “Last week at my press conference, I said the media loves creating drama. Sure enough, I woke up this morning to everyone thinking I’m next. Not to say I told you so but…I told you so. To state for the record, once again, you all are absolutely wrong. I’ve said it since February at Riviera that I’m here to stay on the @PGATOUR and nothing has changed.”


RELATED: Comparing LIV Golf Series Prize Money vs PGA Tour Prize Money


PGA Tour Odds: 40% Chance Cameron Smith Is Next to Join LIV Tour 1

Sungjae Im, +600

World Ranking: 24

Im is a daily fantasy sports legend for his remarkable consistency in his early years on Tour. He’s still only 24-years-old and the Tour lifestyle doesn’t seem to bother him at all. In fact, the dude played an insane 35 tournaments in his first full season, during which he didn’t own a residence and lived out of a suitcase from hotel-to-hotel. So the allure of fewer golf tournaments doesn’t seem like a strong selling point. He also recently issued a statement regarding his current position.

"Rest assured that I am fully committed to the PGA Tour,” Im said. “It has been my lifelong dream to compete on the PGA Tour and I am blessed to have this platform to be able to play with and against the best players in the world. For the record, I would also like to state publicly that I have no affiliation with, and have no intention of discussing an affiliation with, the LIV Tour.”

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Xander Schauffele, +650

World Ranking: 6

While Xander’s name was floated out there several times as well, it’s tough to know where the smoke is coming from. Some of the “rumors” were almost certainly leaked intentionally by LIV to create the appearance of a gold rush, but many of those rumors have seemingly fallen flat. Schauffele was pretty clear recently when he laid out his priorities.

“I’m not the first one to sit here and lie to somebody, the numbers being thrown around are very obnoxious,” Schauffele said. “There are certain numbers that even fans of mine, if they looked at it and they’d tell me I’m an idiot for not going, but right now, I’m 28-years-old, I want to win major championships, I want to win PGA Tour events, and I really think we can make this product on the PGA Tour, it’s been the best and now there is competition, and we can keep it the best with the talent we have, we just kind of need to unify and keep it together.”   


RELATEDDustin Johnson's LIV Paycheck vs Tiger Woods' All-Time PGA Tour Earnings


PGA Tour Odds: 40% Chance Cameron Smith Is Next to Join LIV Tour 2
            

Matt Fitzpatrick, +800

World Ranking: 10

Fitzpatrick was another rumored name, and it turns out LIV also offered his brother, Alex Fitzpatrick, ahead of his pro debut at this week’s Irish Open. Alex and Matt both said, ‘no thanks’ with Matt coming off his first major victory at the U.S. Open. Both seemed to have taken a lot of time with the decision, indicating there won’t be a change of course in the near future.

Sam Burns, +800

World Ranking: 11

Burns is one of the hottest players in the world, with three wins already this season and four total since joining the Tour in 2019. We haven’t seen many public comments from Burns, but the source of concern for many is Burns’ management group – GSE Worldwide. The agency has been funneling its clients to LIV, including Bryson DeChambeau, Abraham Ancer, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen. But there aren’t any signs of Burns joining them yet.

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Joaquin Niemann, +800

World Ranking: 18

Same deal as Burns, as Niemann is a GSE Worldwide client. But Niemann recently came out with some forceful comments, stating there was “no chance” he’d leave as long as the majority of top players were on the PGA Tour.

Billy Horschel, +900

World Ranking: 15

Horschel is one of the most outspoken players in the game, and he’s extremely loyal to the Tour. That’s really what it comes down to and we’d be very surprised to see Horschel jump ship.

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Max Homa, +900

World Ranking: 21

Similar to Horschel, Homa has pledged his allegiance to the Tour and given no indication he plans on looking elsewhere.

Shane Lowry, +1000

World Ranking: 23

Lowry recently gave a long explanation as to why he’s sticking with the Tour, and the 2019 British Open champ and regular golf betting favorite seems intent on getting the message out there and helping keep his fellow top players right where they are.

PGA Tour Odds: 40% Chance Cameron Smith Is Next to Join LIV Tour 3

Scottie Scheffler, +1000

World Ranking: 1

Scheffler already has four Tour wins this year, including the Masters. He’s made $13 million this season with plenty of tournaments left to play. Life is good for Scheffler, he’s denied any interest, and we don’t see that changing in the future.

Jon Rahm, +2000

World Ranking: 5

Rahm is another player who didn’t leave any room for speculation, explaining at length why the Tour is the place for him and how he chases trophies and legacy rather than money. We have no reason to doubt that’s all true.

Justin Thomas, +2000

World Ranking: 7

Thomas’ stature on Tour is even more essential now as one of the best young players and representatives in the world. He is frequently among the golf odds favorites for PGA Tour events. His comments have been almost dismissive of LIV’s efforts and he doesn’t hide his thoughts on players who have said one thing and done another by jumping ship.

PGA Tour Odds: 40% Chance Cameron Smith Is Next to Join LIV Tour 4

"It's like, 'Look, if you want to go, go,’" Thomas said. “There's been plenty of guys that have been advocates of it and have just talked it up all the time, and there have been guys behind the scenes that are saying, 'I'm going, I'm doing this.' And like my whole thing is, like, just go then. … Like, stop going back and forth or like you say you're going to do this. Everybody's entitled to do what they want, you know what I mean? Like if I wanted to go play that tour I could go play that tour. But I'm loyal to the PGA Tour and I've said that."

Jordan Spieth, +2000

World Ranking: 12

Spieth remains one of the most compelling figures in the game, he’s a golden boy on Tour and his loyalty is beyond question. 

Rory McIlroy, +3000

World Ranking: 3

McIlroy has been the most vocal player coming out against LIV at every turn, with deeply thought-out reasoning and explanations and a great grasp on what LIV is actually trying to do – growing the game ain’t it. There’s no way he’s going back on his word after everything he’s said in recent years.

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About the Author

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com
Dan Kilbridge
Handicapper Dan Kilbridge writes about college football, MLB and other sports for Bookies.com after spending three years covering Tiger Woods’ comeback and the PGA for Golfweek.