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Recently-crowned Open champion Cameron Smith will make his LIV Golf debut at the International Golf Club in Boston later this week, where he will be joined by five other debutants.
World No.19 Joaquin Niemann, Cameron Tringale, Harold Varner III, Marc Leishman and Anirban Lahiri will tee it up for the first time in the series and they will do so at the expense of all four Japanese players that played in previous events.
Yuki Inamori, Ryosuke Kinoshita, Jinichiro Kozuma and Hideto Tanihara make way for the new bout of signings, which will result in an overhaul of the franchise Torque GC.
Inamori played in Portland and Bedminster where he finished tied for 11th and 44th respectively. Ryosuke Kinoshita has been an ever-present feature up until now, but after a tie for 13th in the inaugural event at Centurion Club diminishing returns of a tie for 23rd and 36th followed.
Jinichiro Kozuma and Hideto Tanihara are also sidelined after making three consecutive appearances. In the case of Kozuma, his LIV Golf career thus far has been best highlighted by a sixth place finish in Oregon.
LIV Golf Boston will be without of a Japanese representative in more ways than one after recent reports revealed that Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama declined the Saudi advances. The 30-year-old was reportedly offered upwards of $300m to join the Greg Norman-fronted venture and was said to be "torn between the money and his legacy." For now at least, Matsuyama will be plying his trade on the PGA Tour.
Matsuyama would have undoubtedly been a huge coup for LIV Golf and really transcended the shape of the circuit. He is the most recognised and most successful Japanese golfer in PGA Tour history, culminated by his 2021 Masters victory in which he became the first male Japanese winner of a Major championship. The image of his caddie, Shota Hayafuji bowing on the 18th green lives long in the memory of golfing purists.
More than half of the country’s televisions tuned in to watch Matsuyama’s victory and the country’s national alert system, which is only strictly used for messages of emergency and natural disaster, sent out a notice of congratulations moments after the final putt was holed.
It remains to be seen if the Japanese players return to LIV in the future or where they might choose to compete next - with the DP World Tour, Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour the likely avenues.
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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