GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Add Harold Varner III to the list of PGA Tour players jumping ship for the LIV Golf tour.
Varner, who was a star at East Carolina University, joined the tour along with British Open champion Cam Smith, Marc Leishman, Joaquin Niemann, Anirban Lahiri and Cameron Tringale, according to SI.com. The LIV Golf tour announced the move Tuesday on Twitter.
The PGA Tour has said previously that any players who participate in a LIV Golf event will be suspended indefinitely. Smith is the No. 2 player in the world while Varner is 44th, according to PGATour.com.
Varner, 32, has not won a PGA Tour event but did win the Saudi International in February, beating Bubba Watson by a shot.
Smith, Niemann among players to join Saudi-backed LIV Golf
He reportedly sought the advice of Michael Jordan in June, who told him not to make the move. Varner has a business relationship with Jordan, wearing his “Jumpman” logo. The two have become close friends, too. Both also have homes in the Charlotte area.
“I’m obviously not going,” Varner said in June about leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. “I’ve spoken with (PGA Tour commissioner) Jay (Monahan), I’ve spoken with a lot of people I look up to and it just wasn’t worth it to me for what it was worth. That’s pretty simple.”
Varner also said at the time the offer from LIV Golf was “nuts” and that while he enjoyed his time in Saudi Arabia, he was looking out for the best interests of himself and his family.
“It’s very odd, when you only hear what the top players are saying, because there’s people down there that are in the middle that didn’t get an offer from LIV, that are very important for the PGA Tour. I think it’d be very important to hear their thoughts,” Varner told SI.com in June. “It’s eye-opening to me, when I spoke with Keith Mitchell and Wyndham Clark (at the RBC Canadian Open), they were very pro about golf, what they thought golf was going to be and I was like, ‘that’s important, we need to hear that view.’”
The LIV series is eight tournaments this year but is expected to go to a 14-team league format in 2024 with 12 four-man teams, SI.com reports.