Two more Australians join Greg Norman’s first LIV Golf event in London
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Two more Australians join Greg Norman’s first LIV Golf event in London

Australian golf officials are confident that newly minted US Open champion Minjee Lee will return home in December to lead the historic Australian Open in Melbourne, where the women’s and men’s events will be played simultaneously on the same course.

Two more Australians join Greg Norman's first LIV Golf event in London

But the presence of six male players may be questionable after confirmation that two more – Travis Smyth and Kevin Yuan – were among the final six players added to the field for the opening event of Greg Norman’s controversial LIV Golf series in London this week.

While the confirmation of three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson for the LIV headlined the last places, Smyth and Yuan, invited after recent high finishes on the Asian Tour, brought the Australian contingent in the event to six.

Both are guaranteed to walk away with at least $167,000 even if they finish last at Centurion Club, but are hoping for a bigger share of the total $35 million prize pool.

Camera Icon Travis Smyth plays in the LIV event. Credit: News Corp Australia

Norman called it a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for many late call-ups hooked up to small tours.

Smyth, ranked 395th in the world, finished second at last week’s Asian Tour event in England, his best finish in over three years, while Yuan, 25, is in 1050 and easily the biggest. Collection of his career as a journeyman.

“Our international qualifiers have been given an incredible opportunity to compete in LIV Golf’s new format, and I’m looking forward to seeing them all tee off next week,” said Norman.

“This is a unique opportunity for many of them, and it has been a driving force behind our mission at LIV – to create player paths and new opportunities to play the game we all love.”

Two other Australians in the event – Matt Jones and Jed Morgan – could still be banned from defending their Australian Open and PGA titles later this year, with both events co-approved by the DP World Tour.

Golf Australia has greatly benefited from renewed relationships with the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, and the US PGA Tour. It would comply with any penalties handed out to players who signed up with Norman.

But while the Australian Open may not have a defending champion, officials are hopeful Lee, who won her second major at Pine Needles, and fellow major champion Hannah Green will headline the women’s field for the historic event at Victoria Golf Club.

4th World Champion Cameron Smith is the main target for the men’s field, with officials looking to form a strong contingent of homegrown talent, including Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Lucas Herbert, and Lee’s brother, PGA player Min Woo, for the first Australian Open since 2019.