Cameron Smith told the media he feels LIV Golf's roster has become strong enough to "warrant" world ranking points after winning his maiden event on the controversial tour in Chicago on Sunday.

Smith won by three strokes at Rich Harvest Farms, finishing his 54 holes at 13 under, with Dustin Johnson tied for second with Peter Uhlein.

After stepping off the 18th green, the reigning Open and Players champion spoke about feeling like he needs to prove that he is still one of the best golfers in the world no matter where he is playing.

He is currently ranked third in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), but that will soon change as he continues playing the LIV Golf schedule, where none of the events are recognised by OWGR.

Speaking on the matter at his post-win press conference, Smith said he is hopeful of a resolution as soon as possible.

"[A resolution is] hopefully close – I think for all the guys on the tour it would mean a lot to get world ranking points," he said.

"I suppose there’s a lot on the line with the ranking points, getting into majors, stuff like that, so there needs to be [a resolution] quite soon, I think. 

"The field here is strong enough and deep enough to where it warrants that, and hopefully it’s soon."

Smith himself will be free to play in every major for the next five years as a perk of becoming a major champion.

Max Homa emerged victorious after a chaotic finish to the Fortinet Championship, chipping in for birdie on the last hole to win by one stroke from Danny Willett.

Homa and Willett came into the day tied for the lead, but heading into the last hole it was Willett leading by one stroke.

After Homa found the fairway bunker and was unable to reach the green, it appeared he had blown his chance to get the birdie he required, until a spectacular chip-in pulled him level with Willett.

The Englishman just needed to sink a four-foot birdie putt for the win, but it lipped out. On the return par putt to force a playoff, he incredibly lipped out again, gifting Homa the outright win at 16 under in an incredible turn of events.

It is the fifth PGA Tour win for Homa, who won multiple events last season for the first time in his career, after nabbing one win in 2018-19 and one in 2020-21. 

Homa collected a $1.44million cheque for his victory, with Willett earning $872,000 for second place.

Alone in third was American Taylor Montgomery, who shot Sunday's round of the day with an eight-under 64 to fly up the leaderboard and finish at 13 under.

Rounding out the top-five was round-one leader Justin Lower, and South Korea's An Byeong-hun, who was in the top-five for the entire week before finishing tied for fourth at 12 under.

Rickie Fowler only had one top-10 finish this past season, and he has already matched that figure as he finished tied for sixth at 11 under with Sahith Theegala and Canada's Nick Taylor.

Cameron Smith proved too good for the field at LIV Golf Chicago as the Australian scored a three-shot win for his maiden triumph on the new tour.

Smith, the reigning Open and Players champion, posted a three-under 69 in his third trip around Rich Harvest Farms, with six birdies and three bogeys seeing him finish at 13 under overall.

He started his round in a wobbly fashion, with two bogeys in his first six holes, but steadied down the stretch to fend off any late drama. Smith birdied his final two holes and capped the win with a long-range putt, living up to his reputation as arguably the world's best putter.

Smith pockets $4million, but during his interview after stepping off the 18th green he said this week was about proving how good he is, no matter where he is playing.

"I think I had to prove to probably myself and some other people that I'm a great player, and I'm still out here to win golf tournaments," Smith said.

"I'm proud of how I hung in there today, I didn't have my best stuff for the first eight or nine holes, but I stuck it tough and made a few good putts coming in – it was nice."

Smith fended off a late push from Dustin Johnson, who finished tied for second at 10 under, and said he hopes the two of them can build a friendly rivalry as LIV's top two players.

"I think so, he's probably the one in the group of players here who you look at and think he's going to be close to the top of the leaderboard every week," Smith said. "I hope he thinks the same about me, and hopefully we can keep it going."

While Johnson fell just short in the individual play, he converted a crucial birdie on the final hole to secure the fourth consecutive team title for 4 Aces GC, edging out Smash GC, who were able to count on the other player tied for second place, Peter Uihlein.

"It feels good, obviously this one was really close and came down to the wire," Johnson said. "I knew we were one up on Peter [Uihlein]'s team, so I needed to tie or beat him on the last hole, and we both made nice up-and-downs.

"It feels great to get another team win – but a little disappointed with the way I played today, and yesterday."

Despite 4 Aces GC winning overall, only two of their four members finished under par. Johnson led the way, with Patrick Reed at five under, Pat Perez at even par and Talor Gooch at three over.

Smith was done no great favours in that respect by his team-mates either, with Marc Leishman finishing tied for last at six over, while Wade Ormsby was four over to relegate Punch GC to fourth in the team standings. At least Matt Jones contributed positively, posting four under for the tournament.

Sergio Garcia and Joaquin Niemann rounded out the top five in the individual standings at eight under, Stinger GC team-mates Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel tied for sixth at seven under, and Phil Mickelson collected his first top-10 finish on the tour as he tied with Bryson DeChambeau for eighth at six under, among a group of four on that score.

Robert MacIntyre landed his second DP World Tour title by beating Matt Fitzpatrick in a play-off finish to the Italian Open.

The 26-year-old, whose only previous Tour triumph came at the Cyprus Showdown in 2020, started the final round three shots behind overnight leader Fitzpatrick.

However, a remarkable 10 birdies for MacIntyre at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club saw him finish seven-under par on Sunday and 14-under overall, level with Fitzpatrick.

US Open winner Fitzpatrick, who was seeking a second title of the season, birdied the 18th hole to force a play-off in Rome.

Just one hole was required as the Englishman could only manage a par after a poor tee shot, whereas MacIntyre birdied to seal a surprise victory.

"This means everything," MacIntyre said. "I was down and out about two or three months ago – I didn't know what I was doing and didn't know where to go.

"But we spoke to the right people and I started working with Simon Shanks. I mean, I've hit two perfect golf shots into the last there. There's so much hard work gone into this."

Rory McIlroy had been expected to rival Fitzpatrick for the title, the Northern Irishman starting the day one shot behind, but he ended up finishing fourth.

He started the final round with a double-bogey on the first hole, before recovering with five birdies over the next 14 holes.

McIlroy was back within one shot of the lead at that point, but a bogey on the par-four 16th, when finding the water off the tee, effectively ended his chances.

Victor Perez capitalised to finish third at 13 under, with his final round of 66 bettered only by MacIntyre's 64.

Justin Lower shot a three-under 69 in his third round at the Fortinet Championship to earn a one-stroke lead heading into Sunday's final trip around Silverado Resort.

Lower led by two strokes after the opening round, before a Friday 71 allowed both Max Homa and Danny Willett to overtake him. With Homa and Willett both shooting even-par 72s on Saturday, Lower capitalised and re-established his position at the head of the field at 13 under.

Kicking off his second PGA Tour season after collecting two top-10 finishes in his first campaign, Lower's 69 was the best score from the leading quartet, with five birdies and two bogeys.

Homa and Willett will enter Sunday's play trailing by one at 12 under, with South Korea's An Byeong-hun alone in fourth at 11 under.

The tie for fifth at 10 under includes Matt Kuchar, Paul Haley II, Adam Svensson, and one of the two players to shoot the round of the day, Davis Thompson, who posted eight birdies and one bogey for his seven-under 65.

Australian Harrison Endycott was the only other player to shoot 65, and with it he climbed 50 places up to a tie for ninth at nine under.

Joining Endycott in rounding out the top-10 is rising talent Sahith Theegala, while Rickie Fowler is one shot further back at eight under.

It was a day to forget for major champion Hideki Matsuyama, with only one player shooting worse than his three-over 75.

Cameron Smith is three strokes clear of the field heading into the final round at LIV Golf Chicago, following up his opening 66 with a strong four-under 68 to sit at 10 under.

Smith, the reigning Open and Players champion, finished one stroke off the winner at his debut LIV event in Boston, and now has put himself in the box seat for his first win on the controversial tour.

He posted five birdies and one bogey during his second trip around Rich Harvest Farms, with only one player shooting better than his 68 on Saturday.

That player was Peter Uihlein, who climbed up to a tie for second at seven under with his 66, with seven birdies and one bogey.

Uihlein is tied with round-one leader Dustin Johnson, who followed up his blistering 63 with a disappointing two-over 74, and one shot further back in a tie for fourth is Laurie Canter and Charl Schwartzel and six under.

Rounding out the top-10, Crushers GC teammates Bryson DeChambeau and Charles Howell III are tied for sixth at five under along with Lee Westwood, and Smith's Punch GC teammate Matt Jones is part of the group tied for ninth at four under.

Smith and Jones have Punch GC one stroke off the lead in the team standings, trailing only Johnson's 4 Aces GC, who have won the last three events in a row. Johnson is doing most of the heavy lifting as captain, with his teammates Patrick Reed at one under, Talor Gooch at two over and Pat Perez at three over.

After a two-under opening round, Phil Mickelson went two over on Saturday to head into the final round at even par.

Phil Mickelson is convinced the LIV Golf Invitational Series is "here to stay" and the PGA Tour's dominance has come to an end.

The 52-year-old is one of several high-profile players to move from the PGA Tour to the new controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf, including Bryson DeChambeau and Open champion Cameron Smith.

The PGA Tour has been rocked by LIV Golf's emergence and since introduced numerous changes to retain players, such as increasing purses and encouraging its biggest names to play together more often. It has also suspended defectors from its tournaments.

But Mickelson believes the PGA Tour will have to come to terms with losing players to LIV Golf, telling reporters: "The PGA Tour, for the last 20 or 30 years have had all the best players in the world.

"That will never be the case again. LIV Golf is here to stay."

The bitter dispute led to some defectors suing their former tour, but Mickelson believes cooperation between the two rival tours would be beneficial for the sport.

"The best solution is for us to come together," added Mickelson after a two-under-par opening round of the ongoing LIV Golf tournament in Chicago.

"I think that the world of professional golf has a need for the old historical 'history of the game' product that the PGA Tour provides. I think that LIV provides a really cool, updated feel that is attracting a lot younger crowds.

"Both are good for the game of golf and the inclusion of LIV Golf in the ecosystem of the golf world is necessary. As soon as that happens, we all start working together. It's going to be a really positive thing for everyone."

Max Homa and Danny Willett are in a strong position to kick off the new PGA Tour season in style, tied for the lead at 12 under after two rounds of the Fortinet Championship.

Entering Friday's play, Homa was alone in second place two strokes behind leader Justin Lower, but when Lower shot a one-under 71, Homa capitalised and leapfrogged him with a five-under 67.

Starting on the back-nine, Homa was four under through his first six holes after an eagle on the par-five 16th, cooling off to post two birdies and one bogey from his next 12 holes.

Meanwhile, Willett was comfortably the best performer on the day, with his eight-under 72 coming in three shots better than anybody else in the second round. He went bogey-free with eight birdies.

Lower only slid down to a tie for third place at 10 under, where he is joined by An Byeong-hun.

There is a three-way tie for fifth at eight under consisting of Sahith Theegala, Matt Kuchar and Taylor Moore – with the latter two shooting back-to-back 68s.

Rounding out the top-10 is the American trio of Robby Shelton, Ben Martin and Brian Stuard at seven under.

After a strong start, Rickie Fowler could only post an even-par second round to remain at five under, while major champion Hideki Matsuyama finished two strokes inside the cut-line to qualify for the weekend, and Australian duo Jason Day and Cam Davis were not so lucky.

Dustin Johnson leads the field by three strokes after the first round at LIV Golf Chicago, shooting a nine-under 63 in his first trip around Rich Harvest Farms.

The two-time major winner was nearly flawless as he put a decent gap between himself and second-placed Cameron Smith, going bogey free with nine birdies and nine pars as he consistently left himself with short putts.

Johnson's best run came from the sixth hole through to the 12th, where he collected six birdies over the space of seven holes.

Speaking after stepping off the last green, Johnson said he is in "a nice groove".

"My swing was really solid all day, hit it really close," he said. "I didn't have many long putts, but I holed a lot within 10 feet, and I struck it really well all day.

"Right now I feel like I've got my swing in a nice groove, so for me as long as I hit a couple balls every other day I can keep it there."

Alone in second is Smith with a bogey free six under, and one stroke away in sole possession of third is Matthew Wolff at five under.

Johnson has single-handedly pulled his team 4 Aces GC to the top of the leaderboard at 12 under – with team-mates Pat Perez at four over and Patrick Reed at two over – while Smith's Punch GC are in second place, with Matt Jones also pulling his weight to finish tied for fourth at four under.

Two Majesticks GC players are with Jones at four under – Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood – to leave them in third in the team standings.

Bryson DeChambeau and the Stinger GC pairing of Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel round out the top 10 at three under.

It is one of the strongest starts to a LIV tournament for Phil Mickelson, who is tied for 11th at two under along with Brooks Koepka, Harold Varner III and seven others.

Bryson DeChambeau insists he harbours no regrets following his decision to join the controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series.

The 2020 U.S. Open winner became one of the biggest names to join the lucrative Saudi-backed tour in June, later describing his move as "a business decision".

Despite LIV Golf players becoming the targets of hostility when playing at majors and selected events on other tours in recent weeks, DeChambeau remains content with his choice.

"This is the biggest decision, besides choosing my agent, that I've ever made in my entire life," DeChambeau said, ahead of LIV Golf Chicago. 

"I couldn't be more happy to be over here, I have no buyer's remorse. 

"I have ultimate respect for the PGA Tour and what they've done for my career, as I've said from day one. They've allowed me this opportunity." 

While the PGA Tour has reacted furiously to the founding of the new circuit, DeChambeau said in August he was "not worried" by their blanket ban on LIV Golf players, adding: "I think it will get figured out."

The 29-year-old reiterated that belief this week, saying: "I personally believe that over the course of time they will come to a resolution. There has to be, it's only in the best interests of golf down the road.

"What LIV Golf has provided is something new and unique, different. With that being said, there is going to some disruption and people aren't going to like it. 

"I respect every single person who thinks it isn't good for the game of golf, I understand it. But I hope they are open-minded enough to go, 'you know what? I'll give this a chance'. If you give it a chance, you might just see something pretty cool.

"I'm a golf fan, first and foremost. I'm going to watch golf wherever it's played with some of the best players in the world, whoever it is. I think down the road that'll change. 

"I think that this [LIV Golf] will become something special, even more special than what it is now, and moving forward in the future, I'll still watch other tournaments that I've won and done well at before."

The subject of LIV Golf players appearing at team events such as the Ryder Cup has been fiercely debated since the split, with Rory McIlroy adamant this week none of the circuit's players should be able to feature. 

But DeChambeau, who has helped the United States to two victories at the Ryder Cup (2018 and 2021) and one at the Presidents Cup (2019), believes a ban would only serve to harm the tournaments.

"I personally think that the team events are only hurting themselves by not allowing us to play," he added. "Not allowing us to qualify through some capacity, in some facet."

Justin Lower has kicked off the new PGA Tour season in style, shooting a nine-under 63 in the opening round of the Fortinet Championship to lead by two strokes.

Lower posted nine birdies and nine pars in his bogey-free round, bookending his day with birdies on the first and last holes.

Coming into his second year on the PGA Tour, Lower has two top-10 finishes to his name, making the cut in 16 of his 28 events this past campaign.

Alone in second place at seven under is Max Homa, who was part of the late starters able to finish their rounds right before play was halted due to darkness, with some competitors still not completing the 14th hole.

Tied for third place is J.J. Spaun along with two South Koreans, An Byeong-hun and Kim Seong-hyeon, with the trio shooting 66s.

There is a nine-man logjam at five under, which includes veteran Rickie Fowler as he tries to rediscover some form this season, as well as rising talent Sahith Theegala and Argentina's top player Emiliano Grillo.

Also at five under is Robby Shelton, who will resume play with six holes to play with a chance to climb the leaderboard even further before starting his second round.

One shot further back at four under is a group that includes Matt Kuchar and Canada's Adam Svensson, with major champions Hideki Matsuyama and Danny Willett at three under.

Phil Mickelson says his name on the lawsuit against the PGA Tour is no longer necessary after the LIV Golf International Series joined its players as a plaintiff.

LIV Golf players accused the PGA Tour of benefiting from operating as a monopoly, while alleging the former tour had improperly suspended the defectors following their decision to join the breakaway league.

Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Pat Perez and Jason Kokrak have already withdrawn their names from the lawsuit, with the lawsuit losing four of its 11 original plaintiffs.

Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford – three players still on the lawsuit – had sought a temporary order to allow them to compete in the PGA Tour's playoffs but were unsuccessful with their request.

Ian Poulter and Bryson DeChambeau are also among the high-profile names to sue, alongside Mickelson, who may step away from the lawsuit after LIV Golf became involved.

"I haven't done anything yet, but now that LIV is involved, it's not necessary for me to be a part of it," Mickelson said after playing at a LIV Golf warm-up event at Rich Harvest Farms on Thursday.

"I currently still am [part of the lawsuit]. I don't know what I'm really going to do. The only reason for me to stay in it is damages, which I don't really want or need anything.

"I do think that it's important that players have the right to be able to play when and where they want and when and where they've qualified for.

"Now that LIV is a part of [the lawsuit] that will be accomplished if and when they win."

The PGA Tour suspension will mean Mickelson, along with Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed cannot represent the United States in September's Presidents Cup.

Roger Federer ranks among sporting greats such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Tom Brady.

That was the message from 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, who hailed Federer after he announced his appearance at September's Laver Cup would be his last in professional sport.

The 41-year-old won 20 grand slam titles across a legendary 24-year career, only Novak Djokovic (21) and Rafael Nadal (22) can boast more major crowns in men's tennis.

Federer has also won more men's singles main draw matches in grand slam tournaments than any other player in the Open Era (369), leaving behind a magnificent legacy as he prepares to step away from the court.

Bartoli has experienced retirement herself, having called quits on her career after a failed comeback from injury in 2018, and asked by Stats Perform whether Federer was a GOAT – greatest of all-time – Bartoli said: "Yes, he is very much in there – absolutely.

"Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, they are people that transcend their sports – they are icons.

"You go in the streets, you say Roger Federer. I'm in Dubai right now [and if] you say 'Roger Federer' everyone would know who he is. And the same for LeBron and Michael Jordan.

"When you transcend your sport and you become an icon and everyone knows who you are, that's when you know you have been one of the greatest of all time across every sport.

"Same for Serena [Williams], you can put Novak and Rafa in there as well. But it's just that amount of fame and that amount of inspiring [the next] generation."

Having spent 237 consecutive weeks ranked as number one, Federer holds the record for the longest such streak in men's singles history after a four-and-a-half-year spell at the summit.

Federer was also present in the top 10 of the men's singles rankings for 750 weeks, an unmatched number for a male player since the rankings were first published in 1973.

Regardless of Federer trailing Djokovic and Nadal for grand slam titles, Bartoli believes the Swiss remains the best of the trio due to his elegant playing style.

"It's very much depending on your own taste in a way. If you like beautiful, elegant, smooth tennis you have to go for Roger Federer," she added.

"Now obviously with Novak having 21 and Rafa having 22 grand slams, if we speak numbers only then you have two players on top of him.

"But I think it's very much a debate because it depends on the style of play you like and, that said, I absolutely love to see Novak play and win.

"I absolutely loved to see Rafa winning again at Roland Garros this year, I think it was one of the most incredible sports achievements that you can possibly witness.

"But in terms of game style, and the way he has revolutionised tennis, I think Roger was the first one. And then they pushed each other to new heights and I think that was really special to see."

While many youngsters look to emulate Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, Bartoli highlighted the importance of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, too.

"You can tell how much impact a player [has] when you see a new generation trying to copy your style. I think Pete Sampras had that impact as well as Andre Agassi on the generation of Roger, Rafa and Novak," she continued.

"Roger has had that impact on the new generation with Carlos Alcaraz. So that's why I say that he was really the first one to elevate the game to another level because he brought that dimension of his forehand when he was really almost able to play the ball wherever he wanted.

"I always remember that sentence from Andre Agassi, when he started to play against Roger saying, 'well, I never felt against anybody that I had to play on a 20-centimetre square because that's the only safe spot I can play, which is deep to Roger's back. If I play anywhere, he will take the game away from me'. [Federer] was the first one to [do that] and then obviously Rafa and Novak arrived and sought to change that and they pushed each other to new heights.

"When you have the pinnacle of the 2008 Wimbledon final and all those matches in between them that was just beyond epic for me."

Shane Lowry never considered joining the LIV Golf International Series due to his belief the breakaway league is "bad for the game", suggesting the "ridiculous" prize money throughout golf will alienate fans.

Lowry edged past Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy to win the BMW PGA Championship last week, before labelling his victory "one for the good guys" amid the presence of LIV players at Wentworth.

While the 2019 Open winner criticised the Saudi Arabia-backed circuit in the build-up to that tournament, he attracted criticism earlier this year when he defended his decision to play the Saudi International by declaring; "I'm not a politician, I'm a golfer."

Lowry admitted he was wrong to make that remark, though his main objection to the existence of LIV Golf remains its decisive impact on the sport.

"When I said the 'I'm not a politician' remark, my first thought was 'why did I say that?' It was the wrong thing to say," he told the No Laying Up podcast.

"The thing is, I played the Saudi International for the last three years. So, for me, I would have been very hypocritical if I sat here and said, 'it's about where the money is coming from'.

"Will I go back and play the Saudi International next year? No. But I just think the LIV tour is bad for the game because it is very divisive.

"I am one of the players that thinks LIV should not exist. I don't like the idea of it.

"It is a tough subject for me to talk about because I have never been outspoken. The reason I hadn't is because no one had asked me about it. Rory is outspoken because every day he is in front of the media."

Lowry also believes the huge financial incentives available on every tour could turn fans away from golf, adding: "We are very lucky the corporate world loves golf and that's why we have such great sponsors and that's why we play for a lot of money.

"But I do feel like this is causing a division in the game and it's going to p*** people off.

"People are going to stop watching it. I think the amounts of money that are being thrown around are absolutely disgusting at the minute. I feel all people talk about is money now. 

"We play for points now in the FedEx Cup, but I watched the Tour Championship and all the commentators talked about was how much money they're going to win, and I thought, 'will you just talk about the trophy or the title or how many times Tiger [Woods] has won it?'

"The general Joe Soap, the guy who works his nuts off to make 50 grand a year and has to struggle to pay his membership at his golf club and loves the game so much, this probably p***** him off more than anyone."

Greg Norman has hit out at the PGA Tour, saying it is "trying to destroy" the LIV Golf invitational series.

Norman, the chief executive of LIV Golf, has defended the new series on multiple occasions, with plenty of criticism from figures in the sport including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry.

Speaking to The Australian newspaper, Norman said LIV Golf is not trying to destroy other tours, insisting it is actually the other way round.

"This notion we're trying to destroy tours is not true," Norman said. "The PGA Tour is trying to destroy us, it's as simple as that. The PGA Tour has not sat down and had a conversation with myself or any of my investors.

"We tried awfully hard, I know I did personally for the past year. When we knew we were never going to hear from them, we just decided to go.

"We have no interest in sitting down with them, to be honest with you, because our product is working."

The latest LIV Golf event begins in Chicago on Friday, following the last one earlier this month in Boston, which was won by Dustin Johnson.

Some opponents of LIV Golf have expressed concern about Saudi Arabian investment in the series, due to that country's human rights record. Critics have made claims of 'sportswashing', which organisers have rejected.

There were several protestors in attendance in Boston, but Norman said he does not focus on the series' detractors.

"I don't even pay attention to that, to be honest with you," he added. "All I can tell you is I'm here for the game of golf. I focus on building the best league we can."

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