Charl Schwartzel wins record $4.75 million at Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf Series

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scheduled tribe. ALBANS, England (AP) — Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzell on Saturday made $4.75 million in the bank by winning the richest tournament in golf history, while remaining behind the event after a group of 9/11 victims called on American players to withdraw. Saudi supporters faced renewed backlash. rebel series.

Schwartzell won a one-shot win at the inaugural LIV golf event outside London with a $4 million prize money for individual wins – plus $ from his share of the $3 million purse earned by his four-man Stinger team for topping up. Another part of 750,000. Team Ranking.

Schwartzell collected more prize money than in the previous four years by winning the three-day, 54-hole event. Not that the sport can match the sense of accomplishment he felt after his win at Augusta National in 2011.

“Money is one thing but there you are, playing for prestige, history,” he said. “Winning a major will always be at the top of anything you do.”

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This hefty pay check has come at the cost of the career status of Schwartzell, who has resigned from his PGA Tour membership to play on the sanctioned series without a waiver.

“I never dreamed in my dreams we could play golf for so much money,” Schwartzell, who hasn’t won a PGA or European Tour event since 2016, told the crowd.

At the press conference, he dismissed criticism of the unexpected losses coming from the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund.

“Where does the money come from, it’s not something I’ve seen playing in my 20-year career,” said South Africa. “I think if I start digging everywhere where we’ve played, you can find fault with anything.”

Fellow South African Henny du Plessis, who was selected for the Stinger in the draft by team captain Louis Osthuizen, earned $2.875 million by finishing second at the Centurion club between Hemel Hempstead and St Albans.

Schwartzell entered the final day with a three-shot lead and did enough to stop du Plessis despite finishing with a 2-over 72 for a 7-under total of 203.

It is the first of eight events in LIV Golf’s first year, which began in the backdrop of a ban on players who signed up on the PGA Tour. The European tour has yet to comment on any sanctions for players who jumped into the series without its approval.

Twenty players are now out of the PGA Tour, with Patrick Reed the latest former Masters champion to be confirmed to have signed up for LIV Golf on Saturday as the final round was nearing.

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However, the lucrative rewards are not enough to entice any top 10 ranked player in the world to join the Public Investment Fund-backed series.

Reid is ranked 36th on the PGA Tour, winning nearly $37 million in a decade. The 31-year-old American’s only major win was the 2018 Masters.

After three Ryder Cup appearances, where he has been one of the most brutal characters on the American team, Reid’s decision could render him ineligible for future selection.

Reid said he would make his debut on June 30-July 2 at the second leg of the LIV Golf Series in Portland, Oregon.

American Pat Perez, 46, ranked 168th in the world, also joined the breakaway on Saturday, saying he wants to travel less after 21 years on the PGA Tour.

Saudi Arabia’s track record of human rights violations has drawn criticism from groups, including Amnesty International, that the country is “sportwashing” its image by signing up sports stars.

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, who will not speak to the media at the event, called the series a “force for good” in a speech at the victory ceremony, without addressing criticism of the Saudi project.

LIV Golf plays the role of financial generosity. PIF governor Yasser al-Rumayun said on stage that a $54 million prize would be awarded to any player who could hit an impossible 54 in a LIV event.

For many in the United States, Saudi Arabia will forever be associated with the collapse of the world trade towers and the deaths of nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. All but four of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was the birthplace of Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaeda and the mastermind of the attack.

Terry Strada, the national president of 9/11 Family United, has sent a letter to representatives of the LIV golf stars urging them to reconsider their participation in the series. Her husband, Tom, died when a hijacked plane flew into the World Trade Center.

“Given Saudi Arabia’s role in the deaths of our loved ones and those injured on 9/11 – your fellow Americans – we are outraged that you are willing to help Saudis cover this history in a request for ‘respectability. are,” Strada wrote, accusing the players of betraying American interests.

Strada’s letter was sent to Reid as well as agents of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Kevin Na.

“When you partner with the Saudis, you join their whitewash, and help give them the coveted cover they so desperately crave – and are willing to pay handsomely for ,” Strada wrote.

“Saudi people do not care about golf’s deep-rooted sporting spirit or its core as a gentleman’s game built on core values ​​of mutual respect and personal integrity. They care about using professional golf to whitewash their reputation, and they’re paying you to help them do that.”

Victims’ families are trying to hold Saudi Arabia accountable in New York, despite its government insisting that any allegations of involvement in the terrorist attacks are “blatantly false”.