ST. ALBANS, England (AP) — Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel banked $4.75 million on Saturday by profitable the richest match in golf historical past, whereas the occasion’s Saudi backers confronted renewed backlash after a 9/11 victims’ group known as for American gamers to withdraw from the insurgent sequence.
Schwartzel held on for a one-shot victory on the inaugural LIV Golf occasion outdoors London to safe the $4 million prize for the person victory — together with one other $750,000 from his share of the $3 million purse earned by his four-man Stinger staff for topping the staff rankings.
Schwartzel collected extra prize cash from profitable the three-day, 54-hole occasion than he had from the final 4 years mixed. Not that it might match the sense of sporting achievement that he felt after his win at Augusta Nationwide in 2011.
“Cash is one factor however there you’re enjoying for status, historical past,” he stated. “Successful a serious will at all times prime something you do.”
This hefty pay examine has come at a price to Schwartzel’s profession standing, having resigned his membership of the PGA Tour to play on the unsanctioned sequence with no waiver.
“By no means in my wildest goals did I feel we might play for that a lot cash in golf,” Schwartzel, who had not gained a PGA or European tour occasion since 2016, instructed the group.
Pressed within the information convention, he dismissed criticism of the windfall coming from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.
“The place the cash comes from just isn’t one thing … that I’ve ever checked out enjoying in my 20 years profession,” the South African stated. “I feel if I begin digging all over the place the place we performed, you might discover fault in something.”
Fellow South African Hennie Du Plessis, who was chosen for Stinger by staff captain Louis Oosthuizen within the draft, earned $2.875 million by ending second at Centurion Membership, positioned between Hemel Hempstead and St. Albans.
Schwartzel entered the ultimate day with a three-shot lead and did simply sufficient to carry off Du Plessis regardless of ending with a 2-over 72 for a 7-under complete of 203.
It’s the first of eight occasions within the first yr of LIV Golf, which started in opposition to the backdrop of the PGA Tour banning gamers who signed up. The European tour has but to touch upon any sanctions for gamers who jumped to the sequence with out its approval.
Twenty gamers have now defected from the PGA Tour, with Patrick Reed the newest former Masters champion confirmed on Saturday as signing as much as LIV Golf as the ultimate spherical was being accomplished.
Nonetheless, the profitable rewards for becoming a member of the Public Funding Fund-backed sequence haven’t been sufficient to entice any gamers ranked on this planet’s prime 10.
Reed, who has gained nearly $37 million in a decade on the PGA Tour, is ranked thirty sixth. The 31-year-old American’s solely main win was the 2018 Masters.
Having appeared at three Ryder Cups, the place he has been one of many brashest characters on the American staff, Reed’s choice might see him ineligible for choice sooner or later.
Reed stated he would make his debut on the second cease of the LIV Golf sequence in Portland, Oregon, on June 30-July 2.
Pat Perez, the 46-year-old American who’s ranked 168th on this planet, additionally joined the breakaway on Saturday, saying he needs to journey much less after 21 years on the PGA Tour.
Saudi Arabia’s observe file of human rights violations has sparked criticism from teams, together with Amnesty Worldwide, that the nation is “sportswashing” its picture by investing in signing up sports activities stars.
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, who wouldn’t communicate to the media on the occasion, known as the sequence a “power for good” in a speech on the victory ceremony, with out addressing criticism of the Saudi undertaking.
LIV Golf performs up the monetary largesse. Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of PIF, stated on stage that there could be a prize of $54 million for any participant who might hit an implausible 54 at a LIV occasion.
For a lot of in the US, Saudi Arabia will eternally be related to the collapse of the World Commerce Towers and the deaths of almost 3,000 folks on Sept. 11, 2001. All however 4 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 had been Saudi residents, and the Saudi kingdom was the birthplace of Osama bin Laden, the top of al-Qaida and mastermind of the assault.
Terry Strada, the nationwide chairperson of 9/11 Households United, has despatched a letter to representatives of LIV Golf stars calling on them to rethink their participation within the sequence. Her husband, Tom, died when a hijacked aircraft flew into the World Commerce Heart.
“Given Saudi Arabia’s function within the demise of our family members and people injured on 9/11 — your fellow People — we’re angered that you’re so keen to assist the Saudis cowl up this historical past of their request for ‘respectability,’” Strada wrote, accusing the gamers of betraying U.S. pursuits.
Strada’s letter was despatched to brokers for Reed in addition to Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Kevin Na.
“Whenever you accomplice with the Saudis, you turn out to be complicit with their whitewash, and assist give them the reputational cowl they so desperately crave — and are keen to pay handsomely to fabricate,” Strada wrote.
“The Saudis don’t care concerning the deep-rooted sportsmanship of golf or its origins as a gentleman’s recreation constructed upon core values of mutual respect and private integrity. They care about utilizing skilled golf to whitewash their repute, and they’re paying you to assist them do it.”
Victims’ households try to carry Saudi Arabia accountable in New York, regardless of its authorities’s insistence that any allegation of complicity within the terrorist assaults is “categorically false.”
Extra AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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