Street. Albans, England (AFP) – Former Masters champion Charles Schwartz collected $4.75 million on Saturday by winning the richest tournament in golf’s history, as Saudi fans faced a renewed backlash after the September 11 group ‘ called on American players to withdraw from the game. series rebels.
Schwartz held on to win one ball at LIV Golf’s first event outside London to secure a $4 million prize for a personal victory – along with another $750,000 of his share of the $3 million purse that his four-man -team to the top. group ratings.
Schwarzl collected more prize money by winning the three-day event, 54 holes than in the last four years combined. Not that he can match the sense of sporting accomplishment he felt after winning the 2011 Augusta National.
“Money is one thing, but there you play for prestige and history,” he said. “Having a bachelor’s degree will always outweigh anything you do.”
Read more: Tiger Woods will return from a car accident in the PNC Championship
This heavy salary affected Schwartz’s career after he resigned from the PGA Tour membership to play uncompromisingly on the ill-fated series.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think we could play golf for this much money,” he told fans of Schwarzel, who hasn’t won a PGA Tour or European Tour since 2016.
Under pressure from the press conference, he dismissed criticism of the demise of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.
“Where the money comes from, it’s nothing… I’ve looked at playing in 20 years of my career,” said the South African. “I think if you start digging into wherever we play, you’ll find fault with everything.”
His South African teammate Honey de Placis, picked for Stinger by captain Louis Osthausen, earned $2.875 million when he finished second at the Centurion Club, located between Hummel Hampstead and St Alves.
Schwartz came into the final day with three pointers and did enough to hold off Doubles despite finishing 2-for-72 at 7-under 203.
It is the first of eight events in the inaugural year of LIV Golf, which began against the backdrop of the PGA Tour banning registered players. The European Tour has yet to comment on any penalties for players jumping into the lineup without its permission.
Twenty players have now defected from the PGA Tour, with former Masters champion Patrick Reed confirming on Saturday that he is the one to score in LIV Golf after the final round.
Hour: Big Saudi investment raises questions about Jared Kushner’s business
However, the lucrative rewards of joining a chain backed by a public investment fund were not enough to lure any player ranked in the world’s top ten.
Reed, who earned nearly $37 million a decade on the PGA Tour, was 36. The 31-year-old American’s only major win was the 2018 Masters Championship.
After appearing in three Ryder Cups as one of the most brash characters on the US team, Reid’s decision may make him ineligible for selection in the future.
Reed said he will debut at the second leg of the LIV Series of Golf in Portland, Oregon from June 30 to July 2.
Pat Perez, the 46-year-old American who is ranked 168 in the world, also joined the march on Saturday, saying he wants to travel less after 21 on the PGA Tour.
Saudi Arabia’s record of human rights abuses has drawn criticism from groups including Amnesty International that the country has “washed” its image by investing in the signatures of sports stars.
LIV Golf chief executive Greg Norman, who will not speak to the media at the event, described the series as “Power for Good” in a speech at the victory ceremony, not shying away from criticism of the Saudi project stare.
LIV Golf plays a major financial role. Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund, said on stage that there will be a prize of $54 million for any player who can reach $54 million in an LIV event.
For many in the United States, Saudi Arabia will forever be associated with the collapse of the World Trade Center and the deaths of nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. All but four of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals, and Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Osama bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda leader and attack leader.
Terry Strada, the national president of the 9/11 Families United, sent a letter to representatives of the golf stars LIV inviting them to reconsider their participation in the series. Her husband, Tom, was killed when a hijacked plane flew into the World Trade Center.
“Given Saudi Arabia’s role in the deaths and injuries of our loved ones on 9/11 — your fellow Americans — we are outraged that you are willing to help the Saudis hide this history in their quest for ‘honor,’ Starda said. He wrote accusing the actors of betraying American interests.
Strada’s letter was sent to Reed’s clients as well as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson de Champao and Kevin Neh.
“When you work with the Saudis, you become a partner of their owner, helping to give them the reputation coverage they so desperately crave — and they’re willing to pay big for production,” Strada wrote.
“The Saudis do not care about the sporting roots of golf or its origins as a noble game based on the core values of mutual respect and personal integrity. It’s important to them to use professional golf to whitewash their reputation, and they pay you for it. Help them do it.”
The families of the victims are trying to hold Saudi Arabia accountable in New York despite the government’s insistence that any accusation of complicity in the attacks is “completely false”.