LIV Golf Tour Shifting The Landscape Of The Sport
Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel banked $4.75 million on Saturday by winning the richest tournament in golf history, while the event’s Saudi backers faced renewed backlash after a 9/11 victims’ group called for American players to withdraw from the rebel series.
Schwartzel held on for a one-shot victory at the inaugural LIV Golf event outside London to secure the $4 million prize for the individual victory — along with another $750,000 from his share of the $3 million purse earned by his four-man Stinger team for topping the team rankings.Schwartzel, the 2011 winner at Augusta National, collected more prize money from winning the three-day, 54-hole event than he had from the last four years combined. It came at a cost, though, having resigned his membership of the PGA Tour to play on the unsanctioned series without a waiver.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think we could play for that much money in golf,” said Schwartzel, who had not won a PGA or European tour event since 2016.Fellow South African Hennie Du Plessis, who was selected for Stinger by team captain Louis Oosthuizen in the draft, earned $2.875 million by finishing second at Centurion Club, located between Hemel Hempstead and St. Albans.
LIV Golf roundup
South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel held off compatriot Hennie Du Plessis to claim the biggest pay cheque in golf history at the opening event of the LIV Invitational Series on Saturday.
The 37-year-old led by three strokes going into the third and final round at the Centurion course north of London, and consolidated with a round of 72 to seal the $4 million prize.
Schwartzel, whose previous highest pay cheque was the $1.4 million he scooped for winning the 2011 Masters, ended up on seven-under with Du Plessis finishing one stroke back. Another South African, Branden Grace, finished third on five under.
All three were playing for the Stingers team who easily won the team element of the new series.
“You know, it’s a relief,” Schwartzel, who also picked up an added $750,000 for being part of the winning team, said.
“I had it in my hands but I made it a bit more difficult than it should have been. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think we could play for that much money in golf.”
Lawrence Ostlere12 June 2022 04:20
Kaymer pulls out of US Open
Martin Kaymer has withdrawn from the U.S. Open next week at The Country citing an injury, after closing with a 69 in the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational this week outside London. Kaymer won the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 and earned a 10-year exemption that takes through 2024, when the Open returns to Pinehurst. He was replaced in the field by David Lingmerth, the first alternate from the Columbus, Ohio, qualifier. Kaymer finished 16th in the 48-man field for LIV Golf and earned $245,000. Nick Hardy, the first alternate from Springfield, Ohio, also was added to the field when it was certain that no one at the Canadian Open would meet the category of two PGA Tour wins over the last year. J.J. Spaun and Cameron Champ needed to win, and both missed the cut.
Lawrence Ostlere12 June 2022 03:20
LIV Golf under scrutiny over Saudi funding
Saudi Arabia’s track record of human rights violations has sparked criticism from groups, including Amnesty International, that the country is “sportswashing” its image by investing in signing up sports stars.
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 Sept. 11, 2001. All but four of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens, and the Saudi kingdom was the birthplace of Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaida and mastermind of the attack.
Terry Strada, the national chairperson of the 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism, has sent a letter to representatives of LIV Golf stars calling on 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 death of our loved ones and those injured on 9/11 — your fellow Americans — we are angered that you are so willing to help the Saudis cover up this history in their request for ‘respectability,’” Strada wrote, accusing the players of betraying U.S. interests.
Strada’s letter was sent to agents for Reed as well as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Kevin Na.
“When you partner with the Saudis, you become complicit with their whitewash, and help give them the reputational cover they so desperately crave — and are willing to pay handsomely to manufacture,” Strada wrote. “The Saudis do not care about the deep-rooted sportsmanship of golf or its origins as a gentleman’s game built upon core values of mutual respect and personal integrity. They care about using professional golf to whitewash their reputation, and they are paying you to help them do it.”
Victims’ families are trying to hold Saudi Arabia accountable in New York, despite its government’s insistence that any allegation of complicity in the terrorist attacks is “categorically false.”
Lawrence Ostlere12 June 2022 01:45
Reed and Perez latest stars to ditch PGA Tour
Patrick Reed is the latest former Masters champion to sign up to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series in defiance of the PGA Tour and activists who object to the players promoting the kingdom’s sporting project.
With Pat Perez also confirmed as joining the breakaway on Saturday, 20 players have now defected from the PGA Tour. The latest announcements came during the final round of the inaugural LIV event at Centurion Golf Club outside London, where Charl Schwartzel of South Africa was on course for a victory that would earn him $4.75 million.
The lucrative rewards for joining the series funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund have not been enough to entice any players ranked in the world’s top 10.
Reed, who has won almost $37 million in a decade on the PGA Tour, is ranked 36th. The 31-year-old American’s only major win was the 2018 Masters.
Having appeared at three Ryder Cups, where he has been one of the brashest characters on the American team, Reed’s decision could see him ineligible for selection in the future.
Reed said he would make his debut on the second stop of the LIV Golf series in Portland, Oregon, on June 30-July 2.
The 46-year-old Perez, who is ranked 168th in the world, said he wants to travel less after 21 years on the PGA Tour. He made no mention on the LIV live broadcast about the riches on offer.
Lawrence Ostlere11 June 2022 23:56
DeChambeau will be in Portland for next LIV Golf event
Former US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau has joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series, a week after saying he was “loyal” and could not take the risk.
DeChambeau had previously been linked to the breakaway circuit but said in February that “as long as the best players in the world are playing the PGA Tour, so will I”.
Dustin Johnson also said he was “fully committed” to the PGA Tour on the same day, but he subsequently resigned his membership and is competing in the opening £20milion LIV Golf event at Centurion Club this week.
Lawrence Ostlere11 June 2022 22:14
Schwartzel responds to critics of LIV Golf
“Where money comes from is not something I’ve ever looked at in my career.” Charl Schwartzel responds to critics of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf tournament.
Lawrence Ostlere11 June 2022 21:32
Charles Schwartzel wins inaugural LIV Golf event
Report by Tom Kershaw from Centurion Club:
Lawrence Ostlere11 June 2022 21:21
Patrick Reed joins LIV Golf
Former Masters champion Patrick Reed has become the latest golfer to join the lucrative LIV Golf Invitational Series, the Saudi-backed league said on Saturday.
Reed, who won the Masters in 2018, has 12 wins on the PGA Tour and the European Tour. LIV announced Reed as its newest member on Twitter.
The 31-year-old American joins former world number one Dustin Johnson, six-times major champion Phil Mickelson and former U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau in joining the LIV Series which had its inaugural event in London this week.
The big-hitting DeChambeau jumped ship from the PGA Tour on Friday and will make his debut in the second event of the series in Portland, Oregon, later this month.
The PGA Tour said on Thursday it would suspend players who turned out for the LIV event but some golfers had already resigned from the Tour before the sanctions were announced.
“The growing roster of LIV Golf players gets even stronger today with a player of Patrick Reed’s calibre,” LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman said in a statement.
“He has a proven track record as one of the most consistent competitors in pro golf and adds yet another big presence at our tournaments. He’s a major champion and he’ll bring another impressive dynamic to our team-based format at LIV Golf.”
The eight-event LIV Series, bankrolled to the tune of $250 million by the Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) began this week at the Centurion Club north of London.
Events, with fields of 48, take place over 54 holes with no cuts and shotgun starts. As well as an individual event, players also compete for teams with huge prize money at stake.
Lawrence Ostlere11 June 2022 21:02
9/11 victims’ families hit out at golfers’ ‘betrayal’
A group representing victims’ families and survivors of the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States have accused the high-profile American players in the LIV Golf Series of sportswashing and betraying their country.
In a letter sent to the agents of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Kevin Na, 911familiesunited.org expressed their outrage towards the players for competing in the Saudi-backed events.
“As you may know, Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudis,” wrote the organisation’s national chair Terry Strada, a mother of three whose husband, Tom, was on the 104th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center during the attacks.
“It was the Saudis who cultivated and spread the evil, hate-filled Islamist ideology that inspired the violent jihadists to carry out the deadly 9/11 attacks.
“And, most egregiously, it is the Kingdom that has spent 20 years in denial: lying about their activities, and cowardly dodging the responsibility they bear. Yet these are your partners, and much to our disappointment, you appear pleased to be in business with them.
“Please, do not insult our loved ones’ memories and take the pathetic position, as one of your foreign colleagues did last week, claiming you are “just golfers playing a game” or blandly treating the evils of the Saudi regime as “human rights” concerns.
“You are all Americans, keenly aware of the death and destruction of September 11. Whether it was the appeal of millions of dollars of hard cash, or just the opportunity to prosecute your professional grievances with the PGA, you have sold us out.
“This is a betrayal not only of us, but of all your countrymen.”
Former Masters champion Patrick Reed and world number 168 Pat Perez became the latest players to join LIV Golf on Saturday.
Lawrence Ostlere11 June 2022 20:04
Schwartzel: ‘LIV is going to get better and better’
Charl Schwartzel, after collecting his trophy: “Never in my wildest dreams did I think we could play for that much money in golf. What they’ve [organisers] created is top class, and this just going to get better and better.”
Lawrence Ostlere11 June 2022 19:53