$6.71 Million: Schwartzel Wins Richest Golf Event Amid Saudi Protest

Schwartzel went into the final day with a three-shot lead and did just enough to hold off Du Plessis, despite finishing 2-over 72 for a 7-under total of 203.

It’s the first of eight events in LIV Golf’s first year that kicked off against the backdrop of the PGA Tour banning players who signed up† The European tour has not yet commented on any sanctions for players who jumped to the series without approval.

Hennie Du Plessis and Charl Schwartzel celebrate after their Stinger team knocks out the team event.Credit:AP Photos

A total of 20 players have now defected from the PGA Tour, with Patrick Reed, the last former Masters champion, confirming on Saturday that he had joined LIV Golf as the final round was completed.

However, the lucrative rewards for participating in the Public Investment Fund-backed series were not enough to entice top 10 players in the world.

Reed, who has won nearly $37 million on the PGA Tour in a decade, is in 36th place. The 31-year-old American’s only major win was the 2018 Masters.

After appearing at three Ryder Cups, where he was one of the most brash characters on the US team, Reed’s decision could result in him being ineligible for selection in the future.

Reed said he would make his debut at the second stop of the LIV Golf series in Portland, Oregon, from June 30 to July 2.

Saudi Arabia’s record of human rights violations has led to criticism from groups, including Amnesty International, that the country is “sporting” its image by investing in enrolling sports stars.

LIV Golf chief executive Greg Norman, who declined to speak to the media at the event, called the series a “force for good” in a speech at the victory ceremony, without commenting on criticism of the Saudi project.

LIV Golf capitalizes on the financial generosity. Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of PIF, said on stage that there would be a $54 million prize for any player who could hit an unbelievable 54 during an 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 Saudi kingdom was the birthplace of Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaeda and the mastermind behind the attack.

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Terry Strada, the national president of 9/11 Families United, has sent a letter to representatives of 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 angry that you are so willing to help the Saudis cover up this history in their request to ‘respectability’,” Strada wrote, accusing the players of betraying American interests.

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

“When you partner with the Saudis, you become complicit in their whitewashing and help give them the reputation coverage they so desperately crave — and are willing to pay handsomely to produce,” Strada wrote.

“The Saudis don’t care about golf’s entrenched sportsmanship or its origins as a gentleman’s game based on core values ​​of mutual respect and personal integrity. They care about using professional golf to launder their reputation, and they pay you to help them do that.”

The families of victims are trying to hold Saudi Arabia to account in New York, despite the government insisting that any allegations of complicity in the terrorist attacks are “categorically false”.

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