ST. ALBANS, England — Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel banked $4.75 million on Saturday by winning the richest tournament in golf history.
Schwartzel held on for a 1-shot victory at the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event outside London to secure the $4 million prize for the individual victory — along with $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 past four years combined. It came at a cost, though, as he resigned his membership with 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.
Schwartzel entered the final day with a 3-shot lead and did just enough to hold off Du Plessis despite finishing with a 2-over 72 for a 7-under total of 203.
It is the first of eight events in the initial year of LIV Golf, which began against the backdrop of the PGA Tour banning players who signed up. The European tour has yet to comment on any sanctions for players who jumped to the series without its approval.
Twenty players have now left the PGA Tour, with Patrick Reed the latest former Masters champion confirmed Saturday of signing up with LIV Golf as the final round was being completed.
However, 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.