World No. 126 Schwartzel Wins Inaugural LIV Golf Tournament and $4.75 Million

The prophecy has been fulfilled. There will be a day when a golfer far removed from the elite earns four million dollars for three days of work and the revolution is consumed. That day has come. This Saturday, the South African Charl Schwartzel, number 126 in the world ranking, has won the first tournament of the opulent Saudi league, held in London, and for the three-day event he has pocketed the four million dollars that the classification distributes individual only for the leader and another pinch of 750,000 dollars because his team, the one he formed with three other compatriots, called Stinger, has swept the collective modality: that is, a Fat 4.75 million for a weekend. In the last four years he had won 3.9 million on the American circuit. This course, he had needed 15 tournaments to reach only at $772,000.

Schwartzel is not that he is a complete unknown. He won the 2011 Masters, was sixth in the world, and celebrated two wins on the PGA Tour and 11 on the European tour. But at 37, his glory days were past. Until the Saudi Super League has bathed him in gold and has made him the first symbol of the new era. The difference is abysmal. Against that 4.75 million, the winner of next week’s US Open will receive less than half: 2.2. Difficult that under that reality there is not a trickle of golfers who pack their bags.

Schwartzel won with seven shots under par, one ahead of fellow South African Hennie du Plessis and two ahead of another compatriot, Branden Grace, and the American Peter Uihlein. Dustin Johnson was eighth with -1 and Phil Mickelson, 33rd with +10. The best-ranked Spaniard was Adrian Otaegui, sixth with -2 (a prize of $800,000), followed by Pablo Larrazábal (13th, +2), Sergio García (22nd, +6) and David Puig (38th, +11). Beyond the position, the London 48 are the first winners of the war unleashed between the new Saudi league and the American circuit. The expulsion of the rebels from the PGA Tour has not turned anyone back. On the contrary, there are more and more believers in the new testament. Waiting for what the big four say about whether or not they will allow the dissidents to play in the future, the new owners have scored the first goal.

On the ground, LIV Golf Investments has been able to sell the product well on what is another front in this conflict, television and the media. The simultaneous departures of the golfers in the three rounds, for 16 different holes, have made it possible to put together a television broadcast with more action, from one shot to another without rest, seasoned with the comments of players and caddies captured through the microphones they were wearing, all of it condensed into five hours instead of the endless days of the game as it has been known until now. Instead, it has been more complicated to follow the classification through the golfers’ initials on the screen, in the style of formula one. The fact is that for better or for worse, a new era has opened. And with each passing day, the Saudi league is gaining muscle. On Friday, the signing of Bryson Dechambeau, number 38 in the world, winner of the 2020 US Open and one of the great punchers on the circuit, was announced. This Saturday the new card was Patrick Reed, 36th in the world ranking, winner of the 2018 Masters. Two other American men who left the country.

The war now changes scenery. Soldiers from both fronts will face each other this coming week at the US Open in Brookline, Boston. There Jon Rahm will defend the title he won last year, his first big one, today raised as one of the bastions of the American circuit. The Basque is still one of those stars who remain faithful to the mother house, entrenched alongside figures like Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Cameron Smith and Rory McIlroy. Any change of side of one of these pieces would cause a tsunami of consequences much greater than those experienced so far. Opposite, in the third big of the season Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Sergio García and the rest of the rebels will be enlisted. The USGA, the body that governs this championship, has given the green light to the escapees to compete. The narrow margin between the inaugural tournament of the Saudi league, in London, and this appointment has meant that drastic measures were not taken. The ball now passes to the roof of two monuments, the British Open to be held in July in the birthplace of Saint Andrews, and the Augusta Masters, another bastion of traditional powers. Golf has been divided in two. The prophecy has been fulfilled.

Final classification of LIV Golf in London.

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