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Two-time PGA Tour winner Charl Schwarzel became the first-ever LIV Golf Invitational champion Saturday after finishing 7 under par.
Schwartzel took home a whopping $4.75 million amid a sea of controversy that prompted PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan to suspend more than a dozen players who signed in the rival Saudi Arabia-backed tournament playing golf league.
“The guys put on a great show,” says Schwarzel former Masters champion, said after the game. “What they did far exceeded our expectations. The conversation. The way they treat everyone. You know, the amount of money they took is out of this world.
“This is a historic moment,” he added. “First LIV league tournament and man it’s awesome.”
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Hennie Du Plessis earned $2.875 million for his second place finish, just a shot away from Schwartzel.
However, winning the most successful golf tournament in history comes at a price.
Monahan announced in a memorandum Thursday that all 17 members of the PGA Tour — by Saturday that number had risen to 20 — who had chosen to compete in the LIV Golf series would be waived from attending PGA Tour events and would be disqualified from the Presidents Cup.
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“These players made their choice for their own financial reasons. But they cannot demand the same benefits, considerations, opportunities and platforms of PGA Tour membership that you do,” the memo said. “This expectation disregards you, our fans and our partners.
“You made a different choice, which was to abide by the tournament rules you agreed to in realizing your dream of earning a PGA Tour card and — more importantly — as part of the organization of excellence in the world of professional golf. “
Several players including Dustin Johnson and Kevin Na, announced their resignation before Monahan’s announcement. However, the memo said even those who resigned would be removed from the FedEx Cup points tally after the conclusion of the RBC Canadian Open.
You may also not participate in PGA Tour tournaments as a non-member through a sponsor exemption or other eligibility category.
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LIV Golf has been at the center of controversy since its inception because of its ties to Saudi money.
Saudi Arabia’s track record of human rights abuses has drawn criticism from groups including Amnesty International that the country is “polishing” its image by investing in top athletes.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and The Associated Press contributed to this report.