Charl Schwartzel wins inaugural LIV Golf Series event as Patrick Reed joins tour

South African claims $4m winner's cheque on same day American was confirmed for second event

Charl Schwartzel poses with the trophy after winning the LIV Golf Invitational Series at the Centurion Golf Club in St Albans. EPA
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

South Africa's Charl Schwartzel made history by winning the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event on Saturday to earn the biggest winner's cheque in golf as Patrick Reed became the latest big name to join the tour.

Schwartzel carded a final round of 72 at the Centurion Club outside London to finish seven under par and a shot clear of compatriot Hennie du Plessis.

The 37-year-old former Masters champion received a winner's cheque of $4 million and also won $750,000 for being part of the winning team in the 54-hole, three-day event.

"Honestly, I'm relieved," said Schwartzel, who led by five shots with seven holes to play before a double bogey on the 12th set up a nervy finish.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think we could play for so much money in golf. It's been an amazing experience."

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, who attempted to set up a world tour in 1994, said: "The evolution of the game of golf is alive and LIV is alive.

"For 27 years there's been a lot of obstacles put in our path, a lot of dreams have tried to be squashed, but they couldn't squash us and golf was always going to be the force for good out of all this."

Earlier, US golfer Reed became the latest PGA Tour member to join the Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway circuit, with the 17 competing in the first event this week suspended by the Tour shortly after play started in St Albans on Thursday.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said the "same fate holds true" for any players who compete in future LIV events, with Reed and Bryson DeChambeau set to contest the second event in Oregon starting at the end of the month. Fellow American Pat Perez was also confirmed for the second event.

Reed, 31, who won the Masters in 2018 and has nine professional titles under his belt, is the ninth major champion to join the rebel series.

"The growing roster of LIV Golf players gets even stronger today with a player of Patrick Reed's calibre," said Norman. "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."

Reed said: "I'm super excited – just the thought of being a part of an evolution and a change in golf for the better."

Six-time major winner Phil Mickelson and former world No 1 Dustin Johnson were among other stars who featured in the inaugural $25 million event near London.

Organisers have pledged to "supercharge" golf, offering tournaments with no cuts, simultaneous "shotgun starts" and a team element.

The eight LIV tournaments this year are worth a staggering $255m, with plans in place to expand the series over the coming years.

Updated: June 12, 2022, 4:11 AM