Update 2:23 p.m. Charl Schwartzel wins the first LIV Golf Invitational event, taking home $4.75 million: $4 million in individual prize money, and $750,000 in team winnings.
It is the richest prize ever offered for a single golf tournament, and despite worldwide geopolitical controversies and even the failure to post a leaderboard on their own website, the first-ever LIV Golf Invitational will award a total of $25 million today to 48 participants in their first event in London on Saturday.
The $4 million check to the winner is the most a golfer has ever taken home for lifting any trophy outside of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Tour Championship. The winner of that event will receive $18 million this year, with a total $75 million in total on offer to 30 players.
But the Tour Championship is the culmination of a year-long competition involving points, playoffs, and requires players to participate in a minimum of 15 tournaments. Also there’s a handicap system giving the top-earning players in points a head start when everyone tees off.
For a one-off tournament, no prize pool has ever ever been close than what will be awarded to what can be described as not quite a world-class field of talent. No matter your opinion of LIV Golf, the one thing they are doing is disrupting the modern professional golf with riches that the game has never seen before.
How that works out for the sport remains to be seen. How it works for the bank accounts of those participating is truly eye-popping.
A player finishing in 20th place at this weekend’s RBC Canadian Open, against a much stronger field of 156 players, will earn less than the dead-last player in LIV’s London event today. Plus over half the field in Toronto left with nothing after two rounds and being cut, but all players in London are guaranteed three rounds and then get paid. The winner in at St. George’s in Toronto will receive 39.15% of the winner at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire.
And that’s all before we count the team prize pool, where three of the 12 teams will split another $5 million based on how they scored as a foursome over three days.
Richard Bland is +7 after two days of play, 16 shots off the lead. But his team with Peter Uihlein, Phachara Khongwatmai, and Travis Smyth, Crushers GC, is in second place. If they make up some shots on Stingers GC and captain Louis Oosthuizen during the final round on Saturday, Bland could net $750,000 for merely being drafted to a team to which he contributed nothing.
And if Bland and The Crushers just hold on for second place, that’s $375,000 per player. For Bland, he’d be getting paid merely for showing up and having Uihlein make a poor draft choice by selecting him.
The fifth-place golfer at the 2022 Canadian Open, earner of a vaunted and statistically-relevant Top 5 on the PGA Tour? They’ll head home with $356,700.
Here’s the complete breakdown of the individual prize money for the LIV Golf Invitational from London:
Here’s the breakdown of the team money for the LIV Golf Invitational from London. All prize money is shared equally amongst members of the team
First place team: $3 million
Second place team: $1.5 million
Third place team: $500,000