Jacques van der Westhuyzen
Head of Sport
2 minute read
13 Jun 2022
10:17 am

OPINION: LIV Golf — money grabs shouldn’t be what competitive sport is about

Jacques van der Westhuyzen

South Africa's Charl Schwartzel became the new event's first winner at the weekend, pocketing R75 million.

Charl Schwartzel had many good reasons to smile this weekend. Picture: Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

So, Charl Schwartzel will bank R75 million for three days’ work at the first LIV Golf Invitational held in London at the weekend.

That’s made up of his winner’s cheque and his share of the team prize. Yes, LIV Golf also has a team element, and there’s a lot of money to be won.

It’s an obscene amount of money.

Heck, even the guy who finished last in the 48-man field, Andy Ogletree, with a score of 24-over-par (I’ve got some mates who’d do better than that) was given $120,000 for his efforts. That’s R1.9 million. For what?

That’s the problem I have with LIV Golf.

There are no cuts so everyone wins something – just for showing up. That’s not right. What’s the incentive then?

In regular golf, you play to make the halfway cut, to earn something for your week’s efforts. It’s competitive, it’s hard, and it’s what sport is about – winning and losing. There are no losers in LIV Golf, only winners. Maybe that’s the attraction. Easy money.

With the sort of money up for grabs at each event – there are seven more to go – one would think the organisers would make it tougher than a regular tournament, like you get on the Sunshine Tour, DP World Tour or PGA Tour.

But no, it’s easier – only 48 competitors, no cut and guaranteed winnings. That’s what I don’t like.

The South Africans in the field at the Centurion Club enjoyed a bonanza of a weekend. Besides Schwartzel pocketing what he did, Hennie du Plessis (2nd and R33.3 million) and Branden Grace (3rd and R24 million) won’t have any financial problems in future – and this is just the first event.

Oliver Bekker, like Du Plessis, someone who’s only just got into international golf competition, finished tied sixth for R11.7 million. Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Harding, who both finished in a tie for 10th, will each bank R9.7 million.

JC Ritchie, Shaun Norris and Ian Snyman will also be all smiles today, even though they finished well off the pace.

LIV Golf is new and very different, and all about the money, but time will tell if it’s the future of the sport. I somehow doubt it is.