Carl Peters
Sport Editor
2 minute read
28 Jul 2022
06:25

SA golfers gear up for third tournament of breakaway LIV series

Carl Peters

South African's Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace won the first two tournaments in London, England, and Portland, U.S. respectively.

Louis Oosthuizen leads a strong group of South Africans into the third tournament of the breakaway LIV series in New York, U.S., this week. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

The breakaway LIV series resumes this week, giving leading South African golfers opportunities to boost their reputations and wallets on multiple fronts.

The Saudi-backed LIV is holding its third tournament from Friday until Sunday at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, U.S., with South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace having won the first two tournaments in London, England, and Portland, U.S. respectively.

Louis Oosthuizen has also done very well in the unique team format featured in LIV events.

Oosthuizen’s “Stinger GC” includes Schwartzel, Grace and another South African in Hennie du Plessis, with several other players from the “Rainbow Nation” spread among other teams on the Trump property in the Bedminster area of New Jersey this weekend.

A strong rival for Stinger is the American-dominated “4 Aces GC” of Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Talor Gooch and Pat Perez.

The other key difference between LIV and the more established European Tour and U.S. PGA is that there are only three rounds of play, and participants earn massive amounts of money despite the shorter competition.

Like the first two tournaments, Bedminster sees 12 teams competing amid the 48-player field.

The series features teams of four where players compete as individuals and teams for both points and prize money. Captains and teams are finalised just before each event, as each tournament in LIV’s first season may showcase a different field.

Each regular season event has a prize fund of $25 million (roughly R418 million) and every player in the field receives a cut, with a guaranteed $4 million (R67 million) for first place and $120000 (R2 million) for last place, while $5 million (R84 million) is split between the top three teams.

In addition, there have been rumours that LIV paid massive amounts to top golfers to defect from the European Tour and PGA, with England’s Paul Casey and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson among the latest to join.

Meanwhile, the European Tour features the Hero Open teeing off at Fairmont St. Andrews in Southport, England, on Thursday.

The prize fund is €1,75 million (R30 million) and there is a large group of South Africans in the field, including Wilco Nienaber, Brandon Stone and Oliver Bekker.

The PGA is centred on the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club in Michigan and the purse is $8,4 million (R141 million).

Three “Saffers” are in the hunt there — Garrick Higgo, Dylan Frittelli and Dawie van der Walt.