NORTH PLAINS, Ore. — Charl Schwartzel peeked the putt that was heading somewhere in the direction of Mount Hood before it stopped midway through the hole on the 13th green at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club and didn’t could resist.
“Other than your line and your speed, it was a really good putt,” he said.
The rest of Wednesday’s pro-am group, including the two fans and his longtime partner and friend Louis Oosthuizen, laughed.
After all, a lot has happened at the Schwartzel house in Jupiter since winning the inaugural LIV Golf Series event in London three weeks ago and pocketing checks worth £4.75. million dollars, $4 million for the individual title and $750,000 to be part of the winning team. It was more than he had earned in a year in two decades on the PGA Tour, including in 2011 when he won the Masters.
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“That’s it,” said Schwartzel, honestly explaining why LIV Golf has attracted more PGA Tour players than expected, “it’s beyond anyone’s imagination. You can’t lie (and say) it’s not about the money. There’s a lot of money there and it’s more than any guy has ever played.”
Refreshing to see someone peel back the layers and find out the real truth about why someone would face criticism for joining the series funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
First LIV golfer to achieve a financial boom
Schwartzel, 37, became LIV’s first financial boom poster child. The South African, who has lived in Palm Beach County for 12 years, won the Masters and the 2016 Valspar Championship, and has never won $3 million in PGA Tour prize money in a year.
He certainly lived a comfortable life, earning $21 million on the tour and having at one point owned a house at the Old Palm Club in Palm Beach Gardens, but now renting at Bear’s Club. But in three days in London he did about a quarter of what he did in 20 years.
Still, Schwartzel said money never crossed his mind as he tried to hold off Hennie Du Plessis in London, thinking only of winning.
“Losing would have hurt a lot more than the money,” he said.
Schwartzel is aware of the backlash players are receiving. He is aware of what happened in Saudi Arabia. But his comfort and escape zone is golf.
“I don’t know enough about all this and I’ve been like this all my life,” he said. “I love playing golf. I know there’s so much going on. If you get caught up in all of this, your golf falls apart.
“So you’re just trying to play a game, focus on golf.”
Schwartzel has focused on golf since he began to dominate the amateur ranks in South Africa, with his friend Oosthuizen, whom he has known for 37 years. And as Schwartzel had more success on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa and on the European Tour, fellow South African and Hall of Famer Ernie Els told him that if he wanted to play more in America, he had a place. where to stay in Jupiter with the Els’.
In 2010, Schwartzel attended the WGC event in Doral and asked Ernie if the offer was still valid. He said yes, and Schwartzel and his wife, Rosalind, moved in with Ernie and Liezl.
This visit lasted almost two years before Schwartzel decided, “can’t stay with one guy forever.
“So we rented a place and then bought a place. It was not planned. It happened.”
Oosthuizen soon followed his friend, and they became neighbors in Old Palm. Oosthuizen recently moved to Ocala.
“It’s different having a barbecue and not inviting it,” Oosthuizen said.
Charl and Rosalind now have two children and welcome Rosalind’s parents, Brian and Colleen Jacobs, who arrived from South Africa before the pandemic and have not returned. Brian, a longtime professional golfer in South Africa, is also Charl’s manager.
Rosalind and the kids were in London for Charl’s LIV win and Brian and Collen are at this week’s tournament. Brian watched Charl’s London one-shot victory over Du Plessis and said he approved of his strategy on the 54th hole. Schwartzel played it safe, knowing a bogey would win the tournament.
“It was a very clever game,” Brian said. “The idea was that you don’t have to be a hero, you just have to win.”
Joining LIV, resigning from the PGA Tour not an easy decision for Charl Schwartzel
LIV came at the right time for Schwartzel, but the decision to step down from his PGA Tour membership wasn’t easy. Politics aside, Schwartzel had some checking to do.
“The more you met the guys, and you see it wasn’t a scam and they’re really serious about it and they have long-term visions, I started to get a lot more interested” , Schwartzel said. “Especially at my age.
You could say that Schwartzel has already hit the lottery. But now he’s aiming for the Powerball. He believes his best golf is yet to come after suffering a wrist injury in the middle of 2019 which forced him off for around 10 months.
Since then he has made 54 PGA Tour starts with just seven top 10 finishes. But he said last year was the first time in a long time he had been injury free. The results are now starting to show.
“I have more speed now than I have ever had in my life. I have more experience,” he said. “I just feel like I have a lot of things going in my favor that I didn’t have even when I was playing well. All of those things added together could potentially give me better golf than I’ve ever played.”
And a lot more money.
Tom D’Angelo is a reporter for the Palm Beach Post. You can reach him at email@example.com.