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Charl Schwartzel has banked the single biggest one-tournament payday in golf annals, scooping $US4.75 million ($A6.74 miliion) as the winner of the richest tournament in golf history, the inaugural LIV Invitational series event.
But the Greg Norman-fronted event's Saudi backers faced a renewed backlash after a 9/11 victims' group called on Saturday for American players to withdraw from the rebel series.
South African Schwartzel, the 2011 Master champion, held on for a one-shot victory at the Centurion club, north of London, to secure the $US4 million ($A5.7 million) prize for the individual victory.
The South African also pocketed another $US750,000 ($A1.1 million) for being a part of the four-man outfit who won the team event.
He collected more prize money from the three-day, 48-player, 54-hole event than he had from the last four years combined.
World No.395 Travis Smyth was the top-earning Australian, collecting $US521,000 ($A739,000) despite finishing tied 33rd as he also shared in the four-way split of $US1.5 million (A2.1 million) for second place in the teams event.
Of the other Australians, Wade Ormsby collected $A241,000 for tied 22nd, Matt Jones was tied 25th ($A231,000), Jed Morgan (tied 30th, $A218,000), Kevin Yuan (tied 33rd, $A207,000) and Blake Windred (tied 38th, $A193,000).
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think we could play for that much money in golf," said Schwartzel, who had not won a PGA or European Tour event since 2016.
Not that it could match the sense of achievement from his Masters triumph.
"Money is one thing but there you're playing for prestige, history," he said. "Winning a major will always top anything you do."
Pressed in his media conference, Schwartzel dismissed criticism of his windfall coming from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.
"Where the money comes from is not something ... that I've ever looked at playing in my 20 years career," he said. "I think if I start digging everywhere where we played, you could find fault in anything."
Schwartzel entered the final day with a three-shot lead and did just enough to hold off compatriot Hennie Du Plessis despite finishing with a two-over 72 for a seven-under total of 203.
Twenty players have now defected from the PGA Tour, with former Masters champion Patrick Reed the latest to confirm he'd signed up to LIV Golf.
"All I can say is that the evolution of golf has arrived," LIV Golf CEO Norman, who tried to set up a new world tour in the 1990s, said at the presentation ceremony.
"For 27 years there have been a lot of obstacles put in our path, a lot of dreams have tried to be squashed but they couldn't squash us."
But Saudi Arabia's track record of human rights violations has sparked criticism from groups, including Amnesty International, that the country is "sportswashing" its image by investing in signing up sports stars.
For many in the US, Saudi Arabia will forever be associated with the collapse of the World Trade Towers and the deaths of nearly 3000 people on September 11, 2001.
All but four of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens, and the Saudi kingdom was the birthplace of Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaida and mastermind of the attack.
Terry Strada, the national chairperson of 9/11 Families United, has sent a letter to representatives of LIV Golf stars Reed, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Kevin Na calling on them to reconsider their participation in the series.
Her husband, Tom, died when a hijacked plane flew into the World Trade Center.
"Given Saudi Arabia's role in the death of our loved ones and those injured on 9/11 -- your fellow Americans -- we are angered that you are so willing to help the Saudis cover up this history in their request for 'respectability,'" Strada wrote
"When you partner with the Saudis, you become complicit with their whitewash, and help give them the reputational cover they so desperately crave -- and are willing to pay handsomely to manufacture."