Norman hails LIV event as 'golf evolution'

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LIV Golf Invitational chief executive Greg Norman has hailed the arrival of "the evolution of golf" following the conclusion of the breakaway circuit's first event.

Charl Schwartzel survived a shaky finish on the back nine to hold off South African countryman Hennie du Plessis by one shot at the Centurion Club near London on Saturday.

He pocketed $4.75million for his triumph - golf's biggest-ever, single-day prize pot - after his Stinger GC also finished top of the team leaderboard.

The 2011 Masters champion was one of seven major winners taking part in the first leg of the breakaway series, which has attracted controversy due to its Saudi links.

But with Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez the latest to defect from the PGA Tour over the past few days, LIV Golf is only gaining more and more momentum.

"All I can say is that the evolution of golf has arrived," said Norman, who first tried to set up a world tour in the 1990s.

"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.

"Golf was always going to be a force for good. The fans wanted this. We wanted this for you. We wanted this for the players, for the caddies, for the players' families."

Schwartzel led from start to finish to claim a prize equal to the amount it has taken him four years to earn on the PGA Tour.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think we could play for that much money in golf," he said.

"As you could see, I was taking a bit of heat down the stretch and there was a lot of money involved."

More big names are expected to be unveiled by LIV ahead of its second tournament in Portland at the end of June, before the series moves to New Jersey, Boston and Chicago.

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