Tiger Woods has created a storm over his planned first appearance in Australia for more than a decade, in relation to a reported £2.1m appearance fee.
Woods last appeared down under in the 1998 Presidents Cup, but his Australian Masters appearance in November, which comes two weeks before the Australian Open, has divided opinion over whether it’s a positive move because of the money involved.
Peter Thomson, former winner of the Australian Open, said: “In my view it’s going to damage our national Open. “He won’t be playing in that but it sucks up potential sponsorship.”
However, rival Stuart Appleby, who is one of Australia’s leading players, believes the 14-time Major winner can only have a positive impact on golf down under.
“It will be great for the game and bring out a lot of people who haven’t seen him before, in person, not on a video game,” said Appleby.
“There’s a lot of people hurting in Australia, and they might look negatively that one guy is paid $3m just to turn up.”
The Victoria state tax payers will reportedly cover half the cost of Woods’ visit via the government support for the event, but state premier John Brumby predicted Woods’ appearance would earn $19m (£9m) in economic benefits.
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