This past weekend, Tiger Woods defended his title at the Australian Masters, the last tourney he won before revelations of his sex scandal erupted after Thanksgiving in 2009. Tiger lost this year, finishing a respectable fourth, but he took home far more money than the winner Stuart Appleby, who won $270,000 (AUD) for first place. Why the disparity?Well, Australia reportedly paid Tiger $3 million (AUD), which is about $2.5 million in US dollars just to show up. Yes, you heard that right. Tiger Woods was paid to play!
What’s more, the government of Victoria had to pay $1.5 million of that amount from taxpayer coffers. That drew a strong rebuke from opposition leader Ted Baillieu, who vowed to put the kibosh on any such appearance fee offered next year. However, the local defenders of the appearance fee contend that Tiger is a much greater draw for spectators of the tournament and TV audiences, and that he helps the local economy and businesses during the tournament week by his presence.
So who’s right? From a business perspective, the defenders of the appearance have at least a point. Tiger Woods can drive up TV ratings by 50 per cent, even after his sex scandal.
But, from a sports perspective, the appearance fee is unseemly. It devalues the competition and the prize given to the winner. Just imagine if the Olympics paid Michael Phelps millions of dollars to show up to compete in the Olympics. The gold medal would be meaningless. And the Olympic competition would be made a farce if certain athletes are paid to play. That’s one of the reasons the PGA Tour has a complete ban on appearance fees. Other golf tours around the world should adopt the same policy and ban the unsavory practice of appearance fees to Tiger Woods and other golfers. “Pay to play” has absolutely no place in golf.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.