HEIDELBERG, Germany, Reuters
New Zealand’s Michael Campbell and Greg Turner have condemned the reported payment of a big fee to Tiger Woods to play in the New Zealand Open next year.
New Zealand press reports say Woods will be paid more than US$2 million to play in next January’s New Zealand Open at the Paraparaumu Club, Wellington. The largest prize fund to date for the tournament has been only 500,000 New Zealand dollars (US$213,400). But Campbell said on Friday: “Whether he has been paid US$2 million or not, I just hope the move doesn’t draw any funds from any other resources and sponsors.”
Woods’s New Zealand caddy Steve Williams has set up the visit and the world number one is expected to be an enormous crowd-puller.
Turner, a winner of two New Zealand Opens, was happy that Woods’s appearance would boost the tournament but had harsh words for his country’s policies on sport.
“I have very mixed feelings about the whole issue,” said Turner.
“Purely from a golfing perspective it is going to be fantastic to have Tiger playing in New Zealand and it will be fantastic for New Zealanders to have the opportunity to see him.
“Golf is probably the success story of New Zealand sport in the last decade in terms that we have eight to 10 players competing all around the world, and doing so well.
“But they are almost all doing so in spite of being from New Zealand rather than because of it.
“They have practically all been forced to leave the country in order to find a way to pursue their careers and their development has unquestionably been compromised because of it.
“They lived with this harsh reality because, ostensibly, there was no money available in New Zealand for golfers.
“Then, when Tiger wags his tail, all of a sudden loot can be found by the wheel barrow load.
“And then they will be expected to, once again, support the event and be pleased to inhale a few of the crumbs from his table – and next year- resume business as usual.”