Should Australian taxpayers foot half the bill for Tiger’s appearance at the IMG Masters at Kingston Heath?


Well, before I start, I’m going to say no…the tax payers shouldn’t.  If someone wants Tiger for $3 mil (the total amount of his appearance fee), by all means, that’s their perogative, but in this global economic climate, for something this frivolous?  No, absolutely not.

But at the same time, with estimates for generating $19 million, as a result of TV coverage and advertising to get in on Tiger’s show, you can’t just ignore this as making sense from a fiscal standpoint.  It’s a touchy subject for sure.

Like I said, I have no problem with appearance fees.  Golfers are the rare professional athlete that is an independent contractor.  A tour golfer is responsible for their own income and their compensation is tied directly to their success, so how can you begrudge a guy like this for trying to maximize his earning potential?  It’s hard to.

I have a problem with tournament representation by the elite pro.  How are you supposed to truly promote your sport when the best your sport has to offer is only going to tee it up 16-20 weeks per year?  And since there’s no rule regarding mandatory participation, why not allow these sponsors who drive your sport the option of luring an elite field?  It’d be relatively easy to regulate, and it’d probably draw Tiger, Phil and the rest out to smaller events at great courses that aren’t really that big right now?

What I don’t have a problem with are tournaments in the Middle East or Asia trying to get a top player in there.  Why not?  Let em get who they want in there in new, RICH golf markets.

But there has to be a line drawn somewhere, and when taxpayer money is involved, that line begins to materialize.  While AN ESTIMATED $19 million is supposed to be generated, there’s always the risk of that number not being met.  What happens if it doesn’t break even?  Then what?  How do you tell the taxpayers that you wasted some of their money on a golf tournament?

Now, I’m sure the tourney will be just fine.  I’m sure that it’ll break even and money will pour into the economy, that’s not the issue.  It’s just risky, that’s all.

There seems to be two camps of people…those for and against appearance fees for the top players.  I don’t see how it’s a bad thing at all, because they have that freedom.  It’s all about $$$ on the big tours and more power to these guys to making all they can.  Sure, agents and sponsors have a lot to do with Tiger, Phil and Ernie’s schedules, but when they only have to do the bare minimum, why wouldn’t you kill as many birds with that stone as you could?

Let the players make their coin, and if you don’t like it, Finchem, force their hand and flex whatever feeble muscle you have.  You can nip appearance fees in the bud if you really want to, and until you do, you’re going to see things like this pop up all the time.