Tiger Woods' decision to enter the Australian Masters, for which he will reportedly be paid a $3 million appearance fee (half paid by the government), continues to generate a plethora of stories and opinions in Australia, some of them not necessarily rooted in reality.
There's this, from the Wimmera Mail Times, in which a government official in the state of Victoria suggests that since taxpayer dollars are paying half Woods' appearance fee, "why not utilize his time?" His idea is to fly him from Melbourne to Horsham for an appearance to help raise money for the reconstruction of the Horsham Golf Club clubhouse following a fire.
"If we put out at least $1.5 million of taxpayer dollars we can put him on a plane and up to Horsham for a community event," Hugh Delahunty, member for Lowan, told the newspaper.
An appearance without a fee? Not likely.
Then there's this story, in the Courier, in which the newspaper virtually concedes Woods a victory in the Australian Masters, then suggests that as the champion he might be willing to return to defend the following year without remuneration.
"Perhaps a keenness to defend the title may in itself be enough of an inducement to see him return in 2010," the story concludes naively.
The story also discusses the merits of bringing Woods to Victoria (pumping a projected $19 million into the economy there), though it tweaks Woods in the process, noting that his website mentions the boon his appearance will have to the Victoria economy, while making no mention of the boon it will have to his own economy.
-- John Strege