It is a good time to be an international golf star, at least for now. Chinese tycoons have been engaging in purse wars, luring big golf stars with millions in prize money and appearance fees to their resorts and tournaments in Asia. I knew I should have taken up golf sooner.
I’ve read a couple of stories this morning regarding these silly season tournaments in Asia and the insanely high purses and appearance fees. Rory McIlroy just won the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters recently and collected the largest single tournament prize in golf history, $2 million. The relatively new and unknown tournament also paid out an estimated $20 million in appearance fees to the field, which was only 30 players. You do the math.
In November pro golfers pocketed around $20 million in Asian prize money, not to mention the countless millions in appearance fees.
Chinese tycoon Tenniel Chu is one of those tycoons who has been shelling out big bucks. He must be feeling a little sore. That’s either because he’s been shelling out the bucks to the players and not seeing a real benefit, or because he was trumped by a competing family, the Shis, who put on the Shanghai Masters. Chu is asking for a cap on the prize money.
“China has deep pockets but the last thing we want to do is to raise financial expectations to levels which are non-proportional to tradition and established events.”
China seems to be today’s version of what Dubai was a few years ago, luring big stars like Tiger Woods to play there for millions in appearance fees and huge purses. Wonder if they see the writing on the wall? Will their projects, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars, “turn to dust” like the billion dollar Tiger Woods development in Dubai?