How to lure a Tiger - take him fishing

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Top sportsmen, such as golfers and tennis players, have become so rich through their achievements that mere prize money can no longer attract them to tournaments, according to the king of sports agents, Mark McCormack. The owner of the International Management Group cannot even persuade his leading client, Tiger Woods, to play in the Cisco Word Match Play, the event McCormack founded 36 years ago.

Top sportsmen, such as golfers and tennis players, have become so rich through their achievements that mere prize money can no longer attract them to tournaments, according to the king of sports agents, Mark McCormack. The owner of the International Management Group cannot even persuade his leading client, Tiger Woods, to play in the Cisco Word Match Play, the event McCormack founded 36 years ago.

Woods, winner of the last three majors, misses the Wentworth tournament, which starts tomorrow, for the second year running despite the prize fund being raised to £1m.

Perhaps London does not offer the sort of extracurricular activities for Woods that McCormack believes are now required to lure the stars to tournaments. Neither will Woods travel to Melbourne in January to play in the £3m Andersen Consulting World Championship.

"I have an inkling that a lot of top players won't be in Melbourne," McCormack said. "That shows though the prize money is big, it is hard to attract the top players. You have to offer other things. If you want to get someone to Australia and they like fishing, take them out to the Great Barrier Reef. If they collect BMWs, give them a special one. That means more to them than just giving them the money, even if they could buy three BMWs with it. That's just the way sportsmen think."

Hence Woods and friends go to Ireland before the Open for the fishing and the craic with J P McManus rather than playing at Loch Lomond.

Not that McCormack is against the rich getting richer. "Woods and Michael Jordan deserve all the money they get. But those barely making the cut don't deserve what they get. They even want to be paid for missing the cut. It is happening in all sports. You can go out in the first round at Wimbledon and still get £20,000."

McCormack added: "We have a proud tradition of not paying appearance money at the Match Play going back to the days of Palmer, Nicklaus and Player." What he failed to mention was that the first round losers here will receive £50,000, and the defeated quarter-finalists £65,000. Woods, of course, would have been seeded straight into the second round.

Comments