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Brent Kelley

Claim: Qatar Masters Rejected Tiger's $3 Million Appearance Fee Request

By January 11, 2013

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Was Tiger Woods willing to skip the PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines if he could get a $3 million appearance fee to play the Commercialbank Qatar Masters instead?

That's what the president of the Qatar Golf Association has claimed.

Woods announced this week that his first two tournaments of 2013 will be the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship next week, and the Farmers Insurance Open the following week (Jan. 24-27).

Woods is a 6-time winner at the Farmers, plus he won the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. But last year, Woods skipped the Farmers when it was up against the Abu Dhabi tournament on the calendar, playing in Abu Dhabi instead - and reaping a hefty appearance fee.

So there's was the ring of plausibility when Hassan al Nuaimi, president of the Qatar Golf Association, said at a news conference this week that Woods wanted $3 million to play Qatar instead of Torrey Pines.

"Tiger Woods demands $3 million just for an appearance, if he were to compete in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters - which is not worth paying for a tournament of $2.5 million prize money," al Nuaimi said.

For the record, Woods has never played the Qatar tournament, and his agent, Mark Steinberg, told Bloomberg News that Woods "was never contemplating Qatar."

Appearance fees are controversial in the American market, where they are officially forbidden by the golf tours (but sometimes creatively - and quietly - worked around). But outside the United States, appearance fees are not that big a deal - they are discussed openly, and fully acknowledged. They don't have the whiff of impropriety that the American market smells. But all the major stars (and many minor ones) have in the past - and will continue in the future - to negotiate appearance fees when opportunities arise.

But clearly, it's possible to ask for too much, even if you're Tiger Woods.

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