Tiger to return Down Under in 2011?

Will you not come back again Tiger? Of course he will.

The world’s no.2 golfer, Tiger Woods, was in a buoyant mood after playing his last six holes in six-under the card at Victoria Golf Club in the JB Were Australian Masters.

Tiger to return Down Under in 2011? Tiger to return Down Under in 2011?

“I’d love to,” he said with the broadest of public relations grins when asked if he would return for the third time in a row for the tournament.

In the end though, it will come down to the money.

Tiger’s chances of a third visit to the Masters will come down to nothing more than whether or not the Brumby government is prepared to stump up half the $3 million asking price.

That also hinges on whether the Brumby government wins another term in office at the Victorian election this month.

There’s no doubt the major sponsor is happy to stump up the other $1.5 million for Woods to play – but $3 million might be a bit steep if the government pulls the pin.

(It has always puzzled me how IMG, as owner of the tournament, has to pay Woods $3 million to turn up, given that he is IMG’s No.1 client)

The galleries flocked to Victoria Golf Club to see the great man again this year. They were not there in equal numbers to Kingston Heath last year, but they still came. The galleries which followed Woods over the weekend were a sight to behold on television.

And they came in spite of Melbourne’s woeful weather on the Saturday.

There was lots of huffing and puffing about next year’s event. Tiger said he could not see why the US President’s Cup team would not take advantage of the opportunity to play in the Masters in the lead up the next year’s event at Royal Melbourne.

It was all good stuff.

But in the cold light of day, the Americans – Tiger included – are not going to come to Melbourne to play for $270,000 when they can stop off in China or Singapore on the way to compete for $1 million.

There was talk, too, of shifting the Australian PGA Championship to Melbourne and playing it between the Masters and the President’s Cup.

This would give Melbourne a sensational three weeks of golf culminating in the President’s Cup at Royal Melbourne.

In all sounds good amid the hype and excitement on the Sunday evening a hugely successful tournament.

However there is a lot of water to flow under the bridge before schedules are re-jigged to accommodate Woods and the American President’s Cup team.

In fact some might see it as an advantage to the International Team – which will be largely comprised of Australian players – to take on the Americans ‘cold’ at RM.

It all points to an interesting 12 months of politicking.