Woods is like gold dust to Turkish organizers

Thu Nov 7, 2013 2:26pm EST
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By Tony Jimenez

BELEK, Turkey (Reuters) - Tiger Woods is worth his weight in gold to the inaugural $7 million Turkish Airlines Open and to sport in the country in general, the president of the national golf federation said on Thursday.

Businessman Ahmet Agaoglu is a huge fan of the world's number one golfer and said he cannot speak highly enough of Woods's contribution this week.

"I've been involved in sport one way and another for nearly 42 years and I describe Tiger as the best athlete of all time," Agaoglu told Reuters in an interview during the opening round of the European Tour event being staged in the city of Antalya.

"You may not agree with me but that's my personal opinion. Whatever you pay for an athlete like Tiger it is not much considering what he brings, and believe me, he is not asking for much."

Agaoglu would not disclose figures but media reports suggest 14-times major champion Woods is being paid an appearance fee of $3 million.

"This tournament is being broadcast to 58 nations...that's a lot for our country's representation all over the world," said the shipping magnate.

"Tiger had a major injury a couple of years ago, was away from golf a long time and slipped a long way down the world rankings but he made an amazing comeback and is now number one again.

"When he came on the scene he began a new era in golf. Before him most of the players had big bellies and were 10, 15, sometimes 25 kilos over weight - now they all look like real athletes.   Continued...

Tiger Woods of the U.S. plays a shot on the fifth hole during the first round of the inaugural Turkish Airlines Open in the south west city of Antalya November 7, 2013. REUTERS/Umit Bektas