Tiger Returns to Melbourne
Tiger Woods� return to Melbourne last week for the Australian Masters was another big win for Melbourne and our outstanding line up of major events. It�s always fantastic to see the best sporting talent in the world coming to Victoria and the line up for this year�s Masters was no exception.
Labor have always said Tiger Woods appearing at the Masters would provide a substantial boost to the Victorian economy through interstate and international visitors and flow on to our restaurants, hotels and other attractions.
Unfortunately, not everyone is in favour of bringing these huge drawcards to Melbourne.
Ted Baillieu and the Liberal Party have said that as the Australian Masters is run by a private company, professional golfers like Tiger Woods should not be paid to come to Melbourne.
�This (the Australian Masters) is a commercial tournament, unlike other major events � and it is not necessary for taxpayers to fund Tiger Woods personally.
(Ted Baillieu, The Age, 23/02/10)
But is only because of the Brumby Labor Government�s contribution that the world�s best golfers like Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Camilo Villegas, Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Allenby have come to the Australian Masters.
No one should be under any illusion about the fact that without the contribution from the Government, Tiger Woods would not have come to Melbourne last year, or last week.
While Labor has proven our commitment to maintaining and building on Victoria�s world-leading major events calendar, the Liberal Party�s only contribution is to snipe from the sidelines and talk Victoria down.
Mr Baillieu has long been a vocal opponent of Tiger Woods coming to Melbourne.
�It�s [the Australian Masters] not a major international tournament; it�s not like the Grand Prix or the Australian Open.� (Ted Baillieu, Herald Sun, 19/03/09).
�I don�t believe Tiger Woods� attendance will generate anything like the economic benefits claimed by John Brumby�, (Ted Baillieu, Herald Sun, 19/03/09)
If Mr Baillieu had his way, the world�s best athletes would be flying into Sydney Airport and taking tourists and enormous economic benefits with them.
Nationals Leader Peter Ryan has also expressed his opposition to paying Tiger Woods to come to Melbourne because of personal issues.
�To be committing to Tiger Woods� return at this point in time is not the right thing to do, People in the public arena, in whatever form, whether they like it or not, are role models. It applies particularly to the case of Tiger Woods.� (Peter Ryan, The Age, 23/02/10)
Peter Ryan seems to be suggesting that we should station the morality police at Melbourne Airport and turn back anyone who doesn�t meet his self-righteous standards. We bring sporting champions from all over the world and the last thing we want is for politicians to cross examine them about their personal lives.
We are thrilled to see Tiger Woods back in Australia. His participation in this event generates global interest in the Australian Masters and in Victoria.