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The Herald Sun MARCH 20, 2009 - by Michael Warner and Nick Higginbottom
WHO WOULD YOU PAY TO SEE?
Melbourne's coup in signing golfing great Tiger Woods has rattled our northern neighbours.
In a clear case of sour grapes, NSW Premier Nathan Rees yesterday made the bizarre claim he'd rather have ageing muso Brian Eno in Sydney than match Melbourne's boast of having Woods.
"Tiger Woods probably has one of the best jobs in the world. He simply puts himself our for tender to go and play on golf courses," Mr Rees said.
"I would much rather Brian Eno's work on display... that is a better spend of taxpayer dollars."
Eno, a composer and producer whose popular heyday was thirty-five years ago when he was in art-rock group Roxy Music, is playing in Sydney at a government-backed festival.
NSW vowed last year to snare Woods for the Australian Open as part of a bid to dethrone Melbourne as the sporting capital of the world.
But yesterday's Herald Sun revealed Woods has chosen Melbourne and will play in November's Australia Masters at Kingston Heath in a three million dollar taxpayer-funded deal.
"It's a win-win for both states - we've got Tiger Woods and New South Wales has got Brian Eno," Victorian Premier John Brumby quipped last night.
Major Events Minister Tim Holding said NSW has failed dismally.
"Sydney has made a song and dance about stealing Melbourne's major events but we have re-signed the Grand Prix, the Australian Open and now secured Tiger Woods. Like so much in the harbour city, talk is cheap," he said.
A secret letter from Mr Brumby to Woods has emerged as a key play in the exhaustive thirteen-month negotiation to secure his signature.
Woods' management was presented with the note at last year's British Open by Victorian Major Events chief Brendan McClements.
"I am writing to invite you to Victoria in the fall of 2009... I would be very pleased to welcome your presence," Mr Brumby told Woods.
"Melbourne is renowned for its hospitality so you and your family are sure to experience outstanding food and entertainment during your stay."
Sources said Woods approved the plan this week.
Liberal leader Ted Baillieu questioned Mr Brumby's claims that Woods' appearance at the Masters would boost the economy by nineteen million dollars.
"I don't believe Tiger Woods' attendance will generate anything like the economic benefits claimed by John Brumby," he said.
"At a time like this, when people are losing their jobs, it's hard to believe that the Victorian public would think that this is a good idea."