Woods’ Australian visit brought millions to locals

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Tiger Woods’ $3 million appearance fee for playing in the Australian Masters in November has paid dividends for the Victorian state economy.

Acting state Premier Rob Hulls said Tuesday that Woods’ appearance at Kingston Heath Golf Club injected $31 million into the economy, far higher than forecast.

Woods won the Australian Masters on Nov. 15, his last tournament before a Nov. 27 car accident near his home when he ran over a fire hydrant and into a tree.

Since then, Woods has remained out of the public eye and announce that he would take an indefinite break from golf after admitting extramarital “transgressions.”

State taxpayers paid about half of Woods’ appearance fee.

“This was truly a great event for Melbourne and Victoria that delivered a massive boost to our tourism industry, attracted thousands of visitors to our state and beamed Melbourne to a global audience,” Hulls said. “Due to unprecedented ticket sales and public interest, the actual impact was almost double what was forecast.”

Hulls said Melbourne’s major hotels were almost completely booked during the Masters and golf courses across the state reported a surge in players. He said there were also economic spinoffs for restaurants, taxis and the retail sector.

A sellout crowd of more than 107,000 attended the four-day tournament and thousands more the Wednesday pro-am and practice days.