Players 'must end rape and pillage'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 November, 2007, 12:00am

Five-time British Open winner Peter Thomson took a swipe at the culture of appearance fees at golf tournaments in the region yesterday, saying: 'Events in Asia should not be open to rape and pillage by players and their managers.'

Thomson, 78, who was the guest of honour at the Open, believes the PGA Tour and the European Tour should step in and help the Asian Tour management in 'stamping out the exploitation to help save the good name of golf'.

'There is an undercurrent of nastiness right now,' said Thomson, a three-time winner of the Hong Kong Open. 'Sponsors [of golf tournaments] need protection from the managers. Some players deliberately miss events, thinking they're going to get invited back with incentives the next year. The sponsors are going to get fed up eventually. The PGA and European Tours should come in and introduce the same rules as they have in their own sphere.'

Thomson made reference to the Australian PGA Tour, which, like the PGA and European Tours, doesn't permit appearance money to be paid to so-called 'star' players. 'They've jacked it in; and the rest of the players won't play if they know a player is being paid to attend,' he said.

'In my experience, the sponsors don't want to pay. It's a terrible practice, one that needs to be stamped out. The PGA Tour in America is the strongest tour in the world because they prohibit fees. Asia needs to look to their example.'