Most people assume that if you pay Tiger Woods appearance money it guarantees success for any tournament. Unfortunately this is not always the case, as was proved in the 2002 New Zealand Open at the Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club. Woods reportedly agreed to participate in this tournament as a favor to his caddy Steve Williams. At a conservative 6577 yards the Paraparaumu links course should have been a breeze for a golfer of Woods world class standing. The people came to see the great man, but it soon became apparent that they would never get close to him. There were even grumblings from club members who were denied access to certain areas of the club if Tiger happened to be there. These minders, or body guards put an aggressive ring of steel around Tiger. Allegedly the steel was the guns these guys were carrying, what was Tiger expecting from the known well behaved people of New Zealand ? It may be that Tiger himself was not aware of the activities of these guys, I will leave that thought for your own deliberation.
As far as the paying public were concerned Tiger never really turned up to contest, he was just on a paid vacation. Happy to show a few glimpses of his ability and smile away while walking down the fairways. What concerned the members of this club was the appearance money they paid this man to compete, he was lucky to make the cut. How could this be, granted the weather did not assist but surely the worlds best golfer could easily master the interesting 6577 yard links layout.
There were rumors of nightly goings on at the mansion he was renting, but nothing that could be confirmed. History now has given a clue to what was happening there and maybe the energy used at night severely hampered Tigers effort out on the course.
The people of New Zealand and club members felt let down by the great mans performance on the course. The club itself, once all the counting had been done was left with a huge debt. The organizers and outside management consultants all left with their cut, but the club had nothing. Tiger Woods did not need to win the tournament to make a profit on his trip, the appearance money took care of that detail. Allegedly he took home more money than the worthy winner Craig Parry of Australia.
Even today the club is struggling to pay the interest off the bank loan let alone pay off the debt. Tiger will never return, but it would be helpful if Steve Williams could be persuaded to organize a benefit tournament of some kind. It would be sad to see this famous links course turned into a housing estate sometime in the future, there are some people already having designs on exactly that kind of project.