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Big pay-day for Tiger, Rory

11 September 2013, 13:59

Hong Kong - Golf superstars Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will expand their already bulging bank accounts with a lucrative, one-round exhibition appearance next month in China.

The highly sought-after pair will face off at Hainan island's giant, 180-hole Mission Hills complex, one of the world's biggest golf resorts, on October 28, organisers announced Wednesday.

While no figures were revealed, last year's similar "Duel at Jinsha Lake" - an event to promote luxury real estate - involving Woods and McIlroy was for a reported pot of $2m.

By way of comparison, the winner's cheque at this year's US Masters, arguably the sport's most prestigious tournament, was $1.44m.

Woods, 37, said he was hoping to win this time in China after losing out to McIlroy at last year's "Duel at Jinsha Lake", an event remembered for its bizarre fans and organisation.

In outlandish scenes, spectators mobbed the fairways and stole balls from the driving range, while luxury yachts and helicopters were parked nearby and models in evening wear stood at the tees.

"I'm hoping to win this time," said the 14-time major-winner and world number one.

"We both played well last year, but Rory got me by one. I've had a really good year on the PGA Tour, so it would be nice to earn another trophy in China."

The lure of Woods and McIlroy appears to have put US Open champion Justin Rose and Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter in the shade, after plans for a similar face-off in China on the same day were scrapped.

Although McIlroy can expect an even higher profile and a fat cheque from his appearance, the match-up is unlikely to help him turn around a poor season after his huge-money switch to Nike.

McIlroy won his second major and topped the money list on both sides of the Atlantic last year, but he has slumped since signing a deal worth a reported $250m over 10 years.

"We had a lot fun last year and I'm expecting the same again this time in Hainan," said the 24-year-old Northern Irishman, who has dropped from first to fourth in the world.

"Tiger has played the better golf this year, but I feel like I'm getting my game back again and I enjoy any challenge, especially against Tiger, so I'm ready for another showdown."

The "Match at Mission Hills" is sandwiched between the $7m BMW Masters and $8.5m WGC-HSBC Champions, both in Shanghai and the highlights of Asia's late-year flurry of golf tournaments.

According to the latest figures quoted by Forbes magazine, Woods has returned to being the world's best paid athlete with prize money, salary and endorsements rated at $78 million over the 12 months to June.



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