"The world's best player charges $4 million to drive through the gate."

Trevor Grant treads thoughtfully through the minefield better known as taking on the issue of excessive purses and apperance fees while considering the impact on golf.
Of course, this boundless gluttony has repercussions for those who don't get to sit at the big table.

Last month, after the announcement of a new European Tour event in Dubai, worth a staggering $11 million, US Tour boss Tim Finchem described it as terrific for golf globally.

However, it's hard to see the benefits in this corner of the globe as the Australian golf tour hangs on for dear life, threatened by a tsunami of cash for tournaments in the Middle East and China.

All manner of tactics have been employed to try to prevent Australian golf's plunge towards global irrelevance.

The organisers of the Australian Open, being played this week at The Australian in Sydney, have followed the money trail to New South Wales, where the State Government has agreed to back the event until 2009.

Thus, the national Open has become Sydney-centric, and now ignores one of the best assets in Australian golf - the Melbourne sandbelt.

By 2009 the Open would have been played in this world-acclaimed golf mecca just twice in 12 years - at Kingston Heath in 2000 and Victoria in 2002.

Australia's most significant course, Royal Melbourne, has not hosted the most prestigious event in the country for 16 years.

It's much the same as the British Open ignoring St Andrews, and a sad indictment on the priorities in golf in this country.

Firmly ensconced in Sydney, the Open's priority is said to be the signing of Woods to play next year.

Sources say the pursuit of Woods has the backing of the NSW Government, which wants to make an impact after losing out to its Victorian counterpart in the bid for the 2011 Presidents Cup.

It sounds great for the game here. Except for one thing.

The world's best player charges $4 million to drive through the gate.

The last time he did so in this part of the world, at the NZ Open in 2002, the tournament was a financial disaster.