Woods absence creating headaches for golf organisers in Scotland

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St. Andrews (Scotland), Feb.14 (ANI): Organisers of the 150th Open Championship to be staged in St Andrews this summer have said that it has been a major headache for them to deal with companies selling hospitality packages and slashing prices to cope with a drop in demand in the absence of gold great Tiger Woods.

A "double whammy" of uncertainty about whether golf's biggest and most bankable star will travel to Scotland and reduced corporate spending in the recession means sales of normally lucrative Open packages have been "extremely slow", The Scotsman quoted one industry insider, as saying.

One major firm selling corporate packages for the four-day event has almost halved prices - from 415 to 275 pounds - in a bid to increase sales.

Even the Royal and Ancient Golf Club's official corporate packages have been "upgraded" to attract extra custom. The up-side for golf fans is that they will be able to get their hands on some bargain prices for hospitality at this year's event, which takes place from 25 to 28 July.

The director of one hospitality firm said: "Tiger Woods is the big one, the man everybody wants to see. If he's not there, the packages on offer are simply not as exciting. It's a simple matter of show business. The big names sell tickets."

"Add to that the recession and things are looking very slow. There has been a slight upturn in corporate spending, but I can well understand why people are having to slash prices," he added.

Helena Woodcock, who runs Golf Communications International, a Scottish golf PR company, said: "If Tiger Woods is absent, the event become less attractive from a corporate hospitality point of view."

The World No1 announced he was taking time out from golf at the end of last year, after his alleged affairs with at least 14 women came to light, in an attempt to save his marriage to Elin Nordegren.

The golf superstar, who has been attending a sex addiction clinic in the US, has not yet made clear when, or if, he will return to the professional game. (ANI)

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