Tiger Woods attracts controversy in Thai golf tournament

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BANGKOK -- Tiger Woods is in Thailand this week for the Asian Honda Classic golf tournament at a course outside Bangkok. Interest in the young sensation - whose mother is Thai - is high, as reflected in the price of 60-second commercials during delayed broadcasts of the four-day event each night at 11 p.m. Channel 3 is charging $6,800 per minute, up from its usual rate of $4,800 for the time slot. The network believes Woods will attract housewives and teenagers in addition to golf fans.

But the super-star has a minor public relations problem: persistent reports in the local press say Asian Honda Motor Co. of Bangkok is paying Woods a whopping appearance fee, which the reports variously give as $480,000 and $500,000. Colin Dunjohn, managing director of IMG (Thailand) - the local representative of the Cleveland-based International Management Group - says the reports are wildly exaggerated. "I won't tell you the real figure," Dunjohn says, "but I can tell you that 12 million baht [$480,000] is way out of line - not even in the ballpark."

IMG is Woods' agent - and is staging the tournament. Dunjohn says Honda is spending $2m on the tournament, of which about $800,000 will go for advertising and promotion. Chuo Senko is Honda's lead agency in Thailand and is helping with the tournament. But most of the advertising and promotion is being done by IMG.

Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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