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Aussie Open officials couldn't afford McIlroy, Els

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This week’s Australian Open has an eclectic quartet of headliners: World No. 4 Justin Rose, countryman Adam Scott, 63-year-old Tom Watson and 14-year-old amateur Tianlang Guan.

But according to a report Tuesday in Australian Golf Digest, tournament organizers believed they had an “arrangement” with both Rory McIlroy and Ernie Els to play this week’s event in Sydney until they won the PGA Championship and British Open, respectively.

What changed?

For one thing, their asking price.

According to this report, McIlroy’s management team was asking for an appearance fee believed to be around $1 million. But once the Northern Irishman won by eight strokes at Kiawah Island, that figure apparently doubled, which was a commitment tournament officials couldn’t afford to make.

A similar breakdown in negotiations reportedly occurred once Els won at Royal Lytham, though no figures were disclosed in this report. 

Last year, of course, Tiger Woods tuned up for the Presidents Cup by competing at the Australian Open, marking his first appearance in Sydney since 1996. He finished third at the event. 

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