14 Dec 2011

Oz Masters saved by world number one

6:43 am on 14 December 2011

Promoters of the Australian Masters golf tournament, teeing off tomorrow in Melbourne, say they nearly called off the event this year before signing the world number one Luke Donald.

The field will be playing for the lowest prize purse in Australia for almost a decade - one million Australian dollars, which is 33 percent down on the country's two other major events, the Australian Open and PGA championships.

The purse isn't event mentioned in the tournament programme, and the promoters IMG say their main problem was securing corporate support for a major event so close to Christmas.

The defending champion Stuart Appleby revealed yesterday he might have to pull out of the event because of chronic lower back pain.