Golf: World No. 2 Spieth to be paid more than Singapore Open purse for headlining event

22-year-old golfer Jordan Spieth will be paid an appearance fee of US$1.2 million (S$1.67 million) at the SMBC Singapore Open - more than the event's total prize pot of US$1 million.
22-year-old golfer Jordan Spieth will be paid an appearance fee of US$1.2 million (S$1.67 million) at the SMBC Singapore Open - more than the event's total prize pot of US$1 million. PHOTO: REUTERS

World No. 2 Jordan Spieth will headline the SMBC Singapore Open in January, but the American golfer comes at quite a price.

The Straits Times understands that the 22-year-old sensation will be paid an appearance fee of US$1.2 million (S$1.67 million) - more than the event's total prize pot of US$1 million. In comparison, 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods commanded a sum of US$2 million to US$3 million in his prime.

Sources said organisers have a separate budget to attract at least one big name to spice up the Singapore Open, which is returning after a three-year hiatus.

Securing Spieth was made easier as he is managed by French media conglomerate Lagardere, which recently took over World Sport Group, the tournament's promoter.

The Texan's stock is high after claiming this year's Masters and US Open titles, as well as the Tour Championship crown that saw him clinch the 2015 FedExCup.

He was also runner-up in the PGA Championship, tied for fourth at the British Open and was named PGA Tour Player of the Year.

"I'm very fortunate to play golf around the world and can't wait to visit Singapore for the first time," said Spieth. "The SMBC Singapore Open is one of Asia's leading events and I couldn't be more excited to add it to my 2016 playing schedule."

Last staged in 2012, when then-world No. 1 Rory McIlroy was among a strong field, the Singapore Open will be held at Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong course from Jan 28 to 31. The full-field tournament is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour.

Spieth will look to join a list of illustrious past champions, including three-time winner Adam Scott of Australia, England's Ian Poulter and Matteo Manassero of Italy, who triumphed in 2012.

With over US$22 million in earnings this year, the American has surpassed the record of US$20.9 million set by Woods in 2007.

"It is more than an honour to welcome Jordan Spieth, the winner of two Majors this year, to the first SMBC Singapore Open in 2016," said Takeshi Kunibe, president and chief executive officer of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC). "We believe the participation of the most exciting golfer in the world today will open a new page in the great history of this event."

The competition will comprise the top 60 players from each of the Asian and Japanese tours, as well as leading Singapore professionals, amateurs and sponsor invites.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2015, with the headline 'Spieth to be paid more than S'pore Open purse'. Print Edition | Subscribe