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Tiger Woods will strengthen his ties with Turkish Airlines by returning to the European Tour event sponsored by the company for the next three years.
Woods, who finished third on Sunday, has signed a deal until 2016 in which he will command an annual fee of close to $3 million (£1.9 million) and he may soon join the Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi as one of the faces for the airline.
When asked about the potential of another individual sponsorship on Sunday, Hamdi Topcu, the Turkish Airlines chairman, said: “We have tried it with Messi and it has worked – let’s see.”
Messi is believed to receive more than £3 million a year from Turkish Airlines.
Certainly, Woods has presented value for money for the Turkish Airlines Open with Ahmet Agaoglu, the president of the Turkish Golf Federation, referring to him as “gold dust”.
“More than 1.5 billion will have watched Tiger in our tournament, which showcases our country to the world,” he said. “You get your money back with him and more.”
Nobody should underestimate the superstar power that the 14-time major winner brings to an event and, most especially, the competitive spirit he packs in his suitcase.
The world No 1 was nowhere near his A-game here for this tournament, but Woods still managed to finish third behind Victor Dubuisson in a field boasting the cream of the European Tour.
“I was rusty at the start of the week, but I got better as it went along,” Woods said. “I’m happy with the progress I’ve made.
“You know, a couple of years ago there were a lot of guys saying I wouldn’t win again. I’ve won eight times since then, so it’s been good.”