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NZGA & Parry in appearance fee row

New Zealand Golf Association officials have refused to pay Australia's Craig Parry an appearance fee to ensure he defends his New Zealand Open title in January.

Parry is demanding $US35,000 to play in the January 16-19 tournamentin Auckland, arguing that his request is measly in comparison with the reported $NZ5 million fee paid to world No.1 Tiger Woods to play in this year's event.

"We've heard nothing," Parry told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, claiming his manager has contacted NZ Open officials four times about his appearance at the event without reply.

"Normally a tournament would at least reply. We weren't asking for much, just a small fee, a gnat bite compared with what they paid Tiger and an airfare and accommodation.

"I would have played but, by their silence, they're saying, 'No, we don't want you'."

NZGA chief executive Peter Dale rejected the comments, saying he is unaware of any talks having taken place.

"We treat anyone who has won the New Zealand Open like royalty. It's unthinkable that we would snub him."

Despite the confusion over who has spoken to who and Parry's threat to skip the tournament and play in Hawaii, Dale insists it is a matter of principle why they are refusing to pay him an appearance fee.

"We'll pay his airfares and accommodation and even toss in a fishing trip and get him out to the America's Cup," Dale said. "I'd even find him a beach in Queenstown to holiday in if he wants to.

"But we just can't pay appearance fees. We never have and if we do, what are we going to say to all the touring professionals from New Zealand who come home free of charge?

"We can't make an exception. We'd love to have him."

Despite the stalemate, Dale said negotiations would continue.

"We'll still try to get him to come but it is a business decision and I guess we just have to live with it.

"It is a matter of principle. We can't pay Parry something and not the New Zealand players. We've made the decision and it's tough.

"Anyone who has won a New Zealand Open is a cherished person but it'd be unthinkable for us to pay him to appear."


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