hat on earth is going on with Tiger Woods Dubai? It is a simple question but no one wants to answer it! I just want an update, but countless emails to cagey creators Dubai Properties Group have sadly gone unanswered. It is infuriating – even Tiger doesn’t know what’s going on! “It is out of my hands” moaned the clueless world No.2 last November. Plus, even if Woods does care he has been just a touch preoccupied to investigate! For about a year now, Dubai Properties Group and IMG have been ominously tight-lipped, so it increasingly looks like the $1.1 billion project has turned from oasis to mirage. To date, Tiger Woods Dubai is a ghost-course that actually takes longer to find than play yet still employs millions of gallons of water each month to keep the desert at bay. The car crash of building site is as mortifying as Woods’ own car crash that so spectacularly catalysed his year of hell. Only six holes have been completed. The tragedy is they’re actually world class. If the other 12 are ever finished Tiger Woods Dubai could genuinely be the best course in the region – but right now it is a long way off the ‘Middle Eastern St Andrews’ it initially aspired it be. The half-finished “Arabian Palace” (which calls to mind T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland) is no one’s fault, just a crippling reminder of the lasting scars a recession can leave. This is precisely what irks me. Guilt-free Dubai Properties Group can only be chastised for blanking everyone. If they have to shut down Tiger Woods Dubai it is totally understandable. Conversely, if they plan
on finishing it why not tell us to drum up some positive press? There is no logical reason for their stony silence. I fear the only man who can get a speedy answer is Tiger himself. Since he is in Dubai for the Desert Classic he will hopefully feel compelled to get an update. Woods’ impending arrival is widely expected to prompt an announcement anyway, whether he wants one or not. As an ardent golf fan I don’t care about his sex scandal, but I would desperately like to know whether the so-called “top golf development in Dubai” is ever going to be built. It could be Tiger’s last chance for a while to meet face-to-face with Dubai Properties Group because the 35-yearold’s contract with the Desert Classic expires this February and it is unclear whether he’ll sign a new one. Before the inevitable Tiger frenzy at Emirates Golf Club there is the small matter of Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar! Hats off to ambitious Abu Dhabi for luring in all four 2010 Major winners – particularly debutant Phil Mickelson, who will bring his Masters green jacket to the impressive National for the very first time. Brand new Bahrain should be equally fascinating. Personally, I don’t rate Colin Montgomerie as a designer (his fairways are far too big) so I think it both brave and foolish for Monty to guarantee his newest creation won’t have any critics all his old ones do! Popular Qatar will no doubt be its usual scintillating success. There is bound to be peaked international interest too following the region’s incredible 2022 World Cup coup. I actually felt Australia’s bid was stronger. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure Qatar 2022 will be well-oiled, distinctive and phenomenal for tourism, but the notion
Tiger’s Faces! Woods showed us plenty of faces in 2010. Perhaps he was getting them all off this Ogawa Rubber artist!
06 Middle East Golfer OCTOBER 2010
of roofed stadiums grates against the spirit of football. Can you imagine pitching indoor golf and getting away with it? After Qatar, the Desert Swing ends with the flagship finale in Dubai. It will probably need something like a Tiger victory to surpass the drama of last year, which saw effervescent geriatric Miguel Angel Jimenez defeat Lee Westwood in a marathon playoff. Yet, it wouldn’t at all surprise me if Woods not only lifts the shiny silver jug (which looks like it should house the genie from Aladdin) for the third time but also ousts Westwood as world No.1 in the process. If he gets back to even 75% of his invincible best 2011 is definitely going to be his year. In fact, if Woods doesn’t win a Major I promise to sport one of his wacky Ogawa Rubber masks for a weekend! The quirky latex Tiger visages are actually so convincing I’m tempted to just don one voluntarily and drive down to Tiger Woods Dubai to see if I can get some answers! I hope you enjoy the Desert Swing, along with January’s issue. Happy New Year!
Ben Jacobs Editor Email: email@example.com Twitter: @JacobsBen