Only one completed design project? Ouch.
Un-Making Tracks: No Tiger Course in Dubai
By Torleif Sorenson on 7/9/13
By any objective measure, Tiger Woods is "set" financially. His golf career is clearly of Hall-of-Fame caliber; he has 14 professional major championship victories, preceeded by three consecutive U.S. Amateur Championship wins. The Tiger Woods Foundation continues to be active, as are the five Tiger Woods Learning Centers in Anaheim, Philadelphia, Florida, and Washington, D.C.

But Tiger's golf course design company keeps hitting proverbial roadblock after roadblock.

The latest setback involves Tiger Woods Dubai, a planned golf course development in the United Arab Emirates that was to include a Woods-designed course surrounded by 287 palaces, mansions, "villas," and a luxury hotel and golf academy. But now, reports that Dubai Holding have dissolved their partnership with Woods. They announced the project back in 2006 with a targeted opening date in 2009. But the economic recession caused the group to suspend the project in 2010. Likewise, construction of the Al Ruwaya course at Dubai is also suspended. It is entirely possible that the completed holes will be left to be permanently smothered by the surrounding desert. Even the Tiger Woods Dubai web site URL now redirects to a UAE-based real estate development company.

Just last month, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported that the Cliffs at High Carolina project appears to be "on life support, without an optimistic chance of survival." High Carolina was announced in 2007 with plans for a 3,000-acre development with several hundred luxury homes (Do you sense a pattern here?) and a Woods-designed course. In an interview, Cliffs Land Partners CEO Brett Johnston said that this is not going to happen:
"His deal didn't make it through bankruptcy. We don't have any deal with Tiger. We don't have any relationship with him, business or otherwise."
Of the five (!) course projects listed on the Tiger Woods Design web site, only one of them has ever been completed: Tiger's own private practice facility at his home on Jupiter Island in Florida.

FACT: Thousands of ordinary people have built their businesses by starting with much smaller, more manageable projects that have a decent chance of success. More than a few golf course architects have built a track record of success in this way, too.

A public course that needs some love and (comparatively inexpensive) attention would make an excellent starting point for Woods. The Links at Whitehaven in Memphis would be an ideal candidate; the course nearly closed in 2012, but public outrage and backlash forced a few idiotic council members in Memphis to withdraw that plan. The resulting public goodwill and boost to Tiger's reputation would do plenty to help burnish his image, which has been dented by some well-publicized, self-inflicted wounds.

Once Woods has done a couple of these projects — and whenever an economic recovery ever begins — investors and developers of more expensive and luxurious projects could show more confidence in Tiger Woods and his design firm — which they obviously need.

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Image via Flickr, Omar Rawlings

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