Will Donald Trump's Sand Dune Gollf Course go the Same Way as The Tiger Woods's Dubai Golf Development?
Tiger Woods's Dubai dream evaporates in the desert
A year after that infamous car crash, the American's fortunes seem as far from recovering as ever, with what has become a $1.1bn mirage in the Dubai desert
The decline and fall of "brand Tiger Woods" is a story best told not by the supermarket tabloids, golf's world rankings or this month's relaunch' of a career and an image so brutally damaged by personal scandal, but by a journey, along the Emirates Road to the south of Dubai and then left and down an unmarked road.
Drive for a mile over the speed bumps, past an abandoned security hut, until Tarmac becomes gravel and then another mile until the gravel becomes sand, and there it is: The Tiger Woods Dubai. The first golf course in world designed by the man many consider, or at least considered, the greatest ever to play the game.
Read the three-year-old press releases and gasp at the numbers. Fifty-five million square feet. Two hundred "residences" – £7m villas, £10m mansions and "palaces". A boutique hotel, a spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant. And then the centrepiece: the Al Ruwaya Golf Club. Eleven thousand imported trees; 22m cubic meters of earth to be moved; and 3m square feet of water. An 18-hole masterpiece hewn from the sand. All hail the winner of "best golf development" at the 2008 Arabian Properties Awards. Estimated total cost on completion: $1.1bn.
Now gasp at the tumbleweed reality on the morning of 27 November 2010, the first anniversary of the car crash that led to the world's richest and most famous athlete falling to earth. The Tiger Woods Dubai: a dust-bowl, an empty car park, an "Arabian palace" as real as a Hollywood film set.
Like so much else in post-boom Dubai, the palace is a facade, propped up by wooden beams. Behind it lies a collection of portable cabins that in the glory days of the economic boom served as a sales office. These days the salesmen have gone, to be replaced by a handful of cleaners and maintenance staff trying to keep alive what is left of the $1.1bn fantasy.
There is not much; a scale model of the proposed development in one of the rooms, some dusty furniture and a telephone long disconnected. What has happened to Tiger Woods Dubai? "No comment. I don't know,'' said a Dubai-based spokesman for IMG, the sports agency that represents Woods around the world, while repeated attempts to contact the Dubai Properties Group, the government-controlled company that now owns the development, are met with no response.
In the week before his infamous car crash, Woods came to Dubai to look over the work that had been done up until then. He has never been back but when – or if – he ever returns, he will find virtually nothing has changed. Six holes have been completed and the outline of 12 more are in place, all behind a fenced-off compound hidden away from public view. Ghostly fairways lined by 3,000 trees, with 8,000 more stored under canvas. Will the project ever be finished? "Who knows? It could be great if it ever gets finished, but we don't know if it will ever get finished," says one member of the staff. "They better make a decision soon because we are struggling to keep the desert at bay."
Full Story: Guardian.co.uk