The Loop

Tiger Woods Dubai: From oasis to mirage

November 28, 2010

The desert scrub that it was designed to replace is threatening to reclaim the dormant project known as Tiger Woods Dubai, Woods' first golf course design, as the Guardian's Lawrence Donegan reports today from Dubai.

"The Tiger Woods Dubai: a dust-bowl, an empty car park, an 'Arabian palace' as real as a Hollywood film set," Donegan writes. "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."

Only six holes were completed and the remaining 12 never got beyond the outline stage. Will it ever get done, Donegan asks? "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."

The upshot: "A decision is expected before February, when Woods will arrive here to play in the Dubai Desert Classic," Donegan writes. "The smart money around town is on the return to nature. After all what use is a billionaires playground when there are no billionaires?"

-- John Strege