It is interesting to me that a week after Golf Digest posted pictures of Tiger’s stalled Dubai golf resort that Woods will be in town for his annual appearance fee grab and yet another chance to get back on track. Woods’ design deal in Dubai was the pinnacle of excess. A lot of players ease their way into design. Tiger went straight to the highest bidder, selling high on his name recognition when no one knew if he could lay out a putt-putt course. The course was supposed to be the centerpiece of a development that featured 75 mansions and 22 palaces. Not sure what the difference is there, are you bestowed royal status if you buy a palace? But, no need to worry anymore as the project has stalled out completely. It’s now three partially completed holes in the middle of the desert. I’m no economist, but I think it might be a while before this project gets back off the ground (if it ever does). Luckily for the players and the European Tour, Dubai can still scrape together enough dough to put on their tournament.
The Dubai Desert Classic has been poaching players from the PGA Tour event for years. It was the first event that lured players like Els, Woods, Montgomerie, etc. Now, the entire swing through the Middle East is dotted with top-ranked players, but Dubai is still the lone stop for Woods and his appearance will offer a unique viewing opportunity. Tournament organizers have decided to pair Woods with Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer. It is the first time the top-3 players in the World will be in the same group since the 2008 U.S. Open.
I wonder how Tiger feels about this grouping? He had the luxury for years of not caring about the World Rankings, because he was always on top. Now he’s face to face with the two players that have passed him, and not only that, at least one of them is on much better form. Kaymer is only a couple of weeks removed from dismantling the field in Abu Dhabi. You’d like to think that Tiger will rise to the occasion, and in the past, a grouping like this would have been a death sentence for Westwood and Kaymer, but now I worry about Tiger being able to keep pace. The other two guys could be moving in for a kill shot here. If Tiger finishes 3rd in this threesome, his golf course might not be the only thing that will never get back on track.
The PGA Tour plays the Pro-Am at Pebble this week, which is also known as my least favorite golf tournament of the year. At least for the first 3 days the TV coverage is unwatchable, and “Celebrity Saturday,” usually drives me to do something drastic, like watching college basketball.