Dubais downturn halts Tiger Woods golf course

By Associated PressJanuary 31, 2011, 7:51 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Plans for a Tiger Woods signature golf estate, including a boutique hotel and sheik-style palaces, have been shelved as Dubai’s financial downturn claimed another major project launched during the eye-popping boom years.

A statement Monday by the golf course developer – part of a conglomerate controlled by Dubai’s debt-squeezed ruler – said “market conditions” were behind the decision to suspend work on The Tiger Woods Dubai on the city’s desert outskirts.

The announcement – just before Woods is scheduled to play in the Dubai Desert Classic next week – shows that Dubai’s property market is still wobbling from the severe credit crunch that hit last year and stalled many headline-grabbing projects, including an even larger version of the manmade palm-shaped island that helped put Dubai on the map.

But the golf course developer, part of Dubai Properties Group, left open the possibly that work could someday resume.

“These conditions will continue to be monitored,” said a statement to The Associated Press after questions about the status of the long-delayed golf complex. “A decision will be made in the future when to restart the project.”

Only a few holes have been completed on the $1 billion course, planned as the centerpiece for a complex of 100 villas, 75 mansions, 22 palaces, boutique hotel, golf academy and 30,000 full-grown imported trees.

The first phase of the development had been promised by the end of 2009 – about the same time as Dubai stunned world markets by announcing staggering debt for many of its state-linked companies.

The course is part of a far-larger leisure and living master plan known as Dubailand, which also has largely come to a standstill by Dubai’s fiscal crunch. Officials had planned to open multiple theme parks including Universal Studios, Legoland and Six Flags – none of which has been built.

Dubai Properties Group is part of a conglomerate known as Dubai Holding, which is controlled by the city-state’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Like a number of government-linked Dubai companies, the conglomerate is deeply in debt and has been locked in talks with creditors to renegotiate the terms of its liabilities.

Dubai property prices plunged by roughly half from their peak in mid-2008 in less than a year. They have yet to recover.

Woods was among the sports personalities who frequented Dubai during its free-spending boom years. He won the Desert Classic in 2006 and 2008 and never finished lower than fifth since he started playing in the emirate in 2001.

He missed the 2009 tournament due to a knee injury and was absent last year amid the turmoil surrounding his extramarital affairs.

Dubai officials, however, have sought to maintain close ties with Woods even as sponsors dropped away. The course developer said it and Woods “will retain our commercial agreement together.” Terms of that deal have not been disclosed.

An 18-hole course designed by Colin Montgomerie was launched in Dubai in 2006, and another by Ernie Els opened in 2008.

Getty Images

Rose (64) peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:40 pm

A former U.S. Open champion appears to be finding his form just three weeks ahead of the year's second major.

Justin Rose ascended to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the Fort Worth Invitational, with rounds of 66-64 pushing him to 10 under par for the week.

Through 36 at Colonial, Rose has marked 12 birdies against just two bogeys.

"Yeah, I did a lot of good things today," Rose said. "I think, you know, the end of my round got a little scrappy, but until the last three holes it was pretty flawless. I think I hit every fairway pretty much and obviously every green to that point. ...

"Yeah, the way I played through, I guess through my first 15 holes today, was about as good as I've played in a long time."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Rose won in back-to-back weeks last fall, stunning Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Championship and riding that victory right into another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Now the 2013 U.S. Open winner at Merion feels himself once again rounding into form ahead of this year's Open at Shinnecock. A final-round 66 at The Players gave Rose something to focus on in his recent practice sessions with swing coach Sean Foley, as the two work to shore up the timing of Rose's transition into the downswing.

As for his decision to tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2010, "It was more the run of form really," Rose explained. "I feel like if I didn't play here it was going to be a little spotty going into the U.S. Open. I felt like I wanted to play enough golf where I would have a good read on my game going into Shinnecock.

"So rather than the venue it was more the timing, but it's obviously it's just such a bonus to be on a great layout like this."

For whatever reason, Rose does tend to play his best golf at iconic venues, having won PGA Tour events at Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional.

Getty Images

Koepka (63): Two wrist dislocations in two months

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:19 pm

Brook Koepka's journey back from a wrist injury that kept him out four months hasn't been totally smooth sailing, even if his play has suggested otherwise.

Koepka on Friday fired a 7-under 63 to move up the leaderboard into a tie for third, three shots behind leader Justin Rose through the end of the morning wave at the Fort Worth Invitational.

After a slow start Thursday saw him play his first 13 holes 3 over, Koepka is 10 under with 11 birdies in his last 23 holes at Colonial.

"It doesn't matter to me. I could care less. I'm still going to try as hard as I can," Koepka said. "I don't care how many over or how many under I am. Still going to fight through it."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Just like he's been fighting his wrist the last two months or so. Koepka reinjured his wrist the Wednesday of The Players when he was practicing on the range and had to halt mid-swing after a golf cart drove in front of him. He nonetheless managed to finish T-11.

And that's not the only issue he's had with that wrist during his return.

"We had a bone pop out of place. I didn't tell anybody, but, yeah, they popped it back in," Koepka admitted Friday. "Luckily enough we kind of popped it back into place right away so it wasn't stiff and I didn't have too, too many problems.

"Yeah. I mean, I've dislocated my wrist twice in the last two months. You know, different spots, but, I mean, it's fun. I'll be all right."

Getty Images

Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Web.com Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

Getty Images

Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below: