Woods paid $55m for Dubai course


Sean Dudley

Tiger Woods was paid more than US$55 million for his role in the design and promotion of the failed Dubai golf development that was to bear his name.

According to documents obtained by Arabian Business magazine, Woods received an initial payment of US$26 million when the deal was announced in 2006, and in 2008, a new contract was agreed under which the then world number one gave up his agreement to receive a villa on the development.

Instead, he was paid another US$26 million, with a further US$14 million to be paid on the opening of the golf course. An additional fee of almost US$29 million was agreed should Woods agree to be the ‘designer’ of a further course for developer Tatweer.

GCA viewed the Al Ruwaya course project on a visit to Dubai last year. Six holes had been completed, but the project had been on hold for more than a year, and, although the course and its associated turf nursery and plant store were continuing to be irrigated, no mowing had taken place for several weeks.

The turf nursery extended to a huge 25ha (50 acres), and thousands of specimen trees, some up to 10m tall, were lined up under awnings sheltering them from the fierce desert sun. Industry insiders estimated that the amount of money spent on the development to reach that point was a mind-boggling AED 1.1 billion (US$300 million).

Woods, who is currently playing in the Dubai Desert Classic, declined to comment on these reports when asked to by Arabian Business. Dubai Properties, which took over Tatweer when that company’s debts overwhelmed it, announced last week that the project was being suspended.