They got their bailout. So why not?
By ADAM SCHRECK (AP) – 6 hours ago
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Tiger Woods’ business partners in Dubai on Wednesday wouldn’t comment on the golfer’s personal woes, but say despite the emirate’s cash problems they are still pushing ahead with plans to build a course he laid out .
“The Tiger Woods Dubai … can confirm that it remains committed to the completion of its centrepiece al-Ruwaya golf course,” the Dubai state-linked developer said in response to questions Wednesday. “Progress continues on the first golf course designed by Tiger Woods Design.”
The long-delayed project is being built by Dubai Properties Group, part of a conglomerate known as Dubai Holding that is controlled by the indebted city-state’s ruler.
The company had promised to open the first phase of the project — including the 18-hole, par 72 course itself — by the end of this year, but that timeframe has since been pushed back.
The more than $1 billion course in the desert outside Dubai is supposed to boast 5 million square feet of locally grown grass and over 30,000 full-grown imported trees.
Developers promised the links would be ringed by 100 villas, 75 mansions, 22 palaces and a 360,000-square-foot boutique hotel, as well as a clubhouse and golf academy.
When it all gets built remains up in the air.
In June, Dubai officials told The Associated Press that just three of the 18 holes were complete. Woods said at the time the project was at least six months behind schedule, but added: “Who knows? It’s out of my hands.”
A spokeswoman for the project was unable to say exactly how much of the course was complete Wednesday.
The course is part of a far larger leisure and entertainment development on Dubai’s dusty outskirts known as Dubailand. Officials had planned to open multiple theme parks including Universal Studios, Legoland and Six Flags, but the economic downturn has called many of those plans into question.
Dubai earlier this week received $10 billion in bailout money from its richer neighbour Abu Dhabi, which is also home to the United Arab Emirates capital. The UAE is a federation of seven semiautonomous sheikdoms. Abu Dhabi controls nearly all the country’s oil.
Dubai and its many state-linked companies are at least $80 billion in debt, though some analysts say the total could be far higher.
The sheikdom’s continued reliance on Woods’ celebrity comes as some of his other sponsors are distancing themselves from the golfer over reports of marital infidelity.
Consulting firm Accenture dropped Woods as a sponsor Sunday, and razor maker Gillette, a unit of Procter & Gamble, has said it will not air ads featuring the star.
Woods’ partners in Dubai had little to say about the controversy, however.
“The Tiger Woods Dubai does not comment on the personal lives of our valued partners,” the project’s statement said.
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