SBD/April 4, 2011/Facilities

Stuck In The Rough: Tiger Woods Design Yet To Open Completed Course

Constuction on the Cliffs course in N.C. has been delayed until at least this summer
When Tiger Woods’ golf course design business was founded five years ago, the hope was that it would “extend his brand, bring him untold more millions and leave his permanent imprint on the game,” but "none of the courses" he has started have been completed, according to a business section cover story by Paul Sullivan of the N.Y. TIMES. Woods’ Punta Brava course in Mexico has been under development for two and a half years, but “no dirt has been moved.” His two other designs, in Dubai and near Asheville, N.C., are “also troubled.” Sources said that the Dubai course “has been shelved permanently.” The Asheville project “is searching for new financing, and construction has halted until at least this summer.” The stalled development is "a trajectory that mirrors just about every element of Mr. Woods’ life these days." Punta Brava Developer Brian Tucker said that his group “had to redo" an environmental impact study, and groundbreaking “is set for later this year.” Sullivan wrote what “remains to be seen is how much the developers will use Mr. Woods’s image to sell the course.” Tucker indicated that Punta Brava “would be marketed mostly on its exotic locale.” Tucker: “This project is not about Tiger Woods.” Punta Brava’s location “allows it to play down Mr. Woods’s involvement, but the two other courses he designed do not have this luxury.” His “allure as one of the world’s great champions was a crucial pillar of the sales plan.” Tiger Woods Design President Bryon Bell said that the firm “would not be looking for new partners in Dubai.” Sullivan noted the “economic crisis” delayed development at Punta Brava as “credit dried up, and real estate prices plunged.” But the “tarnishing of Mr. Woods’s image has presumably hurt as well.” Its impact is “harder to quantify, though it probably has been more of a factor for” the course in Asheville, which “based its initial sales pitch as much on Mr. Woods’s personality and reputation as on his athletic accomplishments.” There have “not been any new projects announced” by TWD since the announcement of the Punta Brava course in October '08. Bell said, “We are evaluating opportunities from all over the world. We’re staying focused on our original mission of finding great sites, great partners, and creating spectacular designs. I’m very confident about our future” (N.Y. TIMES, 4/3).
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