Tiger's Dubai Project Put on Back Burner

Because of the downturn in the world economy, a multi-billion-dollar golf estate in Dubai that was to bear Tiger Woods's name has been put on hold.

Besides an 18-hole golf course designed by its namesake, the Tiger Woods Dubai development is slated to include an opulent boutique hotel, 100 villas, 75 mansions, 22 palaces, a golf academy and 30,000 fully-grown imported trees. Woods was scheduled to own a 15,000-square-foot mansion on the desert site.

The golf course is part of a massive recreational and residential development called Dubailand. Along with the resort facilities and private residences, officials planned to build several theme-parks, including a Universal Studios, Legoland and Six Flags - none of which have come to fruition.

A statement Monday by the golf course developer - part of a conglomerate controlled by Dubai's debt-squeezed ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum - attributed "market conditions" as the reason behind the decision to suspend work on the project along the city-state's outskirts.

The announcement was made before Woods plays in next week's Dubai Desert Classic. The golf course developer, part of Dubai Properties Group, said that when and if the economy improves work on the project will resume.

"These conditions will continue to be monitored," said a statement released to The Associated Press. "A decision will be made in the future when to restart the project."

The first phase of the development was supposed to be completed by the end of 2009, about the same time when Dubai announced it had accrued staggering debt for many of its state-linked companies. Dubai Properties is part of a conglomerate known as Dubai Holding. Like a number of government-linked companies in the emirate, the conglomerate is deeply in debt and has been negotiating the terms of its liabilities with creditors.

Woods was among the sports personalities who came to Dubai during its free-spending boom years earlier this decade. He won the Desert Classic in 2006 and '08 and never finished lower than fifth since he started playing in the event in 2001.

Despite missing the 2009 tournament due to a knee injury and in 2010 while enduring personal turmoil due to his extramarital affairs and subsequent divorce, Woods and Dubai officials have maintained close ties. On Monday, the course developer said it and Woods "will retain our commercial agreement together." Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

If completed, Woods's course will be the fourth in Dubai.

In confirming the news, Woods told the PGA Tour's website: "(The project has) been put on hold for right now. A lot of projects out there have been. We have got six completed holes and a few that were about to be grassed before construction was halted. Everything is on hold."