Dubai Tiger Woods golf course on schedule

Dubai Tiger Woods golf course on schedule

The company developing the Tiger Woods Dubai golf course and luxury resort said it has no plans to cut ties with the golfer despite his well-documented marital problems.

The Tiger Woods Dubai golf course and luxury-home complex will be completed as planned after being pushed months behind schedule by the emirate’s property slump, its developer said.

Work on the course, designed by Woods and originally due to be finished by September 2009, has progressed as far as the eighth hole, the company said.

“We haven’t decided yet on a date for its completion or delivery to the market, but the project is ongoing,” said Dubai Properties Group Chief Executive Officer Khalid Al Malik.

Plans for the 55 million-square-foot Tiger Woods Dubai include 287 luxury villas and mansions, a boutique hotel and a clubhouse. Designs for the villas are being completed before construction starts.

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Residential projects worth $15bn were either cancelled or put on hold last year as developers tried to restrict supply to stem price declines in Dubai. Jones Lang LaSalle said last week that Dubai had gone from being the best-performing property market of the 46 monitored by Knight Frank to the worst within a year after the global credit crisis hurt investment and speculators left the market.

The development is a partnership between Tiger Woods Design and Tatweer, which is now a part of Dubai Properties Group. Tiger Woods has a minority stake in the project, which he visits two or three times a year.

Government-owned Dubai Properties said it is sticking with Woods, despite his taking an indefinite leave from competition after admitting to marital infidelity. AT&T and Accenture ended their sponsorship deals with Woods, while Procter & Gamble said it would phase him out of its Gillette TV and print ads.

Al Malik said he doesn’t believe the association with Woods and his personal life has hurt the project. “We haven’t experienced any change,” he said.

In November 2007, the developer said Woods planned to build a 16,500-square-foot mansion overlooking the golf course that would include a gym, theatre, library and pool. Abdulla Al Gurg, who managed the project at the time, said villas and mansions were selling for $12m to $23m.

“Part of the project is sold and the other part will go to the market once it’s completed because we believe it’s better to do it then,” Al Malik said. “We are moving on with that plan and we are continuing the project without a doubt.”

Dubai Properties Group, which recently merged with Tatweer Dubai and Sama Dubai, holds the emirate’s biggest land bank. The developer has 5 billion-square-feet of land, 3 billion of which are for Dubailand, a $7.5bn attraction twice the size of Walt Disney World in Florida.

The three real-estate units of Dubai Holding were combined ahead of plans to merge with the UAE’s biggest developer, Emaar Properties. Emaar said in December that it abandoned the merger because the transaction was no longer “economically viable.”