Abu Dhabi chases Tiger Woods for 2012 tournament

UAE capital makes move for former world No 1 after exclusive deal with Dubai expires
Abu Dhabi chases Tiger Woods for 2012 tournament
Tiger Woods in action at the Dubai Desert Classic. (Getty Images)
By Shane McGinley
Mon 04 Jul 2011 06:07 PM

Abu Dhabi is confident it can secure a deal to bring former golf champion Tiger Woods to play in the UAE capital next year, following the expiration of the golfer’s exclusive deal with Dubai.

The
former world No.1 golfer’s exclusive contract with golf in Dubai has now
expired and the general manager of Abu Dhabi Golf Club (ADGC) Ken Kosak told
Middle East Golfer magazine he was confident of securing Woods’ participation
in the 2012 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

“I think there is a strong possibility you will see Tiger” Kosak said. “Our championship could benefit from Tiger and Tiger could benefit from the championship. Bringing Tiger here is an opportunity. We would love to see him play in Abu Dhabi.”

The controversial golfer still has strong links with the UAE and earlier this year Arabian Business revealed woods received $55.4m in 2008 from UAE developer Tatweer to promote a golf resort in Dubai. Work on the $1.1bn Tiger Woods Dubai project has since been suspended, with any new restart date yet to announced.

Oil-rich Abu Dhabi is looking to diversify its economy and is eager to use the hosting of such sporting events to raise its international profile. Kosak, who is also the new UAE PGA chairman, added he is in favour of starting a second European Tour event in the emirate.

Dubai’s Jumeirah Golf Estates’ contract with the European Tour for the Race to Dubai season-ending event expires this November. However, Kosak all but ruled out moving the tour finale to Abu Dhabi.

“A Race to Abu Dhabi is not necessarily something we are particularly looking at. I wouldn’t totally rule it out as a possibility though. I know the Tour would love to continue to stay in the region.”

He added he was more open to the idea of the UAE capital hosting a Presidents Cup event.

“It would be phenomenal for golf here in the Middle East. It has often gone to South Africa, Australia, along with the US and Canada. To host a Presidents Cup in Abu Dhabi or anywhere in the region would be a phenomenal accolade for golf in the region.

The 2012 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship will be staged at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, but Kosak, who also manages the Saadiyat Golf Beach Club, said he was open to rotating the tournament between Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Saadiyat or Yas Links from 2013 onwards.

“It was never the intent [to keep the tournament at Abu Dhabi Golf Club]. It is in the best interests of Abu Dhabi as an emerging golf destination to move the championship around and really showcase the offerings we have... I am in favour of what is best for the championship, even if that means moving it to Saadiyat or Yas,” he said.

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