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Tiger Woods, Flagship to build Mexico golf resort

WASHINGTON -- Tiger Woods is designing a golf course in Mexico, his first oceanfront course and his third in the world, with a real estate development firm that includes a co-founder of Clear Channel Communications Inc.

Punta Brava, or "Wild Point," will be constructed on the Pacific coast of Mexico, 65 miles south of San Diego, California, the developers said Wednesday in a statement. The project will include an 18-hole course designed by Woods, the top-ranked golfer in the world, 40 estate lots of up to three acres in size, and 80 villa homes of up to 7,000 square feet. Construction will start next year with the project scheduled for completion in 2011.

"Every single hole on this golf course, whether on a tee, a fairway or a green, you can see the ocean," Woods said at a press conference Wednesday at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. That makes Punta Brava "very different from most golf courses," with the goal to "make sure you are a part of this amazing peninsula every time you play."

While the project's budget is not yet complete, similar developments have cost more than US$100 million to build, said Brady Oman, a golf-course community developer involved in Punta Brava. Golf has gained in popularity in Mexico in recent years, fueled partly by the fan following for Lorena Ochoa, the sport's No. 1 ranked women's player, even as the number of U.S. golfers has declined 13 percent in the past eight years, to 26 million, said the Florida-based National Golf Foundation.

Oman is the chairman of the Flagship Group, the firm that will develop the course. Other principals are Red McCombs, a co- founder of Clear Channel, and Hal Jones, a real estate developer. McCombs said that Wood's involvement convinced him to participate in the project.

"Forget it, it's over, I'm in," McCombs said he told Oman.

Oman said the lending freeze won't affect the project because it will be built completely with the developers' own money and will require no loans.

"We're really fortunate to have Red McCombs as our capital partner," Oman said in an interview.

Woods, 32, said on Sept. 29 that he won't fully recover from reconstructive knee surgery until 2010. Woods, 32, had his anterior cruciate ligament repaired June 24, a week after winning the U.S. Open.

Woods, who started his firm in December 2006, has designed two other courses, the Cliffs at High Carolina, between Asheville, North Carolina, and Greenville, South Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Al Ruwaya Golf Course in Dubai. Both are under construction.

"It's been a lot of fun for me to be a part of it and I can't wait until we actually begin construction," Woods said of the Mexico project.

Woods has won 14 major tournaments and is the highest-earning athlete in sports, with US$22.9 million in winnings and US$105 million in endorsements in 2007, according to Sports Illustrated magazine.

 Thursday, October 9, 2008
By Brian Louis and Daniel Taub, Bloomberg



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