DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Tiger Woods said Sunday he will develop his first golf course in Dubai, an oil-rich city that hosts two European Tour events and has seen a recent rise in golf course construction.

The Tiger Woods Dubai will feature a 7,700-yard, par-72 course, a 60,000-square-foot clubhouse, a golf academy, 320 exclusive villas and a boutique hotel with 80 suites.

Dubai already has eight golf courses, including the Emirates Golf Club, which hosts the Dubai Desert Classic. Woods won the tournament earlier this year in a playoff over Ernie Els. Woods lost in Dubai five years ago when he made double bogey on the final hole to finish two shots behind Thomas Bjorn.

Els, Bjorn, Colin Montgomerie and Ian Baker-Finch are among those who have built or are building golf courses in Dubai. Woods said he hopes to not only match up to those courses, “but hopefully create a memorable, everlasting legacy.”

Tiger Woods Dubai is a joint venture between Woods, who last month created Tiger Woods design; and Tatweer, a member of the government-affiliated Dubai Holding.

“I have been amazed by the progress of Dubai. From the time I first came to play here in 2000, I wanted to be a part of this amazing vision,” Woods said.

He said he chose Dubai for his first golf course because he was excited about the “challenge of transforming a desert terrain into a world-class golf course.”

The development is scheduled to be finished in late 2009 at Dubailand, the region’s largest tourism and leisure project.

Saeed al-Muntafiq, the CEO of Tatweer, said he is confident that Woods’ Dubai golf course will be a success.

“We never looked for anyone beyond Tiger for the project because we believe in only working with the very best,” al-Muntafiq said.

AP-ES-12-03-06 1550EST

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