DUBAI // Tiger Woods's announcement yesterday that he will take an indefinite break from playing golf in order to repair damage to his domestic life means that he is unlikely to honour his contractual agreement to play in next year's Dubai Desert Classic. The world No 1 has not indicated how long he will be absent, but a return before the European Tour tournament, which begins at Emirates Golf Club on February 4, is surely out of the question.
Mohamed Buamaim, the chief executive of Golf in Dubai who organise the third leg of the Desert Swing, refused to rule out an appearance by Woods in an event he has won twice, but he is preparing for the sport's biggest personality to be missing for the second year in succession. Woods, who was absent at the start of this season recuperating from a knee operation, is under contract to play in the Desert Classic three times out of four between 2007 and 2010.
"He still owes us one appearance, but we are not going to push him too hard on that," said Buamaim. "If he doesn't come here in February then we will expect to see him in 2011 - or even 2012 if that's what he prefers. "We believe he will honour his commitments with us because we've been good for him and he's been good for us. "But if he chooses not to come here again, we will not pursue the matter too strongly. In sport you don't want players taking part if they are not totally committed. Otherwise, they come, miss the cut and leave."
Buamaim maintained that the crowd-pulling appeal of Woods is less relevant in Dubai than in other parts of the world where he often creates attendance records. "There was not too much difference in our attendance this year," he said. "Television figures? Well they are a different matter." email@example.com