x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Time Frame: Tiger Woods on top in Dubai

The American golfer Tiger Woods hits a few shots from the helicopter pad of the Burj Al Arab hotel before the Dubai Open Classic in March 2004.

Tiger Woods takes a swing from the helipad on top of the Burj Al Arab Hotel prior to the 2004 Dubai Desert Classic played at the Emirates Golf Club.
Tiger Woods takes a swing from the helipad on top of the Burj Al Arab Hotel prior to the 2004 Dubai Desert Classic played at the Emirates Golf Club.

Eight years does not seem such a long time ago, especially in the context of a series like Time Frame. Unless your name is Tiger Eldrick Woods.

Back in March 2004, the American golfer was persuaded - with the assistance of a guaranteed US$1 million (Dh3.67m) performance fee at the Dubai Open Classic - to hit a few shots from the helicopter pad of the Burj Al Arab hotel.

It seemed such an obvious partnership. The world's number-one golf player at the top of the world's only seven-star hotel.

At the time, Woods was arguably not only the greatest sportsman on the planet but also the wealthiest. From his Nike sponsorship alone he was due to make $105m by the end of the year. As a player he had already won golf's career grand slam and back-to-back Masters. After a brief loss of form, he returned to win six PGA tournaments in 2005.

And in the background was his loving girlfriend Elin Nordegren, a former Swedish model. The couple had recently become engaged and married in Barbados later that year. They were to have two children.

This week, Woods is back in the UAE, playing in Abu Dhabi for the first time at the HSBC Golf Championship. His marriage to Nordegren ended in 2011, as the result of widely publicised infidelities on the golfer's behalf. The divorce settlement was said to be close to the value of his Nike contract.

The scandal - and injuries - have taken their toll on Woods' professional career. He could manage only fourth in last year's US Masters and currently ranks 25th in the world. So if this photograph illustrates anything, it is that when you fall from the top, it's a long way down.

Time Frame is a series that opens a window into the nation's past. Readers are invited to make contributions to yourpics@thenational.ae