Tiger Woods, just 11 holes short of a commanding victory at Torrey Pines, has his sights set on reclaiming the world’s top spot in golf, and his success has not gone unnoticed in the Middle East -- Qatar, to be precise.
Remember how the president of the Qatar Golf Association said earlier this month that Woods was “not worth” the $3 million the once and future No. 1 purportedly demanded to appear at the Qatar Masters tourney? With Woods dominating the field at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open instead, Hassan al Nuaimi claimed he never said anything like that about the 14-time major winner.
Something was definitely lost in translation, as al Nuaimi said his original remarks, which were in Arabic, were “twisted” when they made their way into English, according to Bernie McGuire. What al Nuaimi meant to say -- and averred that he did the first time around -- was that Woods was totally welcome at his event but he might not have the funds to pay him.
“As President of the Qatar Golf Association and also as a golfer, I respect Tiger Woods enormously and, of course, we would love to see him compete one year in Qatar,” McGuire quoted al Nuaimi as saying after the event organizer blasted the Doha News for incorrectly reporting his comments. “But at the present time our tournament budget is limited and that’s what I said at the press conference ahead of the tournament.
“I never said Tiger Woods is not worth it or words to that effect,” he said. “When the story appeared it did not put the Qatar Association in a good light and I’m sure it may have embarrassed Tiger Woods and his management but my words were twisted and all that I said was that our operating budget could not afford to have Tiger compete in the tournament.”
We’re sure that Woods playing like the Tiger of yore and expected to put the finishing touches on his first PGA Tour event of the season (and 75th of his career) on Monday evening had nothing to do with al Nuaimi’s change of heart -- er -- clarification.
“My message to Tiger is that my words from the press conference were twisted and despite this we still leave the door wide open so that one day we can warmly welcome him to the Qatar Masters,” said al Nuaimi.