The secret was out before the official word Tuesday afternoon that Tiger Woods’ first golf course design in the United States will be at The Cliffs at High Carolina, located about 15 minutes east of Asheville.
"I guess we all know why we’re here," Woods said upon his introduction at a standing-room-only press conference inside the clubhouse at The Cliffs Valley course just north of Greenville, S.C.
Everyone already knew.
What’s still to be learned is what kind of course designer Tiger Woods will be.
High Carolina will be only his second design, following the course he’s still completing in Dubai. He admits to learning on the job but Woods has such a great eye for detail and an appreciation of the game’s classic elements that he figures to be an outstanding designer.
Here are a few of his thoughts about course design and his new project he shared during his media conference:
On his interest in course design: "It’s a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to do it. As a kid playing the game of golf, you always wanted to create something that people would love, that would last and (people) would find challenging but enjoyable as well…
"Take a look at this piece of property, it’s absolutely amazing. You really can’t mess this up, okay? Even an idiot can’t mess this up…I think I’m a little bit above that."
Why he chose The Cliffs opportunity: "You have to experience the property. Once you get up there and experience how peaceful this is, how tranquil and (serene) it is, it’s just a no-brainer. You want to be part of this…
"With our southern view, it’s absolutely breathtaking. You see for, I think about seven mountain ranges...so it’s pretty remarkable."
What courses or designers influence him: "I love what Perry’s (Maxwell) done or what (Alistair) McKenzie’s done. I just enjoy the older-style golf courses. I enjoy golf courses that are right in front of you. I thoroughly enjoy playing links golf courses where you utilize the ground. I enjoy playing the Aussie sandbelt courses…I thoroughly enjoy what we play most of our U.S. Opens and PGA Championships on."
On what he’s learned about design work in his first project: "Well, everything. How extensive it is to design a golf course. You just go play golf and you say, okay, they put a lake here, they put a bunker here, trees there. Why would they do that?
"As I’ve gotten into it, I’ve started to understand why and how. When I play golf courses now, I look at them differently."
Will he be like Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus, who tend to move large amounts of dirt in their designs, or take a more minimalist approach?: "I’m more of a minimalist."
Will he have a design trademark?: "If it had to be one specific thing, probably bunkering. I just enjoy playing a golf course that has fantastic bunkering."
Where does this project stand on his list of business priorities? "Very high. Extremely high. One of the reasons I’m moving to this is that (it’s) different, challenging. I figure I’ve done enough commercials and stuff like that. That part was fun for a while. Now I want to try something else, something that’s stimulating.
"As I’ve gotten into it, I have been stimulated more than I ever thought I would and I actually love that."
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Posted by Observer Sports at 6:25 PM