Two highly reported events took place during Thanksgiving week 2009, that have shaken the confidence of many.
On November 25, 2009, the government of Dubai announced that investment company, Dubai World, intended " to ask all providers of financing to Dubai World and its subsidiary Nakheel, to 'standstill' and extend maturities until at least 30 May 2010". ~ Just as glimmers of renewed confidence were pointing towards the beginning of a global recovery, this surprise move to delay payments caused deep concerns... well beyond the once-glittering Arabian Gulf nation. Fear spread across world financial markets of a dreaded double-dip recession. Or worse.
On November 27, 2009, the world's top golfer, was was taken to the hospital after an early morning car accident near his home. Tiger Woods had driven his SUV into a fire hydrant, then into a neighbor's tree. ~ Legions of golf-bloggers-slash-content-creators joined forces with their pop-culture-slash-gossip-news equivalents to "report the story". Most spun it as a presumed domestic dispute, brought on by allegations of the once-irreproachable golfer's infidelities... with a woman described as a "New York City party girl". Forlorn fans responded with comments like, "Tiger, say it isn't so".
And with those two events, a couple of cherished illusions died.
Tiger Woods, no matter the outcome of the investigation, will never be seen as perfect again... which is as it should be, because no one is, was or ever will be perfect... but it's also sad because as humans, especially as golfers, we want to believe perfect is possible and for quite a while Tiger Woods allowed us to think it was.
And Dubai... where lush emerald fairways transformed austere sections of sand-swept desert into verdant golf oases, and glimmering skyscrapers sprung up by the dozens. In the end it turned out to be a gamble that didn't pay off and revealed itself as the mirage we should have known it was all along. Because places like Dubai, the way we wanted it to be, are in fact, unsustainable.
That Tiger Woods is deeply connected with Dubai isn't surprising. One of the country's goals has been to become the ultimate golf destination for visitors from around the world. During the boom years Dubai had the resources to attract top golfers and golf architects. Wonderful courses were built and Tiger Woods was rightfully selected to design and represent what would be the jewel in Dubai's sparkling golf course crown, The Tiger Woods Dubai Golf Course and Community. The project is owned by a conglomerate of oil production companies and was officially launched in August 2008. However the initial plan for a Woods-designed golf course surrounded by 22 "palaces"‚ 75 "mansions"‚ 100 "luxury villas" and a high-end hotel has been in a holding pattern since June. This most recent development doesn't bode well for a timely end to that hold.
The possibility that the Tiger Woods incident... whatever it actually was... could, in some way, be connected to stresses brought on by Dubai's financial crisis has been mentioned, though the "mistress angle" has largely drowned it out. "Mistress angles" tend to have that effect on news stories.
In the end, we'll all adapt to life-with-more-realistic-expectations, and ultimately, that's a good thing. However, when I found this video earlier today, I've got to admit it made me want to go back to that time... a few days ago... when perfect men and a desert swathed in sustainable, green opulence still seemed possible. And yes, of course I cried.