CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico -- A second career that has been eight years in the making saw its first finished product Tuesday on the Baja California peninsula as Tiger Woods opened his first golf course design.
Woods has plotted out several courses for his Tiger Woods Design group that he launched in in 2006, none of which opened until he hit the opening tee shot and played 18 holes at El Cardonal, part of a five-year-old development called Diamante that already has a Davis Love III designed-course on site.
Woods has also been commissioned to build a second course at Diamante that has a working title of "The Oasis."
Projects in Dubai, North Carolina and Mexico all saw Woods do extensive work without ever opening due to various factors including the economy. So Tuesday was a milestone of sorts.
"We knew this day would come," Woods said as he walked and played the course in front of more than 300 Diamante members who paid to attend the opening. "We as a design team probably didn't think it would come outside of the United States. North Carolina didn't work out, then Dubai, then the economy.
"You want to have a first some time. To do something that I think where people will find a different experience."
Even this came with a glitch: in September, Hurricane Odile hit the area, causing considerable damage and putting many activities on hold for weeks. But the golf course opened Tuesday as originally scheduled with Woods thanking staff and local citizens for their efforts in such a difficult time.
The course -- which is par-72 and stretches out to 7,300 yards -- is part of a high-end real estate development that offers frequent views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding dunes.
Woods began the day by giving a clinic on the driving range and acknowledging it was the first time he had hit balls since Dec. 7, during the final round of the Hero World Challenge. That weekend, Woods was ill and he said he still has a form of the flu that plagued him then.
"I've been a little under the weather and haven't touched a club since last week," said Woods, who figured he has lost 15 pounds. He said doctors told him his lingering illness is simply a bad case of the flu.
Woods now also has other projects in the works. On his way to Mexico on Monday, he stopped at another course he is designing outside of Houston called Bluejack National. Last week he announced a deal to do a course that Donald Trump will manage in Dubai.
He joins a long list of tour players who also design golf courses, including the likes of Jack Nicklaus -- who just opened a course two weeks ago within view of Woods' course in Cabo -- Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Greg Norman and numerous others.
Many name designers have large teams of help, but so far Woods' firm is small -- just two paid employees. He employs seven total people in his ETW Corporation.
"He has been here probably twice as many times as any other architect would go to a project," said Ken Jowdy, Diamante's owner and developer. "When he gets off the plane he knows exactly what to do and what's going on. He knows exactly if we moved something and he wants to know about it. It's not like I have to move him to the first tee."
Woods, who turns 39 on Dec. 30, said he would keep his design projects to a minimum due to the amount of time he expects to spend on them.
"I'm still concentrating on winning golf tournaments," he said.