DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Tiger Woods found himself caught up in the protesting Sunday night at Los Angeles International Airport as thousands of demonstrators shut down traffic in front of Tom Bradley International Terminal because of President Donald Trump's travel restrictions.
Woods, who was leaving California to travel to the Middle East for this week's Omega Dubai Desert Classic, had arrived at the airport earlier in the evening via private jet.
"We were on the other side of the terminal. You could see it," Woods said Tuesday on the driving range at Emirates Golf Club. "But we just couldn't get there."
Woods had remained in the San Diego area after missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open on Friday. After practicing over the weekend, he took the short flight to Los Angeles, which was the site of one of many protests at airports across the United States over Trump's executive order.
For the first time in what Woods estimated to be at least 10 years, he was taking a commercial flight, mostly because of the convenience of having a nonstop option from Los Angeles. It is unclear if some strings were pulled, but Woods arrived just 30 minutes prior to departure for a flight that left late.
He landed in Dubai at approximately 3 a.m. local time, said he got virtually no sleep and was at the driving range, yawning, just after noon Tuesday. Taking advantage of a European Tour rule that allows competitors to wear shorts on practice days, Woods hit balls for 90 minutes and practiced putting before going to take part in a promotional appearance on behalf of Dubai.
Woods will play with Masters champion Danny Willett and Matthew Fitzpatrick during the first two rounds. They tee off at 11:15 p.m. ET Wednesday (8:15 a.m. local time Thursday) and 3:25 a.m. ET Friday (12:25 p.m. local).
As he did in 2004, Woods hit a ball off of the Burj Al Arab hotel's helipad before embarking on a helicopter tour of the city.
This will be Woods' eighth appearance at the Dubai tournament, the most starts he has made in any regular European Tour event. He has won the event twice, the last time in 2008.
Although he has never been a member of the European Tour, Woods ranks third all time in victories with 40, behind Seve Ballesteros (50) and Bernhard Langer (42). Woods' 14 majors and 18 World Golf Championship victories make up 32 of the 40 victories.