CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO | There aren’t many firsts left for Tiger Woods in golf but he got one Tuesday with the official opening of El Cardonal at Diamante, the first finished product from Tiger Woods Design.
With a few hundred guests on hand and a mariachi band serenading his walk to the first tee, Woods played the first nine holes under warm sunshine on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, describing the design goal of each hole as he went. He then covered the back nine without the gallery, playing a few holes with three groups of guests.
After stalled starts on other projects in North Carolina and Dubai, Woods smiled as he posed for the ceremonial ribbon cutting on the El Cardonal practice tee where his course joins one designed by Davis Love III.
“We knew this day would come. We as a design team probably didn’t think it was going to come outside the United States first,” Woods said. “High Carolina didn’t work out, obviously the economy and then Dubai. This place has been absolutely incredible. What (developer) Ken (Jowdy) has done here with Davis and the amenities and what his vision is, it just all worked out perfectly.”
The course features generous fairways and big greens with open entries, characteristics Woods emphasized to create more playability among golfers of all skill levels. The goal of Woods and his design team was not to create an especially difficult golf course but to build one that golfers will want to play regularly. Woods and his team succeeded.
El Cardonal, which can stretch to 7,430 yards from the back tees, plays through enormous dunes on the opening holes before winding through arroyos and hillsides as the course unfolds. The Pacific is always within view, as are mountains.
Diamante, just a short drive from the popular downtown area in Cabo San Lucas, is a private resort community perched on the edge of the Pacific. Woods has a house at Diamante which limits golf to property owners and guests who rent within the resort. Plans are under way to add a small number of hotels within the resort in the near future.
Woods said he still is fighting the illness that weakened him in the Hero World Challenge at Isleworth more than a week ago, causing him to lose more than 10 pounds.
He felt good about the course he introduced Tuesday.
“You always want to have a first sometime,” Woods said. “It’s nice to finally have this opportunity and to do something that I think people are going to find is different, a different experience.”