The President of the Qatar Golf Association has sought to clarify recent controversy declaring his words were ‘twisted’ in stating Tiger Woods was not worth a $3m appearance fee to compete in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
Hassan al Nuaimi hosted a press conference earlier this month ahead of the event that concluded on Saturday with England’s Chris Wood holing an eagle putt on the final green to win a first European Tour event.
Al Nuaimi had addressed the news conference in Arabic and with his comments then translated into English by a local Doha newspaper. It was the English version of the Association President’s remarks that then drew widespread controversy as stating the 14-time Major winning Woods was ‘not worth’ a $3m appearance fee.
However Al Nuaimi has sought to put the record straight firstly lambasting the Doha newspaper in miss-reporting his comments and now issuing a heartfelt invitation to Woods to consider in the future making a first-ever appearance in the Qatar event.
“The story that appeared in the Doha News was totally incorrect and the newspaper twisted my Arabic remarks in translating them in the newspaper in English,” said Al Nuaimi.
“As President of the Qatar Golf Association and also as a golfer, I respect Tiger Woods enormously and, of course, we would love to see him compete one year in Qatar.
“But at the present time our tournament budget is limited and that’s what I said at the press conference ahead of the tournament.
“I never said Tiger Woods is not worth it or words to that effect.
“When the story appeared it did not put the Qatar Association in a good light and I’m sure it may have embarrassed Tiger Woods and his management but my words were twisted and all that I said was that our operating budget could not afford to have Tiger compete in the tournament.”
Since the inaugural 1998 Qatar Masters only one reigning World No. 1 has competed in the Qatari capital and that was Fijian Vijay Singh in 2006.
“Tiger is no stranger to competing in the Middle East as we’ve seen him compete often in Dubai and now for the past two years in Abu Dhabi so we hope that one day he will come to Qatar,” added Al Nuaimi.
“So my message to Tiger is that my words from the press conference were twisted and despite this we still leave the door wide open so that one day we can warmly welcome him to the Qatar Masters.”