View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tiger Woods Gives the UAE a Lesson

Apologies for Dubai
An article in India’s Mail Today (Friday, December 14, 2007) caught my attention when I was stranded last week at the Delhi Airport (an experience that I have written about elsewhere).

The newspaper printed a story about the decision of Tiger Woods to forego playing at the Dubai World Championship in 2009, which happens to be the richest golf tournament in the world.

Different Priorities
On the surface, Tiger’s decision is a major blow to the UAE’s golfing public and to the extensive television audience around the world. But further reflection reveals that Tiger Woods is giving to the UAE and to the world a much greater gift—a vital lesson about the things that are truly valuable in life and the importance of keeping one’s priorities.

Tiger’s Choice—the Clubs or the Cubs?
So what is preventing Tiger from showing up in Dubai to collect a potential pay check of £1.8m? The Mail Today misled it’s readers by giving the headline, ‘Tiger’s too busy for Dubai riches’. The opposite is true as Tiger will be absent because of family responsibilities and the desire not to be consumed by his work.

The World No 1 has just had the longest break of his career, the first seven weeks of which he never touched a club. I have written elsewhere (Tiger Woods on the Joy of Shaping Lives and Anointed With Delight) about some of the other ways that Tiger Woods has been a superb model to golfers and others who yearn to be at the top of their game and calling. Here are a few more lessons that we can deduce from the golfing champion.

Equal Opportunity for Growth
Recently Tiger’s wife Elin went skiing while he stayed at home looking after their baby daughter, Sam.

Statistics reveal that men get more satisfaction out of the marriage relationship than women, probably because traditionally men have more opportunity to get out and work and engage in activities and courses that give them stretch and joy. To maintain and enrich a relationship it is important to aim that each partner will get equal opportunity for growth and pleasure, perhaps not always at the same time but over the course of their relationship. Tiger and Elin’s decision for him to stay and for her to enjoy her sport is a fine example of this principle.

No Abdication of Parental Responsibilities
Instead of Tiger and Elin hiring a baby minder while they both skied the slopes they decided that parenthood was too important a responsibility to palm off to others. Tiger gives an insight into the reason why he stayed at home when he said, “Incredible how fast they change and grow, isn’t it?”

Time to Value Children
Woods spoke of what he enjoys about being at home with his daughter rather than on the fairway with his golfing partners:

“The thing I’ve noticed most about becoming a father is how you appreciate the little things. Even the sleepless nights and the difficulties sometimes when she gets sick.”

There will be a long line of other golfers who will queue up to take Tiger’s place at the Dubai World Championship but there is no one else who can assume his responsibilities as father to his children.

Like Father Like Son
The setting high of family responsibilities appears to be a quality that has been passed down the family line. However, Tiger Woods confessed, “I said when my father passed away that I felt like I didn’t spend enough time with him, even though I was there as much as I could. I wanted to be sure that I truly appreciated these days with my daughter.”

The Gift of Absence
Tiger Woods will not be gracing the people of the UAE with his style and his presence at the Dubai World Championship in 2009. His absence and the knowledge that he will be at home with his family will be an even greater gift that he will give to the UAE.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Tiger and Elin Woods.

Check out the questions that visitors and international tourists are asking about the UAE city and emirate of Fujairah on:
Fujairah in Focus.