There is no Tiger Woods conspiracy theory this time

Signing Tiger Woods to play in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and Dubai Dessert Classic, which are two weeks apart, would lessen his marketing impact, writes Steve Elling.

Tiger Woods, left, and Phil Mickelson are huge rivals so the timing of the HSBC comments and Mickelson’s commitment were seen by some as a Woods snub. Andy Wong / AP Photo
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Like an onion, when the motives of Tiger Woods are examined, there always seems to be another layer, one that frequently stings somebody’s eyes.

Thus, as soon as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship announced Tuesday that Phil Mickelson had committed to play in the 2014 event, the supposition began.

True, an HSBC marketing official last week chided the world No 1 for skipping an event in China, also sponsored by his company, prompting speculation that Woods was in hot water with the bank. Yet the HSBC official did the same thing last fall and Woods still showed up to collect a US$3 million (Dh11m) check in Abu Dhabi in January.

Yet Woods and Mickelson are huge rivals, so the timing of the HSBC comments and Mickelson’s commitment were seen by some as a Woods snub.

While many of Woods’s moves do not hold up to scrutiny, this does not appear to be one of those times. A Dubai Desert Classic official explained earlier this year that a bidding war between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is in no one’s interest. Signing Woods to play in both events, which are two weeks apart, would lessen his marketing impact.

The DDC is celebrating its 25th anniversary and landing past champions like Woods and Rory McIlroy were key early commitments. Woods was not coming to Abu Dhabi, by design. If Woods played in both, it would be akin to spreading the product too thick. In contrast to this Woods conspiracy theory, which feels thin.

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