Unfinished business in Dubai
Welcome to a real-life oasis. Glorious verdant green peppered with brilliant white bunkers, dappled with deep blue water and surrounded by luxurious abodes with the unmistakeable aroma of unlimited pots of cash in the desert.
Well that's how it was supposed to be in these parts this week, but it hasn't quite panned out that way.
Yes the grass is green and the bunkers are white, but the water is muddied - literally and metaphorically - and let us hope it is mud because some of the smells suggest it might be something else.
It is certainly not the whiff of money that fills the nostrils, and that's despite the fact that several exceptionally wealthy golfers are going to become substantially richer here at the season ending Dubai World Championship.
This is because the Earth Course sits amid a building site. Fairways are lined with half erected scaffold clad properties as the ambitious development to finance the Race to Dubai has been stalled by the global economic meltdown.
There is no clubhouse - instead, admittedly impressive, there are temporary structures to house players, caddies, officials and media. And very nicely too - the caddies are particularly chuffed with their leather sofas and excellent food.
It is easy to see how this will become a magnificent arena for the climax to the European Tour season when (and if) the building works are complete. In the meantime we have a compelling contest to end the year as the continent's number one to distract us from the unfinished building work.
While development has to be the buzz word with regard to the infrastructure at Jumeirah Golf Estates it is fascinating to gauge how the European Tour has developed in the last decade.
606's very own Lee Westwood offers the perfect benchmark as he seeks to bookend the "noughties" with money list victories.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy hopes Dubai will cap an encouraging 2009 for him
In 2000 when he ended Colin Montgomerie's domination of the Order of Merit, the Nottinghamshire man needed to win five counting events and have six more top four finishes to secure the title.
Nine years on, he needs what would be only his second win of the season to be sure of overhaulling Rory McIlroy and take the newly named Race to Dubai crown and a bonus cheque for $1.5m.
Indeed, it is quite conceivable that McIlroy or Westwood could win the Race with only one victory to their name while the other candidates for the title Martin Kaymer (2) and Ross Fisher (1) have only three wins between them.
It seems that the decade heralded by Westwood's Order of Merit has seen the demise of the multiple winner (unless your name is Woods). Gone are the days of a Monty, Woosie, Seve et al cleaning up a healthy handful of titles every year.
Of course injury denied Paul Casey the opportunity to add to his three early season wins and Kaymer may have won more than his back to back Scottish and French Opens but for his freak karting prang, but the undeniable trend is that the tour is producing more winners and fewer multiple champions.
"More people can win, it's as simple as that," Ian Poulter, the recent Singapore Open champion lying ninth in the Race observes.
So does Westwood agree? Is it harder to win now compared with his stellar season of 2000? "No I don't think so. You have dominant players in every era.
"Back when I was winning the money list you had the likes of Darren (Clarke) around the top 10 in the world and Monty winning nearly every week in Europe. There were lots of great players back then, so I don't think it is any easier or any harder now," Westwood said.
But he acknowledges that in an era of lucrative World Golf Championships and majors counting on the money list it is easier to make progress by picking up place money. "Obviously there's a lot for second and you can play your way up there with consistency and lots of top tens," added the Englishman who finished third at both the Open and US PGA.
To illustrate the point look at Tiger Woods stats for the year. Without a major win and having played only nine counting events (four majors, four WGCs and the Australian Masters), the world number one would lie fourth in the Race to Dubai with Euro 2,248,579.
"I feel like I haven't played well enough this year to be leading (the Race to Dubai) so it doesn't surprise me that I'm in second place," Westwood admits.
"But I feel like if I had finished off a few events properly I could be stood here with a one to one and half million lead and this week would be irrelevant."
Ah finishing off; that's the elusive trick, for so many and not only the golfers. Just ask the property developers in these parts.
But over the next few days it'll be all about the golfers and how they cope with Greg Norman's Earth Course - an attractive layout with deep bunkers and severely undulating greens.
The big money rests between McIlroy, Westwood, Kaymer and Fisher but there is no shortage of contenders for the tournament as the likes of Padraig Harrington, Geoff Ogilvy, Ernie Els and Poulter seek to end the European season in style.
One final thought, but they may have a bit more time to complete building works for next year as the Tour is rumoured to be considering playing this event the week before Christmas to allow for a full calendar year schedule. Watch this space.