Articles on Belize and San Pedro

Tiger Woods Comes to Belize

by: San Pedro Sun

After much speculation it was confirmed this week that the world's wealthiest and most famous athlete, Tiger Woods, had arrived in Belize! Immediately following the British Open golf tournament in Scotland, Woods boarded a private jet and headed for the pampered luxury of Cayo Espanto Resort.

Upon his arrival Monday morning, July 22nd, Tiger was met at Belize International Airport by his friend Jeff Gram and Cayo Espanto bookkeeper Omar Chuc. For many years, Cayo Espanto owners Jeff and Susan Gram have made generous contributions to the Tiger Woods Foundation which provides opportunities for young people in need all over the world. The Grams donate vacations at Cayo Espanto which are then auctioned and have raised more than US$50,000 over the past four years for Tiger's charity.

Tiger enjoys the sun and sea of Ambergris Caye
On his vacation in paradise, Tiger Woods was accompanied by his girlfriend Elin Nordegren, a Swedish model. Joining them were Tiger's friend Bryon Bell and Bryon's girlfriend Tiffany Miller. The golfer's best friends, Jerry and Danielle Change honeymooned at Cayo Espanto just weeks ago.

Within an hour of arriving, Tiger and his friends were headed to the reef to go scuba diving. Tiger, a very serious diver for the past three years, has been diving all over the world. He and his friends spent many hours every day and night underwater, or snorkeling in the waters around San Pedro and Lighthouse Reef. Tiger stated, "The waters are incredible! I have been diving in many places and Belize is definitely top notch. The Blue Hole is spectacular. The water was so clear everywhere we went." After diving up and down the reef in front of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, Tiger said, "The diving near San Pedro was really impressive. Hol Chan is a very special place with the sharks and rays, and the people of San Pedro have done a great job taking care of it." After visiting Shark-Ray Alley he commented, "I have never done anything like that in my life. It was awesome!"

Jeff Gram took Tiger on a personal tour of the reef and neighboring islands but when asked if he wanted to visit Caye Chapel Golf Resort, Tiger exclaimed, "Thank you, but not after last week. No golf courses for me right now. Maybe next time." This was in reference to his disappointing performance due to bad weather conditions at the British Open.

Tiger Woods' visit remained quite private thanks to the conscientious staff at Cayo Espanto. He commented, "The staff of Cayo Espanto were wonderful to my friends and me. We had total privacy- Jeff and Susan knew that I had a tough week and I just wanted to relax- I thank them very much." He also thanked the people of San Pedro for allowing him to just be another visitor to this beautiful part of the world. "The people of San Pedro are so friendly," said Tiger, "I really would like to thank everyone for being so nice. I enjoyed my visit very much."

When asked about Cayo Espanto, Tiger replied, "It is one of the most beautiful places in the world and the service is the best I ever had!" Obed Balam was Tiger's "houseman," Jonathon Berganza was his assistant, German Alamilla was his dive guide, and Tacio Badillo transported Tiger back and forth. Cayo Espanto's Guest Services Manager Rosita Ayuso made all of Tiger's arrangements and stated, "Tiger never stops! He was diving, eating, kayaking, fly fishing and snorkeling all the time." Asked by Jeff if he was good with a fly rod, Tiger replied, "ummm, I'm about a seven handicapper."

Jeff Gram expressed his gratitude to everyone in San Pedro for helping to make this a great vacation for Tiger and his friends. "Their privacy is important to them and the people of San Pedro were wonderful. Susan and I would especially like to express our gratitude to the staff of Cayo Espanto. Without our employees, Cayo Espanto would not be as great as it is."

Tiger left San Pedro on Sunday morning via Maya Island Air. Leaving Belize, he traveled directly to Palm Springs,California to attend "The Battle of the Big Horn" golf tournament. On Monday, he and veteran golfer Jack Nicklaus were matched against partners Sergio Garcia and Lee Trevino in a tournament worth US$1.7 million. Tiger and Jack won, and each received $600,000 for their efforts.

Because of the success of this visit and his friendship with Jeff and Susan Gram, it is expected there will be more "Tiger" sightings in the future for Belize.

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