The Dubai Desert Classic kicked-off on Thursday, February 2, and golf fans from around the world were eager to see Tiger Woods continue his return from injury. But the 41-year-old was nowhere near his best and his struggle was clearly visible as only three players out of a total of 66, who were playing, were below Woods on the leader board.
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The fact that Tiger Woods finished all 18 holes was a big accomplishment in itself considering how poorly he started.
Tiger Woods, who was paired with England's Matt Fitzpatrick and Masters Champion Danny Willett for the first two rounds, failed to register a single birdie and struggled off the tee and failed to read the greens despite good conditions at the Emirates Golf Club.
Tiger Woods started on the back nine and pulled his first tee shot into the rough and his approach into the sand before two-putting from 25 feet for a bogey. Woods posted a third bogey when his third shot on par-five 18th rolled back into the water.
After reaching the turn in 40, he produced a horrible chip off the second green missing a seven-foot birdie putt at the third and then things got worse for Woods as the day progressed with a three-putt bogey at the fifth following a good tee shot, before missing a five-foot par-save at the next.
Woods, who did not make the cut in his first full event back from injury last week in San Diego, could face an early exit from the Dubai Desert Classic as well if he does not improve his game in the second round.
Meanwhile, Sergio Garcia got off to a brilliant start as he fired an opening 65 to set the target on day one of the Dubai Desert Classic. He recorded a stunning eagle on the third to go with six birdies and a single bogey to get to seven under and open up a one-shot lead over Chile's Felipe Aguilar and South African George Coetzee.
Felipe Aguilar was bogey-free with gains on the third, fourth, seventh, 11th, 13th and 16th, and Coetzee recovered from a bogey on the first with birdies on the 3rd, 4th, 8th, 10th, 13th, 16th and 17th in his 66.
Ian Poulter also joined the group at five under towards the end alongside Nino Bertasio, Nacho Elvira and David Lipsky.
David Lipsky was the big mover as he made birdies on his first four holes and, while he dropped a shot on the 9th, he bounced back with birdies on the 10th, 12th and 13th before recording a bogey on the 15th. Defending champion Danny Willett began his week with a one under par 71.
The second round of the Dubai Desert Classic is set for Friday, and while Tiger Wood's aim of winning the tournament is probably over, a better performance in the second round could still keep him in the competition.