Tiger Woods plays just his second tournament in 16 months
Tiger Woods laboured to an opening round of 77, five over, on day one of the Dubai Desert Classic in his second event in 16 months.
The 14-time major champion, who missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open last week, had five bogeys on the card with no birdies, putting hms second last in the field.
Commentators pointed to the fact the world number 666 looked to be struggling physically, as he moved gingerly around the course.
Woods played with English duo Danny Willett and Matthew Fitzpatrick
While Woods showed signs of promise at Torrey Pines last week, particularly in his second round, the combination of a tough, wet course in California, and the suffocating hype surrounding the 41-year-old’s return was viewed as a barrier to the 79-time PGA Tour winner showing his a-game.
Many saw this week’s European Tour event as the real barometer as to where Woods was at, with Emirates Golf Club posing little wind and a number of generous par fives – this will have hardly converted the non-believers, bit Woods' fans will point to the fact he's clearly ring rusty.
Rory McIlroy, himself working his way back to fitness, said on the No Laying Up Podcast yesterday he believed Woods is "closer than people think" to performing well, adding he looks excellent on the backswing, but needs to work on his lower body movement through the ball.
Leader and old foe Sergio Garcia leads the Dubai Desert Classic on -7, with Ian Poulter one back.